Random thoughts here:
What I realized yesterday during our synchronous session was that our current online course–and maybe all of them?–is essentially a “flipped” classroom: that is, the things we are used to using face-to-face classtime for–presentation and explanation of the material, discussion–is now happening outside of class, as individual work mediated and enriched though the discussion-like interactions of VT and SB and diigo; our synchronous time simply coordinates and facilitates the more-independent journeys of the students. I have some experience with this, so I’ve got a more familiar framework to put this in, and perhaps to think about the course I’m preparing.
What I’m trying to wrap my head around is the nature of the teaching effort in the online instruction I’m likely to take on. Frankly, I’m trying to assess the mental and interpersonal energy required. In the course I’m (still) planning, I have my lectures and powerpoints down, and, while I try to improve them each time, I’m comfortable with presenting them, as polished as they are, as my principal teaching effort. Okay, perhaps too comfortable! But should I now imagine setting those up to run automatically, and devoting myself instead to the new tasks of questioning each student about each lecture and reading, checking those responses, replying to each, observing students replying to each other, while trying to find some way to shape an online conversation–pointing out the student responses that are most productive, redirecting those who are off task? I can see the value of it, but. as a world-class introvert, I’m already planning to up my protein intake and keep some five-hour energy bottles on hand.
This will work so much better with the right kind of student–self-motivated, organized, deadline-keeping, technologically comfortable, confident students who are comfortable sharing first impressions and tentative thoughts. That’s not everybody.
Final thought: I found Van de Vort and Pogue’s article “Teaching Time Investment: Does Online Really Take More Time than Face-to-Face?”unintentionally hilarious: “Communication with individual students was not considered to be instruction time” and “No initial course development time was included in the study . . . ” So what were they measuring?