Avoiding Pitfalls

Two of the pitfalls in creating an online or hybrid course are sticking to the role, as the instructor, of the “sage on the stage” and not utilizing ways that students can learn from each other.  As I begin to think about how to redesign my traditional face-to-face course into a hybrid course, I can already see some tensions in the way I am thinking about this and going about it.  There are lots of videos available online of ivy-league professors in my discipline providing lectures on topics that I cover in my course.  Yet to limit my use of technology to substitute an in-person lecture by me for a video lecture by someone more famous, I know that I would be missing out on opportunities to foster learning in more creative ways.  Yet, at this point I am unsure about what those ways are.  I know vaguely what a wiki is, and a discussion board, but so far my experience with the latter has been lackluster.  Are there ways to invigorate student-to-student interaction via technology?  I’m dying to know.

The other tension I already see as I undertake this project while trying to avoid pitfalls is that using info technology to deliver some of the course content means that there will be more material that I may have to review or explain further when we do meet face to face.  I am concerned that, while in-class time is another opportunity for students to interact with each other and engage in “active learning,” I may also need to use the precious (because more-limited) time together to walk the students through difficult concepts or arguments.  So while I understand that both presentation of material and interaction (between student and student, and between student and instructor) should take place in both face-to-face and mediated environments, I am not sure how to manage all of the conflicting demands on time to maximize student learning.  I fear that some of the less savvy students will be completely lost without the benefit (and I do hope that it’s a benefit) of my lecturing and teaching.  So, how do I balance all of this as I design my hybrid course?  That’s what I have to figure out…

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3 Responses to Avoiding Pitfalls

  1. bourneam says:

    I echo your message. I am nervous about the lost time together (face to face). I believe the students will need encouragement also to assure they are utilizing all the resources because the hybrid format will be new to them also. I am curious — have hybrid instructors found an increase in office hour visits of students just needing assistance with the process?

  2. duncanp says:

    I, too, worry about these things with the development of my hybrid course. I’m also concerned that the demands on my time (from students) will simply “double”– requests for more face-to-face time, and greater need for online responses as well. I guess that’s a common pitfall, right? — that rather than a truly “hybrid” course, one could fall into the trap of creating a traditional on-campus class AND an online class, doubling both our workload and that of the students. I look forward to brainstorming with you all more on how to avoid this.

  3. sakuraip says:

    To be honest, trying to think through all the possibilities is a bit overwhelming–can definitely relate to questions re: trying to negotiate multiple and sometimes conflicting demands. Also, trying to put possible remedies into concrete terms definitely a challenge for me–what might a non-traditional interactive revision of the lecture format look like, for example? The possibilities seem endless. I guess that’s both the blessing and the curse here, eh? 🙂

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