My thoughts on Pilar Hernandez’s video on building community in an online class:
First, I loved the video. It was informative without getting too technical. I was wishing the camera would pan out just a bit though, but that’s my artistic snob talking. ;-)
Although I have not encountered students in my online courses that do not have computers, I do relate to the concerns of one of the workshop attendees in the video. She was concerned about making things too difficult with new software or technology, specifically with using Eyejot for sending video emails.
I agree with Pilar that there must be a minimum standard for taking an online course, and the colleges where I teach already have these types of standards in place with many even requiring the online student to sign (or e-sign) a Letter of Agreement with includes these types of minimum standards and codes of conduct for the course. However, one of the campuses I work for, who offers mostly online courses, does not have any open computer labs available for students either for F2F work or online work. What happens if a student, whether they be F2F or online, has a computer crash or similar problem and cannot take their online quiz, or even access email to ask for help?? I was informed by this college that the students would have to sign up and pay for an additional class in computers in order to use them on campus. This has come up this semester for me in one of my F2F courses since I have a student who spends many hours and probably lots of money at Fedex/Kinkos renting time on their computers.
In a community, one of the most welcoming things is its resources for help. I feel this is critical for all students, not just the one’s who own computers at home. I’m not sure I have an answer to this, but if colleges are expanding their online courses, this is one element that should be considered. Yes, I know it takes staffing and money that so many strapped colleges do not have these days, but institutions should also have a minimum standard to uphold as well as the students for online instruction.
I’d love your thoughts and comments.