How to start an online course, at least — how to start one of my courses…

online teaching

Hey there, welcome to my class!

First of all — don’t freak out.. really, it’s hard but it’s not THAT hard… I promise.  Many students have completed my classes in the past — many of them said it was hard, but not too hard — so… First thing you should do is to look for the assignments — usually under something like “class schedule” in the course documents area… go look.

When i create a course, I start with the class schedule.  It has all the due dates and assignments on it.  When I’m thinking about assignments, I’ll write a short description of each one — you should read that and figure out what’s due the first week.

Go ahead and download the Word file that contains your class schedule.  Put it on your computer, some students make appointments on their phone or whatever — to remind them of due dates.  Now go look around the Content area of your class.  For Spring 15 (and probably Summer 15) you’ll find several categories… things like “course documents” and “paper prompts” and “how do I do an assignment” and “what’s due?”.

Open those areas and look to see what’s there — these things can help you when you get stuck.

The “what’s due” area is a weekly breakdown of all the stuff you need to do (not including the reading assignments).

So — look at the class schedule for this week, you’ll see the reading assignments and things to do that correspond with the stuff in this week’s “what’s due” — then, do the reading and write your discussion posts.  Make sure you get the initial posts in by the deadline — (again, look at the class schedule for details).

You’ll also have a read and respond assignment due this week.  For the first week, it’s unusual because the assignment asks you a series of questions about the assignments and layout of the course.  For the rest of the week, you’ll see question options that correspond to your reading assignment.  Pick ONE, answer it, put it in a document and put it in the dropbox.

Here are a few things you’ll need to know…

  1. Reading notes:  in one original post, write a summary of each chapter assigned — (if your reading is comprised of pieces by individual authors, write a summary of each author — if you chapter is broken up into sub-sections, just one summary for the whole thing will suffice.) THEN, write a summary of the whole thing… it can be pretty general.
  2. AFTER your reading notes post, you’ll see the dropbox open for your read and respond paper.  That’s because I want you to do the reading and write about it a little bit before you respond to it… makes sense, eh?
  3. Watch and Respond:  Do a search on a term related to the unit — find a video you like, watch and write about 100 words of original and substantial commentary on it (your commentary can be a summary, a response, or a critique of the video).
  4. AFTER your watch and respond post, if you go to the Paper Prompts area, you’ll see a new paper prompt for your unit.

What’s due every week, and when?

By FRIDAY:  your original posts in both discussions are due.

By SUNDAY:  you need to respond to at least one post in each discussion area AND complete your read and respond paper.

ALSO — about mid-term, you’ll have your first paper due.  Pick ONE of the paper prompts and answer it.  For the first paper, you’ll be choosing from prompts for the first half of the class (you’ll notice that the paper prompts section is divided up into first-half and second half).  For the last paper, you’ll be picking among the prompts from the second half of the class.

If you’re in a 2000 level course (Business Ethics or Environmental Ethics) you’ll also have a longer paper or project… look at the class schedule for a breakdown of the work… you’ll figure it out :).

Where to go for basic questions answered:

1) look at the stuff in Content — “course documents” has the class schedule.  “how do I do an assignment” has more detailed explanations of the assignments.  “Other links” has helpful stuff like reliable sources of online information on philosophy, helpful online writing resources etc…

2) “ask the class/ask the professor” — there are a few posts there that I’ve pinned, read them to see if your question is answered.  If not, ask it… I’m in no way perfect, so you may need clarification on what I’ve said…

3) e-mail me about specifics… if your questions are general ones, after the first week or so I’ll probably tell you to post it in “ask the class, ask the professor” — because, that’s the purpose of that area.

4) If you’re confused about course content, do your best reading notes post and then read what others have said —

Hints and tips:

  • Don’t get behind — every assignment has deadlines.  If you have a busy week coming up, generally the assignments will be open for a total of about two weeks — so, you can work a little bit ahead.
  • If you have questions, ask — generally, I look at “ask the class/ask the professor” every day, usually multiple times per day — so, if I see a question there, I’ll answer it.  Also, your classmates are usually available to answer basic questions.
  • If you need to e-mail me, let me know which course you’re in and who you are 🙂 — that may seem like a basic instruction, but you’d be surprised at how often students don’t do this.  I check my e-mail often, so if you don’t get a response within about 48 hours, or a couple of school days — send it again.  I do get a ton of e-mail, so I may have wanted to respond but needed more time than I had at the moment and forgot… I don’t intentionally ignore students :).
  • Do your own work — and do your best… every assignment I create, I’m assuming that you’re a first or second year college student and that you haven’t had any philosophy courses in the past — so, that’s the sort of work I’m expecting.  If you use unusual vocabulary for your course, I’m going to google it — even discussion posts need to be in your own words.  That’s the point of them, to express what you are thinking —

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s