Wednesday, June 06, 2007

At 12 students, my summer class is the smallest I've ever taught. Most years I get enrollment in the low 30s, which is enough for me to get the large course incentive. This year, I changed the schedule from a 6 week intensive to a 12 week all summer, and I knew I wouldn't get that many students because they have to register for it almost as soon as spring classes end. But I thought there would be more than 12! Of the 12 students enrolled this year, two are nonresponsive (which in an online course means they have done no work and do not answer emails but for some reason stay registered).

I had grown dissatisfied with the intensive format; a number of assignments were not possible at all, and the workload was extreme. A lot of students wound up taking incompletes, and some of those students never bothered to finish and get a passing grade.

Unlike my experience with on campus classes, there is always a lot of adding/dropping in an online course, so it is very hard to predict enrollment and arrive at a class size that is "just right." Luckily, the official enrollment stayed above 10 (dropping below that number before the class started would cause it to be canceled). That was a relief. I am not sorry to miss out on the incentive, but I didn't want to lose the course entirely!

I suspect next year I will have to go back to the 6 week intensive schedule, though. Twenty less students is a significant amount of tuition dollars for the university to forfeit due to my experiment in changing pedagogy. So I am going to enjoy what will probably be my only summer of spread out, minimal work.

Now, what will I do with my extra time?

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