Apr 23 2012
Customizing as you go
A number of folks have touched upon this issue, but I think one of the challenges of the online class environment compared to a F2F class is that it is more difficult to gauge your students’ understanding and abilities as you deliver the course. Because the content is put together before the start of the term, there is less flexibility to customize the course in real time compared to the F2F environment. When I’ve taught brick and mortar classes, I can expand on a topic that students are having trouble with, or can add in some content if there is a topic that they are really excited about. Although I understand the rationale for full course delivery before the start of the term (and I think it will be a relief to have everything ready to go ahead of time!), I have a harder time conceptualizing how I can customize the class in response to the abilities and interests of the students.
In the course I am currently developing, the major project and assessment tool will be a independent research paper that will go through an peer review process and lead to a final paper and presentation. Because each student can choose a topic of interest, I think this will be a good way to get students engaged in an area they are really excited about. Asking detailed questions at the final course evaluation should provide insight into topics that students found challenging, so that I can modify or add course materials before the next offering. Incidentally, will be learn about the process for course revision (adding materials that need copyright clearance, etc) in this development workshop?