Adjusting the course syllabus

I plan to not just upload my class and call it good when planning for my hybrid course next term. Through the process of working on the class syllabus, I have realized that just taking what I normally do and putting it online, makes some activities less meaningful and they become busy work. The essential understandings and learning objectives should not change but the activity or mode of learning should change to fit the new delivery method. The number one complaint about online learning from my students has been too much busy work. I have been reading in this blog forum as well that busy work is a pain!
Focus on the learning objectives. What do I want my students to be able to know and do as a result of this class? What do I want them to be able to know and do as a result of this piece of instruction? This is what drives my thinking as I re-evaluate the lectures, guest speakers, activities that now must be distributed to in-class or online venues. I am finding that some activities can become more meaningful as I rework them for the online section of the course. All students will have to become more engaged as a result of the ability to ask every student to respond or post to a topic rather than sit quietly at the back of the classroom. This is true if I can make sure the activities are meaningful and authentic

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3 Responses to Adjusting the course syllabus

  1. Marla Hacker says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of busy work too. I hear from many students that it seems so many tasks for blended and eCampus involves busy work. I’ve heard my own children involved in “busy work” too in their online courses. It seems to happen when students are asked to do something, like respond to two or three student comments, but really don’t care. They are only responding because they have to respond, not because they want to or even have an interest in the posts. And that is the challenge. How to get students to want to post and to comment on other posts in a meaningful and authentic way.

    I’ve also heard that students don’t like posting or responding to posts that are required by the instructor, but the instructor doesn’t even read the posts. They want the person requiring the action to review the action and provide feedback. I have no answers, but I am reflecting on the teaching and learning processes.

  2. driversi says:

    I’ve tried placing students in small groups (5-8) within Bb so that they are having a discussion between themselves rather than the whole class so that threads don’t get lost. this also makes it more manageable at my end to manage responding as i have 4-5 groups instead of 40-50 unique posts.
    i’ve also reduced the number of discussion boards etc within each module – after polling the class my students said 3 discussion boards per module was engaging and not deemed “busy work” – not sure if this applies to all classes or topics but has seemed to work for my course at least.

  3. sara wright says:

    What a great discussion on this Blog and today in class. I really like hearing how other instructors are using discussion board, as well as their frustrations with it. It confirms my own problems with online activities. I like the idea of making smaller discussion groups and I am really warming to the idea that we need to think outside the “post” box. Having students create a short video, attach pictures and talk about what they are doing with the content in their own lives is interesting and motivating. We could use the online piece for all students to demonstrate how they use or see the content in their lives through more than just post and reply two times.

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