This blog assignment has itself been a learning experience in time management. On Sunday and Monday I did the course readings, and I decided to give myself a day for the material to simmer, so I could see what really stood out when I thought back to the topic. Now it’s Thursday, and I think I left the pot on the stove just a little too long. It’s not that I don’t have concrete thoughts about the topic or readings, it’s that I have had to face the reality that my basic state is procrastination, and that putting things off is really easy with an online class, even when clear, detailed assignments and deadlines are given. When I think to my class next summer – a course on Intercultural Communication for students doing internships abroad – I have to keep in mind that there will be many, many distractions for my students (a new home and a new job, in a new city in a new country) and that procrastination will be rampant. The readings have thankfully presented strong suggestions, and the themes of good communication and detailed instructions stand out to me more and more. (Of course, as a linguist, I’m always happy to bring everything back to communication.) Looking at online courses from the perspective of a student, including all of my procrastination and whining about not wanting to do homework, has been a true reality check and has helped me reflect on my own teaching philosophy and strategies.
I’m quite glad that this will be the first time teaching this course, because I am able to envision it from the onset as an online course. I will not be battling with myself on how to rethink something that I have already set in stone in a different setting. Normally, I like to keep my classes flexible, and I often go into seminars armed with only the readings and minimal notes. I never use powerpoint. I enjoy teaching most when students and I can construct each class session together. That said, I now recognize that while I can still plan for flexibility, I must have more concrete goals, rubrics, and set lectures for an online course. I have to rethink what pedagogical flexibility means as well as how students and instructors can co-create a course in different ways. Overall, through my hiccups as a student and my procrastination on this assignment, I now better understand the readings’ recommendations regarding time management and course development.