I am still working to catch up a few weeks that I fell behind with my regular posts. But I found the suggested theme from Week 4: Dream & Imagine, to be quite apropos during this time of “Extended Spring Break” and talk of taking all classes online for the remainder of the semester.
Personal reaction to this idea: I like it! True, it means I would not get to see my lovely face-to-face students every day and I would miss out with at-work social interaction. But, it has not been difficult to try to “re-imagine” shifting my lecture material and all assignments to be fully online. I have taught ENG 101 and 102 online in the past. Some of the subscription tools our dept uses I like and some I would rather not go back to. But with my one section of JRN online, I always enjoy it and the proactive students of the class contact me and we have regular communication. The ones I have most contact with (probably no surprise) tend to do GREAT in this online class.
So that has me thinking, how can I adapt the class or my classes to be even more successful and have more students finish them? I really see that good, regular communication is a must. For that reason, tonight and tomorrow I will be recording and posting some update videos to all of my classes in Canvas, and reaching out directly to any student I’ve noticed has fallen behind.
Now, another big block to 100% student success in online courses that I can identify is: what if the student doesn’t have a computer and/or regular internet connectivity capability? Let’s say they live in housing where Cox high-speed WiFi isn’t available, they do all their work on a smartphone (I’ve know this to actually happen!) or they have other reasons access is an issue. Then what? I heard on the radio Cox Communications has added 1,600 free WiFi hotspot locations around Phoenix. I’m sending the link to the map to all my students through various modes of communication.
I’m being more flexible with deadlines than I ever have in the past. Partly this is in response to my new attitude of better respectful, active listening when a student tells me of “life happening” or a hardship. This health crisis has put me in a mood of being more flexible and undertanding. Perhaps this is not a temporary but a longterm, lasting change in my teaching.
Finally, while working for a few hours on campus Monday, I overheard another colleague explaining she is going to try to send to students only positive, motivational messages, assuring them that no matter what happens, we will get through this semester together. I am going to borrow that idea, too!