Author Topic: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?  (Read 3153 times)

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« on: May 22, 2018, 04:10:52 PM »
I teach as a lecturer in Biology part-time at a local university and do research at another. I do fairly well on an hourly basis with both of these, and generally have a schedule I like (I am never at both places on the same day). I have quite a lot of time free to pursue other professional activities and travel.

Anyway, one class is going online only and I'm glad because I am tired of teaching it, although it has been fairly lucrative on an hourly basis. With the new online version I want to do as good of a job as possible for the students, while not making an excessive amount of work for myself. I have taught the in-person version of this class several times and have some outstanding slides I prepared myself from scratch. I receive outstanding student evaluations and peer evaluations, so I want to continue this with the online version.

I have a lot of freedom to do what I want with this class. However, having never taught an online class before, I am curious to know whether any of you have taken an online class:

How could it have been better?
What did you like and dislike about it?
Did you learn as much as with a traditional class?

Does anyone teach an online class?

The rapidly-becoming-extinct traditional face-to-face version of this class meets for two 50 minute sessions per week. Thus, for an online version, I am figuring that I will video record an hour of lecture per week and put it online. Then I will have 40 minutes of other activities, watching other videos (e.g., relevant TED talks and the like), answering questions, group projects, assignments.

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

Rural

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2018, 04:54:57 PM »
 I do both, actually. Iíve been teaching online for more than 20 years, and Iím now doing another graduate degree completely online.


So, it sounds like youíre designing a course in addition to teaching it later? If thatís the case, let me recommend you look over some of the free material at the Quality Matters website Ė thatís industry standard for online course quality, really.   If you donít have time for anything else, look at the rubric. Itís actually intended to score an online course, but itís a great guide for creating one. https://www.qualitymatters.org/


 If youíve not seen an online course, let me suggest you have a look at one. The ones at Coursera are pretty good as a rule if you donít have one available at your institution to look at.


Feel free to pm me if you want.  Iím pretty passionate about distance education because of the way it makes higher ed accessible to people who otherwise couldnít do it - a good quarter of the class Iím teaching this summer is students who work swing shifts, for example.

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2018, 05:17:41 PM »
I am currently teaching an online class, though it is to professionals, not college students. It is currently structured as biweekly webinars. I lecture for about 45 minutes and then we do a lot of coding and data analysis. For me, the hardest part is that I can't see them so I can't gauge how they are doing. So I stop and ask questions and wait through the painful silence until someone answers me, because otherwise I have no feedback. It's been an adjustment but I'm getting used to it.

anonymouscow

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2018, 07:48:46 AM »
I have taken some, I don't think I have taken any that were math or science though.

I don't think I had any where there was much content provided by the school / teacher. A few had powerpoint slides, for the most part it was read the chapter or watch a video (not teacher / school created) and do the assignments from those.

Most of them had a weekly assignment where you would make a discussion post and reply to two posts by your classmates.

The good parts, obviously more convenient, when doing an online discussion there is more time to think of a response and do research.

I don't think I learned as much as a traditional class, but like I said it was mostly just reading and doing the assignments, there wasn't much teaching by the teacher. The teacher wasn't ever really involved in the discussions, they might ask a question in reply to a couple of the discussion posts.

Videos of an actual lecture would have been great, the slides I have seen have never been that great, especially when they are just bullet points of the reading material.

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2018, 06:39:52 PM »
Thanks for your replies. I will follow up more later when I have time. I do think there is a need for some recorded lectures for this class; in good conscience I can't just give them slides and reading assignments, and tell them to do it for themselves. I am also on campus for other in-person classes, so will encourage them to come by office hours with any questions. Most my institution's classes are traditional "face-to-face" mode, but we are going toward online for many general-ed type courses. I believe this will allow me more time to concentrate on my upper-division/graduate courses. 

