Well, actually it's preceding the first week, but I'm allowing myself a bit of artistic license. This week I start an online course related to creating online courses...which seems like the perfect venue. Why am I doing this? It started at work, part of my professional development as a CTE (career and technical) faculty member, but I chose this one specifically because this is an area I'd like to grow in and starting it as a student seemed appropriate.
To be honest, I'm a bit freaked out...not just that it's been a while since I've been a student - because I'm continually taking workshops and learning new software - but because this course has a lot of the approaches that I'm not so sure I can fully connect to. It's got the "edu speak" fully embedded and my brain tends to switch into blank mode when I encounter such things.
Every field has its own vocabulary, if you're an artist and went to grad school...then you know exactly what I'm talking about. The other night I attended an art talk that brought it all back. For me, when I encounter those terms it tends to derail my thinking and processing of the information. On the plus side, the instructor is very organized, there's even a checklist that I can mark off as I do each part. The reading materials are concise and I'm improving my skills in highlighting and commenting/bookmarking text. It's giving me a a good overview of the process and types of support systems that should be in-place.
My concerns about my situation is that my school is not very strong when it comes to the online support part. What happens then and how does an instructor resolve these issues?
The type of class I'd like to write for online: at this point I'd like to start with a "lecture only" style of introduction to photography class. I'm not sure how to translate the lab portion...but maybe that will become clear over time.
So, once again, why am I doing this? To learn! To stretch! What I've learned so far:
1. Turns out that "studies have shown" that using a sans serif type online is easier to read...so I'm changing this post to Ariel since Verdana looked too big on the preview.
2. While I completely understand the reasoning, it's difficult to feel natural when there are very specific amounts of commenting and discussion threads one must do. The other problem is that it's hard to remember how many I've done...was it 2 or 3...did I hit this board or just the other? It would be great to be able to check a box that showed my history. Apparently in the Adobe class that a friend is doing, they do have that option, and there's a little box that says "you're done" when you've completed the needed amount.
3. The elements that should be included in an online course are: making sure that the technical environment for the student will work (their personal access, computer etc), working with clearly defined goals and how to reach them, creating environments that will promote interaction between learners. More to come.