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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Online Courses

Non-attendance and/or lack of participation is one of the main problems for most of our online courses, mainly because students become frustrated and just give up.  Having talked with colleagues at other schools, I know we're not alone.  I have noticed even higher numbers after a couple of plants closed in our area and we reached out to laid-off workers to provide retraining.  There are years of research, suggesting that support and structured approach are very important.  Therefore, I am doing something new (well, for me) -- I am requiring students to complete the introductory module before they allowed to even view any course content.  This module consists of (1) fairly comprehensive online course readiness quiz and (2) syllabus review/contract.  Students are required to complete this module before the last add/drop day, so they can switch to a face-to-face course if they decide they are not quite ready to attempt an online course.  Also, I am now requiring weekly check-ins.  Most of my courses involve production work and it's not always easy to implement group work and other interactive activies.  However, I will add some of those, too.

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