In any case, online or not, I always make it a point to tell students (especially lower-division students) that a large public university can easily make them feel like  "just a number". However, it is possible to get individual interaction with faculty and even to do undergraduate research--but, it takes a certain amount of student initiative to make this happen.

Lichen

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2018, 07:05:08 PM »
I've been taking all my math and all my "non-essential to major but required to graduate" classes online -- like my social science requirements. Maths are their own beast, for me I do better looking at examples without an instructor and fellow classmates confusing me with a million different ways to handle a problem.

As for the other classes, the things that stand out (good and bad):
~ Ability to work at own pace. A few profs have locked online courses so you can't work ahead. Pisses me off and really seems to serve no useful purpose other than to make the pace artificially slow.

~ Unnecessary discussion forums. The discussion forum in an online course often is little more than busy work masquerading as participation points. I've only had one online course where the prof felt the same and didn't require forums. Required public posts on a certain topic make sense, but the silly "and respond to three classmates" is just annoying because everyone writes the same thing -- "Hello Lichen, I agree with your points and I am very happy to see you felt the same away about this week's reading." USELESS BUSY WORK!

~Unorganized profs. I had one that would go away for the weekend and forget to unlock the weeks assignments. He also did not provide a detailed syllabus or calendar, so there was no way to even guess what the topics were for the week. He also failed to respond to emails in a timely manner and when called out on the class forum would say we needed to stop by his office hours if we had concerns. Hello, this is an online class and some people don't even live in the same town as campus....

LPG

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2018, 07:50:41 PM »
I never taken an online course directly through a university, but I have taken several through Coursera. There's a lot that I love about the format! As other's have stated, it's much more accessible (For instance, I use them to learn new skills during my ample spare time at work), and the flexibility means that you can take them whenever and wherever you want. They've really allowed me to take all sorts of classes that I never would have experienced otherwise.

I've found the primary challenge with online courses is that the videos tend to be boring. Extremely. To the point that I usually mute them, and read the transcript. I've really appreciated when the instructors put in the effort to attach detailed notes of the material and top notch readings, because then I can absorb it as I desire instead of watching the lecture video.

The other challenge is the lack of social connection. It's me sitting at a computer learning something, with no apparent connection to other people. No students to share it with. No face to face interaction with the professor. I'm really not a fan of that. I think it's excellent that you'll continue to have office hours, and will be able to build those relationships with the students. I wonder if there's a way you can encourage interaction between the students...? Unfortunately I don't have any suggestions, but I agree with Lichen's comment that mandating replies on a forum isn't likely to lead anywhere meaningful.

Rural

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2018, 08:26:27 PM »
I mandate replies, but they can't just be "me, too" type comments - no credit for those. They have to add additional info or ask (or answer) intelligent questions about the original post they're replying to. It's more work to grade, but it makes for a much better discussion.


When I started teaching online, we were mostly in just a private Usenet group, so the discussions to me are central. But then my face-to-face classes are usually Socratic seminars, and I'm involved in online discussions.


I do use video in the courses I teach, but I keep it short, one topic at a time. I cannot stand a 45-minute lecture video in the online classes I take (I skip them all). That's a monumental waste of the students' time because it takes so much longer to watch than to read, and it's a waste of the professors' time because students don't watch them.


Even if the analytics say they're watching, I promise, they have them muted in a hidden tab, just to meet a requirement. Break video into 2-4 minute chunks. Use it for the difficult concepts only. Link to the short videos from the main material in some other format (text with lots of whitespace, outine, or infographic are much better than wall-o-text).


Make the videos available separately as well (include a list in the units). More ways to access things means a better course that students can work through in a way that makes sense to them.


ObviouslyNotAGolfer, I hate to disappoint you, but you won't gain more time for upper division and graduate classes - even after the very labor-intensive creation process, it takes more time to teach a course online than it does to teach the same course face-to-face.


jlcnuke

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2018, 08:58:10 PM »
Quote
How could it have been better?

