Apr 23 2012
Sparking interest and clearly defined activities
I have yet to experience teaching an online course, so comparing traditional lecture to an online course is beyond my experience. For both venues I imagine one of the first priorities is to spark student interest and clearly define activities that encourage the student to engage the course content. I like to believe that my own enthusiasm when describing the biological context (I teach biology courses) of a given subject, and how that subject relates to the student perspective, is one of the most significant ingredients to sparking student interest. Given the tools available for inserting audio and video into presentations, I should be able to convey online, as I do during face-to-face interactions, my enthusiasm for the subject.
Writing activities that are clearly defined seems independent of the course venue, but providing feedback to students whom are struggling with a given activity seems to me to possibly be the most difficult without face to face interaction. I find face to face interaction helpful in working through a problem with a student and in trying to understand what concept a student is missing, or how a student is thinking. Google-hangout or skype might help with face-to-face, online interaction, so this may not be an issue. Thus, I imagine that the main ingredients of a good course, sparking interest and clearly defined activities, can be achieved equally well for both online and a traditional lecture.Sp