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Teaching Online workshop II

Hi, Colleagues — some notes from Friday, where we focused on,

  • Student participation: how to foster it, how to support it, and how to identify and work with non-participating students
  • Designing and managing successful & interactive discussion forums and discussion prompts
  • Students’ relationships with each other in online courses and how those relationships affect peer-reviews (we didn’t get to this one, but will in the AQ!)

Thank you first to Sarah Brown, who walked us through the D2L features that allow for the checking of student log-in times as one indicator of engagement and progress. She then showed us the “Intelligent Agents” function, which allows for pre-planned and batched messages to students who have not logged in for a certain amount of time: you can set that time, custom-compose the message, and set the times for auto-emailing.

We talked — with Kristin Rozzell, Victoria Hohenzy, Dana Dunham — about student participation and the rhetorical subtleties involved — how to be encouraging and supportive; how to use inviting language; how to leverage even mundane technicalities such as addressing each other by name as having rhetorical-communicative consequences; how to compose a Course Introduction Letter as a way of orienting students to the mediated and pre-organized (in good and bad ways) technology-interface environment. In our day-to-day work — both face-to-face and online — these are often such fleeting moments, and it’s nice to bring them front and center to acknowledge the important roles they play in our work with students.

I’m attaching chapter 8 from Scott Warnock’s excellent book Teaching Online: “Conversation: Online, Course ‘Talk’ Can Become Writing.” Great prompts; great ways to think about the teacher’s role — generative guide, conceptual facilitator, reflective guide, personal muse, mediator, role player — and a range of grading options for discussion forums. If there’s enough interest, we can look at his guide for peer reviews in the AQ.