In many ways... First off:
Most classes do no reproduce lecture material. While this is appealing in some situations (many professors/instructors/teachers are no better than reading a book yourself), overall it would have been better to have quality teachers inspiring students with actual lectures. Some places are getting better about this (heck, MIT will let you watch many lectures for free these days), but many are still just giving you assignments and "questions" you have to talk about with the other students.

Re: ridiculous questions and substantive responses:
If this is the requirement, the instructor(s) should be required to be getting in and correcting people daily. If a student gives a wrong answer in a live lecture the misconception is corrected immediately. In the online format, that misconception may be read by the entire class prior to being corrected, AND on top of that, many students may never read the correction (because they don't go back to that "thread"). Some manner of correction that puts that incorrect misconception to rest for ALL students should be propagated (preferably without excessive embarrassment to the student that started/showed it, if possible). Few (if any?) do that though.

Quote
What did you like and dislike about it?

My primary dislike of online classes are the "you must post at least "X" number of substantive posts "Y" days per week.

I personally find very little educational value in talking about things other people are talking about that are kinda related to some crap being discussed each week. It seems a massive waste of time and effort to bother with such things when the assignments given/turned in "should" provide adequate evidence of a person's grasp of the subject material. Forced "social" interaction on the subject matter seems to be an arbitrary and annoying way to force on-line classes to replicate study groups.

Quote
Did you learn as much as with a traditional class?

Yes, but I'm an adept book learner (I pick things up quite quickly generally from just reading about the subject). Those relying primarily on the "discussion questions" and the reading are likely to be just as poorly informed as those relying on the test banks etc found around traditional campuses (we had sample essays, exams, question subjects, etc for most classes at my fraternity for most classes being offered for instance... pretty easy to "cliff note" your way through most classes if you were inclined to do so).

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2018, 09:15:56 PM »
Very interesting points by all.

I do expect it will free up some time--certainly not at first, because I am well aware of how time-intensive it is to take on a new class. And I am treating this like a new class, expecting it will take the same amount of time. One of my colleagues who teaches this online does believe it saves him time--perhaps only time commuting, but hey, I'll take it!

One reason I think my students like me is that I detest busy-work and stupid pointless rules. I am also not big on memorization and give them open-note, open-book tests. Partly that is because it also saves me time! Every instructor has his/her own approach, and that is perfectly fine, expected, and one of the basic tenets of academic freedom. One of my colleagues is a very nice guy, and extremely dedicated and hard working, but he makes up a LOT of busywork for students and himself. However, his students hate him because he is a total hardass and they hate his busywork. When I talked with him one day about possibly taking on a certain class, he warned that it is a tremendous amount of work (yeah, pointless work he created). I taught the class, thought it was really easy and enjoyable, and I received outstanding evaluations from students. Study after study suggests that happy students are better learners, and I do whatever I can to make them happy in the classroom, short of outright pandering to them and passing out A's for nothing.


« Last Edit: May 25, 2018, 09:30:39 PM by ObviouslyNotAGolfer »

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2018, 09:29:45 PM »
Also, I firmly believe that they will need some lectures and guidance. A wise man once said something to the effect of--an educated person is someone with a point of view and an (informed) opinion. I think part of the role (a major part) of a good instructor is to share his/her point of view to shape the class and give it value beyond just a textbook (much of which is already out of date before the ink dries). My view of biology and science in general was likewise shaped by three extraordinarily bright and productive mentors each of whose publications numbers in the hundreds (if not thousands at this point).

I am also an actively engaged scientist and researcher with numerous publications, and I know this gives great value to my lectures. I had one student evaluation that said, "It is really nice to have a professor who really knows his subject, rather than someone who is always second-guessing themselves." I am constantly reading the current literature and constantly updating lectures--I don't teach the same old (Wrong!) crap year after year like some faculty!

