Apr 23 2012
Comparing and Contrasting F2F Office hours and Online Office hours
I have only taught online courses, so it is hard for me compare and contrast F2F and Online Teaching and Learning. One thing I have been wondering about is Teaching and Learning during Office Hours.
I do not offer traditional office hours for my online courses. Instead I respond to students’ questions through emails within 24 hours. This seems to work out well for most of my online GIScience students as they tend to be independent and comfortable with technology.
But in some cases, on-campus students who self-identify as doing better in a F2F learning environment end up taking my online courses because of their schedules. These students would probably benefit from more than just email interaction.
If the student struggles with email interaction due to poor writing skills, should I encourage them to improve their writing skills?
Learning how to write a good email is a good career skill. For an example, students could learn that to help write a good email they could:
“Start with a subject line that clearly labels the topic, and maybe includes a status category [Info], [Action], [Time Sens] [Low Priority]. Use crisp, muddle-free sentences. If the email has to be longer than five sentences, make sure the first provides the basic reason for writing. Avoid strange fonts and colors.” – The Email Charter (http://www.emailcharter.org/)
Are there other reasons why a student would struggle with email interaction versus F2F interaction for Office Hours? Could they be more visual and want to see things drawn out/shown? What other technologies would be useful for that? For example, with GIS software, would it be better to create a nice video to step them through a series of actions they would need to take to install the GIS software, rather than providing a list of steps?
[I think so, as I have enjoyed the tutorial videos for the "Developing an online class" course.]