life lessons from online courses

18 Dec

our group is just finishing up, not our first, but our largest online course to date in terms of number of  ‘students’ and amount of content.  i’m doing my best to reflect not only on the ways in which we can improve the content and functionality of the course itself, but also what i have learned from the experience.  here is what i’ve come up with…

  • books are judged by their covers – aesthetics are important when it comes to online classes.  sure, everyone wants a course that is easy to navigate and that works (more on that in a moment), but people also want something that is nice to look at; something that is welcoming when they navigate their browsers to the course.  i imagine all the different emotions that teachers are feeling when they log on and wonder what impact the first thing they see has on them.  something to consider.
  • sometime a fix isn’t good enough – while 99% of the people who are tech saavy will roll with the punches, so to speak, when it comes to problem solving links or media that don’t work the way they should, there will be times that a patch is not enough.  i certainly see the viewpoint of wanting a course to work the way it should, but i don’t see the viewpoint of not accepting a workable solution.  perhaps the term ‘workable’ is just too subjective.
  • online activities are limited if you are interested in harvesting grades – there are SO MANY great things to do online but if a grade is required, then the list tends to shrink considerably.  is this true in the classroom as well?  when teachers fixate on graded work do they discount other possibilities?
  • tone matters – emails can turn in to bear traps if you’re not careful.  the tone you convey to a teacher who may be experiencing difficulty can be pivotal.  it is amazing what a little bit of goodwill and professional courtesy will earn you.

i’m sure there’s more, but this is all that is coming to mind at the moment.  have you learned anything from your online courses?

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Posted by on December 18, 2009 in Uncategorized


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