Wednesday, May 9, 2012

SIOT 2012 - Opening Day

For the next five weeks, I will be participating in the Summer Institute for Online Teaching (SIOT). SIOT is a Sloan-C award for Excellence recipient. Today we met for the first synchronous face-to-face meeting of the hybrid institute. Dr. Mandernach's presentation was titled "Teaching Online: Where do you begin?" She discussed things to avoid in an online class. The following is my (hopefully "accurate") notes on her top 10 list of Don't's:

10. Don't use the same teaching strategies you use in a face-to-face course! Explore the unique opportunities available online.
  9. Don't overload the course with too many resources. Point students to the most important information.
  8. Don't integrate all the tech "bells & whistles." Have a purpose for what you use.
  7. Don't monitor without participating. Be present in the course & discussions.
  6. Don't communicate primarily by email. Set up general question forums to avoid answering the same questions over and over again.
  5. Don't give too much freedom on due dates. Students need a schedule and deadlines.
  4. Don't save grading to the end of term. Students need feedback to be regular and formative. Set yourself due dates and let students know what they are so they will hold you accountable.
  3. Don't require a lot of synchronous activities. Most students take online classes because of schedule conflict. Whatever can be done with asynchronous tools, should be done that way. 
  2. Don't assume students know how to learn online. They need you to teach them to navigate the course and tools.
  1. Don't develop your course while you teach it. Plan ahead or you will be overwhelmed. 

Dr. Mandernach's full PowerPoint presentation will become available later and I will share that here. 

Dr. Williamson's presentation was titled "Getting Started in Our Quest to Instruct On Line: The Pep Talk." Dr. Williamson encouraged faculty to start by finding and utilizing the technology person that can help them through this process. She continued by encouraging instructors developing courses to try and view it from the student perspective and fix the confusing elements first. She emphasized the need to organize and label elements in order to guide students through the course. A few elements of teaching online that surprised Dr. Mandernach were the diversity of experience of her participants; the fact that groups often self-corrected; that three was simply too few for a group to have a meaningful and rich discussion, but that group collaboration works well. A final surprise she highlighted was that once the course was launched, the workload was not too overwhelming. 

I am excited to connect with the diverse group that the Office of Online and Distant Education has assembled. Hopefully we will all learn a lot as we work together. 

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