First of all, I would like to say how much I have enjoyed the experience of being in this POT class. It has been wonderful learning with and from all of you this session. I also forgot to mention email students twice a week, at the beginning and end of the week, to remind them of due dates in my video.
I included the text of the video, with some links, below.
I just want to take a few minutes today to talk about classroom management. There are so many things that we as professors need to think about as we set up and get started on our classes. How do we want our course management system to look? How do we want our students to interact with each other. And, this is true in a f2f class as well: you think about how you want your discussions to go.
So, I want to show you some of the things that I do in my classes very quickly, and talk for a moment about how to deal with problem students in a classroom. One of the things that I do for every class is I give them an FAQ sheet. I keep it in my Google docs so that I can automatically update in the links I have provided. So, let me show you want that looks like. This is my summer class at MiraCosta, and you can see on the side I have FAQ links. That is going to give them an embedded version of the FAQ sheet I just showed you. The other thing I have is an FAQ discussion forum. This is where students can ask general questions of each other and me, such as when is that assignment due or when is that exam going to be, and answer them. But, I do specifically say if it’s private issues or if it’s grades, send me an email because obviously we don’t want that out in a public forum. This is a class I’m still building, and I’m changing the way it’s going to look, so you can see that a lot of areas are still empty. Another thing I include in all of my classes is something to do with MLA formatting. Since I’m teaching Art History, it’s a Humanities class, I want to be sure they have access to how to do things correctly.
Now, sometimes we don’t get that much freedom in how we set up our class. This is for California Miramar University. I teach history and art history for them. And, I use Moodle. I am expected to use a canned version that the University prescribes. So, here everything is laid out. I am expected to give my phone number as you can see. One of the things I like about this set-up is, as we open the weeks, and you can see we’re only on Week 7, so Week 8 is still closed to the students, students can go back and access previous information. I give them a screencast for each week that I have done. It’s a YouTube video, as well as a link to the Prezi for our online chat session. Students know they can email me, they can Skype with me, they can call me if they have issues.
I think one of the things we need to think about when we are doing online teaching is how to make it interesting, engaging and fun. And how to make it student-centered, as much as possible in a case like this where I am teaching from a canned platform, there are only so many changes I can make. But, at MiraCosta, I try to really get student groups to lead discussions and do more student-centered activities so that they are really engaging fully in the learning.
One of the other things we need to think about is how we deal with problem students in these sorts of environments, students who may be posting things that are private or that are inflammatory. On my FAQ sheet, I do include the Code of Conduct for each College or University at which I teach so that students understand how I expect them to act in a classroom environment, whether it’s an online or a f2f classroom. And if I have a student that is acting outside of what I expect them to do, typically I will send them a private email. I will remind them of this code of conduct, and then send it up the chain of command if necessary.
I think as a professor, we need to remember that, although we are building the class, we are leading the discussion, we need to be sure we are fully engaging. And the first way we engage students is the way we lay out our CMS or LMS system. So, it’s important to remember then that we as professors need to be sure it is student-centered. I know a lot of people are starting to look at WordPress and so on as a means to make learning more open, which is something I myself am considering as well, actually since this experience in the POT Certification class. But, these are things we need to think about as we lay out our online classroom.
Thank you for your time!