Nevertheless, your point about students not watching lectures is well taken. I know some faculty who have tried "flipped" teaching (students watch recorded lectures outside of class and "discuss" them during class time), and have given up on it because the students just do not watch the lectures. So, I am still going to try doing lectures but shorten them a bit. Even if most students ignore them, the lectures will be there for any who are genuinely curious and want to learn--and I feel a great responsibility to those students, even if they are a minority!

I really have freedom to teach this class as I see fit. But over the years, I've matured into the role enough to realize that what I find fascinating, is not what the students will respond to or even remember a year after the class is over. I have increasingly tilted the course toward how biology impacts their lives. ANother thing I do, which they really appreciate, is explain to them (and give them an assignment) how to find answers to their questions in the scientific literature. I mention that they will likely forget much of what I teach them, but knowing how to look up peer-reviewed scientific articles to see what science really says about something is a skill that will serve them throughout their lives.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2018, 09:38:03 PM by ObviouslyNotAGolfer »

Goldielocks

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2018, 12:45:34 AM »
I was asked to take my class into an on-line format last year.   A few observations:

1)  I was warned not to have moderated discussions  / discussion groups, as they add a lot of time for the instructor, far beyond what the learning result is.  I do have these, but they are optional for the class and I tell them that I do not regularly monitor it.

2)  I think I should use more self-tests / quizzes

3)  I had to completely rewrite the content.  My slides would not teach themselves without my in person instruction, and I had to write a lot of content.

4)  Short videsos - if you can add a few that is great.

5) Marking takes a lot longer.  It is easier for me to give personal feedback in person, so the online class needs 3x as long with the grading to give copious comments.

6)  I have to check for emails now constantly through the week.   On line students have NEVER made use of my available office hours, only a few ever dial in to the on-line group meetings for homework feedback  /Q&A.   

ltt

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2018, 05:23:49 AM »
I've been taking all my math and all my "non-essential to major but required to graduate" classes online -- like my social science requirements. Maths are their own beast, for me I do better looking at examples without an instructor and fellow classmates confusing me with a million different ways to handle a problem.

As for the other classes, the things that stand out (good and bad):
~ Ability to work at own pace. A few profs have locked online courses so you can't work ahead. Pisses me off and really seems to serve no useful purpose other than to make the pace artificially slow.

~ Unnecessary discussion forums. The discussion forum in an online course often is little more than busy work masquerading as participation points. I've only had one online course where the prof felt the same and didn't require forums. Required public posts on a certain topic make sense, but the silly "and respond to three classmates" is just annoying because everyone writes the same thing -- "Hello Lichen, I agree with your points and I am very happy to see you felt the same away about this week's reading." USELESS BUSY WORK!

~Unorganized profs. I had one that would go away for the weekend and forget to unlock the weeks assignments. He also did not provide a detailed syllabus or calendar, so there was no way to even guess what the topics were for the week. He also failed to respond to emails in a timely manner and when called out on the class forum would say we needed to stop by his office hours if we had concerns. Hello, this is an online class and some people don't even live in the same town as campus....

These are excellent points!  I've taken on-line classes, but think I much prefer taking a class in person.  Because of location to the university, I simply couldn't drive there. 

A few things I noticed:

I was at-home during the day studying and basically had to log-on in the evenings to work/study with those who worked during the day.  If you are going to teach an on-line class, I really feel it needs to be independent study/projects where each individual can work on their own--no groups.  Too many different schedules with non-traditional students.  One instructor set up group projects.  We had to basically write a group paper and one-half of the group was located halfway around the world.  It simply didn't work well at all.

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2018, 09:44:49 PM »
I think I will have a discussion forum, but make it optional. I think it would be a good idea to have them post questions (not concerning personal matters but course content) in the forum before e-mailing me in case there are other students with the same question. It would also be nice for them to be able to communicate outside of class, set up study groups if they want.

We have software that can automatically score tests/quizzes, and I think, transfer the scores onto a spreadsheet. One of my colleagues lets them have three tries at a test or quiz and then takes the highest grade.

Rural

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2018, 09:46:37 PM »
I definitely agree with the pp who said no group projects in online classes.

