Case Data

Instructor Comments

The instructor was asked to provide a brief, post-course reflection...

I was hesitant about teaching this (my first online) course. But, my colleagues reassured me that my experience with the material and in the classroom would translate to a large extent. Furthermore, since the course was already designed, all I needed to do was familiarize myself with the specific material (much of which I use in my f2f classes) and show up.

This isn't exactly how it's played out. While it's true that the course (schedule, materials, assignments, discussion topics, etc) were all there – it didn't unfold as I expected (or hoped). I think things could have been much better for the learners, and for me.

For example, in week 1, I posted a notice to the news forum introducing myself and directing them to check out the schedule, materials, post their introductory posts and start connecting with their teams for their big team deliverable. Since these are seasoned online learners (more so than I!), not to mention adult learners, I expected they would just get on with it. The introductory posts were brief, full of personal anecdotes, in-jokes about res, that kind of thing. As for the team work, I understand they use a variety of methods to connect (Skype, phone, etc), so I could never be sure where they were until they submitted their finished papers.

Because I have no point of comparison, it's hard for me to judge the online activity. My sense is the forums were there for them if they want to use them, but their main job is to keep up with the schedule, study, and prepare for assignments and exams.

In the end, I have to say I didn't enjoy this experience very much. I would not rush in to teach another online course, though I expect I will be asked to do so. I am interested in receiving advice from colleagues who have been successful teaching online.