I am up to my eyeballs in evaluation, and the calculation of whether I'll make the deadline (or more likely, with how much time to spare) has started. I managed to get my blended learning class all ready, since it went live yesterday. It makes the deadline question above more difficult.
One inspiration I had was to create a "Sound Off" journal in the class. I named it after the wonderful anonymous call-in forum in the Troy Record, but the in-course variety will not be anonymous. It is a space for me to reflect on the class delivery. Does technology enhance learning or does it get in the way? I've invited students to join me. I will probably post my entries here as well.
This is my first:
During this past academic year, 2012-13, I served on the Online Teaching
& Learning Task Force. Since I am an adjunct faculty member, I am not required to perform university service, but the topic
interests me a great deal, and I did not want to refuse the invitation
from the Provost and CIO.
I am not a big fan of
meetings, conferences or task forces. My attitude has been that “I was
so done with” spending my time that way when I left SUNY System
Administration in 1998. I said arrivederci to keynote speeches
accompanied by spring mix salad with mandarin oranges, vinaigrette
dressing and chicken a la Marriott.
So I was a touch skeptical
when asked to be a member of the OTL Task Force. We were given a short
time frame; our first meeting was in November 2012, and after several
interim deadlines, the final report was due in April 2013.
think about educational technology a lot already, and have for a long
time. I was an early adopter; I started teaching online in 2000, after
taking two experimental classes that relied heavily on new delivery
methods as a doctoral student in the mid-1990s. But the OTL Task Force
caused me to think about it 24/7, and to discuss it extensively with
members of the task force, other faculty, and students.
response rate to the student survey was 12 percent; this was not as high
as we had hoped, but it still is a lot of students, and the comments in
particular are a rich data source. Surprisingly, 80 percent of students
reported needing no technical support for their fully online, blended
and web-enhanced courses. (This contrasts with the wishes of the
faculty, who report needing help desk availability on weekends and
during the evening.)
Access to grades is something all
students want. Undergraduate students want lecture capture, and graduate
students want access to the Blackboard site for a class after the
semester is over.
The OTL Task Force was a good experience for
me. I gained some inspiration and insight that I hope will benefit this
class. Of course I’ve already encountered one or two roadblocks (chiefly
involving the logistics of recording and uploading video captured
during the face-to-face classes).