Villanelle

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2018, 10:38:57 PM »
I did half a MLIS degree online.  Ultimately, I quit because I live overseas (the reason for choosing an 100% online program) and the group work, which is bad enough anyway, was brutal with my weird time zone.  Too many times getting up a 3 am to "meet" with my group. 

Also, nearly every course had requirements to post to online discussion.  As others have said, I found most of this to be a waste, particularly the "respond to a classmate".  I did have teachers that noted that these responses needed to be substantive, not "I agree with Jane", and that helped slightly, but still felt somewhat pointless.

Also, I got the strong sense that some teachers barely even read projects.  When I submitted a 10_ page paper, I'd wanted more than "48/50" as feedback. I know this takes time, but I feel like meaningful feedback to submissions, especially substantial ones, is owed. 

Also, some teachers recorded video lectures, which often felt the same as in-class lectures.  I though this was the best format, though that may be partly because of my learning style.  And even better, I preferred the ones that had a little personality.  It made me feel a bit more like it was a real person I was dealing with, and thus more comfortable contacting her with questions or concerns.  I still remember that one woman's dog was sleeping in the background of her office, and she paused at the beginning to say something about "That's Fido in the background, joining us for today's lecture", or something along those lines.  It was still a professional video, but this helped replace some of the sense of connection that is lost in an online format. 

Cassie

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2018, 11:54:01 PM »
I have been teaching one class since I retired for the past 5 years. It was designed when I took it over. I update it regularly. There is no book and the students read the lectures.  It came with a ton of discussion boards and I cut it down to 3.  The final and midterms are proctored as required by the accreditation department. I have never taught in person so donít know if it takes longer. I have gotten the class down to a science so much faster now than in the past.  I like that I can go on vacation and still teach. I give students my phone number but they rarely call. I send them a weekly message and other updates. I always provide feedback when scoring. I consistently obtain excellent ratings from the students. I love teaching the class.

mushroom

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2018, 08:00:21 AM »
I think this is something I'd be interested in doing, but how do you usually get a position? I have an MD and I've done a few tutoring/teaching things here and there, but nothing too formal.

elliha

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2018, 08:43:49 AM »
I teach basic and high school level English to adult learners.

Cassie

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2018, 08:57:17 AM »
The university asked me to teach it. I didnít apply.

emduck

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2018, 01:19:58 PM »
Taken yes, taught no.

I'm a post doc (also in biology) and I've taught a few in-person courses. 

I've taken online courses in Japanese and q-bio and I'm currently taking intro to computer science.  In theory it might be useful for work someday but mostly it's for fun.  I've used edx, coursera, and udemy.  I'm not a big fan of the layout and interface on edx; it's counter-intuitive and I find it hard to tell where I am progress-wise.

In terms of the courses themselves, I'm not a huge fan of the pointless multiple-choice quizzes and busywork that exists only to see if you were paying attention.  I'm taking an online course of my own volition; I'm here because I want to be, you can cut the crap. (However, I've taken courses with smaller coding exercises dispersed throughout, and these are great, because they actually make you apply yourself, not just check one box.)  If people aren't watching the lectures--well, screw them.  Why are we teaching to the people who don't want to learn?  The target audience should be the people who care. 

Forums are good and bad.  I'd say much of the time they're useless, and if the course mandates using them, I hate it.  You have to make up useless crap to say just for points.  But for programming and foreign language, it can be helpful for getting explanations that are more "at my level," so to speak, and explaining things to other people, when it's organic and not checking off a box, does help them click better.

I wish videos were longer.  The majority of courses seem to take what should be a 30-60 minute lecture and break it down into ~2-10 minute chunks with one on each page.  I think I learn better when I get more information and context at once and can start shaping things together in my head into a more coherent picture.  It also just feels insulting--you think I can't pay attention for more than 140 characters or something?  (Actually, online courses often give me the impression that the creator thinks their students a) don't care and have to be strong-armed into doing anything good for them, and b) are idiots who don't know how to manage their own learning.)   

What I really like is just the ability to go at my own pace.  Sometimes I have a ton of time to spend on the course and sometimes I'm busy with work and real life and have to take some time away.  It's nice to be able to get ahead when I can. 

shelivesthedream

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2018, 01:28:06 PM »
Only as a hobby on FutureLearn, but a few points:

1. PLEASE provide a transcript. I hate learning through a video of someone talking and would much rather read the material.

2. Discussion forums/comments are usually full of crappy non-posts. The best course I have taken had the instructors actively involved in commenting, correcting and posing questions. Students just talking to each other descends into idiocy. But even better would have been the instructors deleting "noise" comments and only keeping ones that adde something so it was actually possible to read the discussion without scrolling through pages of stupid one-liners.

3. I like to work ahead. This doesn't jive well with discussion forums but is a major advantage for me - I can binge half the course on the first day if I'm really interested.

4. It's really annoying when the level of the course is unclear. I don't mind attempting something above my pay grade, but it's frustrating to slog through a few sessions of a course before realising it's never going to progress beyond "Dummies Guide" introduction.

Rural

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2018, 04:32:24 PM »
I think this is something I'd be interested in doing, but how do you usually get a position? I have an MD and I've done a few tutoring/teaching things here and there, but nothing too formal.


Look for adjunct faculty listings (I assume you're not looking for a full career change here?) Almost all universities offer online courses now.

GreenGrapes

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2018, 04:51:07 PM »
I did a couple of online courses for my master's degree.  The group work and in-class presentations were huge pains, though it's great otherwise for the individual learners.  Also, I'd stay away from closed-book tests...

We had normal class-time lecture lengths, similar to an in-person class.  The assignments and everything else took time above the normal lecture times, though lectures weren't posted when there was a test.

Cassie

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2018, 07:33:05 PM »
Stay away from closed book tests are you kidding me?   If you cannot pass then you shouldnít pass the class.  A accredited university will require that both midterm and finals be administered this way.

rockstache

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2018, 11:22:58 AM »
Stay away from closed book tests are you kidding me?   If you cannot pass then you shouldn’t pass the class.  A accredited university will require that both midterm and finals be administered this way.
That’s not true at all nowadays, depending on the subject.


emduck

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2018, 12:54:34 PM »
Stay away from closed book tests are you kidding me?   If you cannot pass then you shouldnít pass the class.  A accredited university will require that both midterm and finals be administered this way.

There are ways to write exams such that they are challenging when open book.  I went to a primarily STEM university, and in upper div biology, chem, and cheme courses the exams were open book, open note, and often open internet.  They were also punishingly difficult, because they required problem solving, experimental design, and sometimes coding.  I even had a couple literature classes where we had open book essay exams so we could pull quotes from the primary or even pull criticism from secondary sources.  Having the book was useless if you didn't know where in it to look.     

Except in extremely intro-level courses, if an exam is made trivial by being open book, it was probably not a very good exam. 

Cassie

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2018, 01:20:30 PM »
Our university requires all students to pass a closed book midterm and final and you must have a 60% on one of those tests to pass the class no matter what your grade is.  Not my policy but the university that is well respected nationally.  Their accreditation requires this.

Rural

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2018, 04:20:49 PM »
Our university requires all students to pass a closed book midterm and final and you must have a 60% on one of those tests to pass the class no matter what your grade is.  Not my policy but the university that is well respected nationally.  Their accreditation requires this.


They may well claim the accreditation requires it in order to defend an overly intrusive policy, but no regional accreditor has such a requirement. Maybe program accreditation for a professional program. Online may require proctored exams, but that’s is not at all the same as closed book.

Lookilu

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2018, 11:02:11 AM »
+1 to transcripts and other formats (mp3/mp4) for recorded lectures. Actually, multiple formats are usually required to meet accessibility standards, so investigate what options your university has in terms of software and transcription services so you can plan ahead. (Transcriptions can take a few days to be ready.) At the university where I teach, instructors are required to complete a course that introduces the various technologies and establishes clear expectations for recorded content for online classes. Check into that also.

Long recorded lectures can be awful. See if you can make your recordings shorter, perhaps 10 or 20 minutes.

Maintain a steady and responsive presence in the class. Let students know that they can contact you if they are having issues or something is unclear and how you prefer to have them do that, either via discussion board or email. You'll likely get both.

Depending on the LMS/CMS you're using, there can be a lot of bells and whistles. Investigate your options. I learned to set up my course in a way that requires students to at least visit each content page of every module rather than allowing them to jump directly to the assignment. (The one time I didn't do this the assignments were ghastly because nearly none of the students had done the prep/pre-reading portions. I learned my lesson.) Another features of the LMS is to have a green checkmark appear once the student has visited a particular content page. Students LOVE this feature so I use it all the time.

 

Cassie

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #30 on: June 05, 2018, 11:16:47 PM »
My class is only open to juniors or seniors and is a Capstone course.  Because this is the only class I teach I answer questions 7 days a week in a timely manner.  I believe there is real value in studying for a test versus having open book. I am so glad my university requires this. Plus you only have to pass one of the 2 tests with a 60%.  When I went to college nothing was open book including quizzes so students still have it easy.

emduck

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #31 on: June 06, 2018, 02:41:00 PM »
My class is only open to juniors or seniors and is a Capstone course.  Because this is the only class I teach I answer questions 7 days a week in a timely manner.  I believe there is real value in studying for a test versus having open book. I am so glad my university requires this. Plus you only have to pass one of the 2 tests with a 60%.  When I went to college nothing was open book including quizzes so students still have it easy.

Again, this is a completely false dichotomy.  The options are not "open book, studying unnecessary, easy" and "closed book, studying required, hard."  It is more than possible, especially in upper div subjects, to make a test which is open book/open note and also difficult and requires studying.  If an exam is made easy, and studying made obsolete, by having the book open next to you, then the exam was asking you to memorize, not to think.  And in most cases, that means it wasn't a very good exam. 

My upper div science and engineering exams in undergrad were brutal.  And nearly all of them were either open book/open note (some open internet, just no chatting with people), or allowed you to make a "cheat sheet" with equations on it because in the real world, you'll always have access to them anyway.

Albeit these are "live" classes, not online ones, but now that I teach, the professor I was mentored by and I are considered to be the hardest teachers at our university for the classes we teach.  (Like--if you want to do research in the future, take them; if you're pre-med and want an easy A, take someone else.)  We are also the only ones that have open book tests.  Because we ask questions that require understanding the concepts, interpreting results, designing experiments, and solving problems and doing calculations. 

I don't care if someone wants to double check an equation or make sure they're using the right drug or structure before they start working on the problem in earnest.  I care how they think.  And they can't get that out of the book on the day of the test. 

Kwill

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2018, 03:00:10 PM »
I took several online courses recently. Group work was miserable being in a significantly different time zone than my classmates.

Some of the lecturers used videos that consisted of a screen with voice, which they would use to talk through PowerPoint or demonstrate code or show other things on the PC. I found those videos more helpful than watching them talk or viewing slides on my own. It was easy to read the slides that way, at least in full screen. I don't know which software they used, but one possibility is Screencast-o-matic.

Some of the lecturers would use a bunch of very short videos, and others would have a few full-length lectures. I think 10-15 minutes is a nice compromise. With a long list of 2-4 minute videos, I would just get confused on what I'd seen and not seen. Listening to a full-length lecture while just seeing slides was difficult and tedious.

Cassie

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Re: Have you ever taken (or taught) an online course?
« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2018, 03:53:28 PM »
I would never consider giving group work for an online class. It is hard enough to work in a group when you are actually in class and live in the same place.