Week 5 Observations
I found some helpful reminders in Chapter 5 such as repeat, repeat, repeat. My students often laugh at how many times I repeat things in my opening day monologue and throughout my f2f syllabus and course. But, I sometimes do not repeat the more critical elements for student success and it was a nice reminder to do so.
Most of the tips from the chapter were things I already have in my syllabi.
I do like the idea in my online courses of creating some recorded narration for the syllabus. Currently, I include questions from the syllabus for the first discussion forum that students have to answer. This seems to only help those who participate in the forum though.
Blackboard vs. Moodle
I currently use both Blackboard and Moodle, and for my particular course I do not prefer to organize the material by weeks, but rather by topic. If my course were reduced to 8 or even 12 weeks then I might change to a weekly schedule. Moodle makes it very easy to organize the material in a variety of ways. It would be helpful in the future to see Lisa’s demo in Blackboard 9 since it is significantly different than the version in the video.
The interactive syllabus seems a great way to have access to all the links, lessons and such, but I would prefer that the contract portion of the syllabus be in one fixed place rather than having to reiterate each week what, for instance, the writing standards are for my courses. If some extra time is taken at the beginning of each term to make the contract portion of the syllabus clear either through a discussion or synchronous chat then it can be placed in a fixed, easy to access place in the course shell.
Fostering an Independent Learner
One other concern I have regarding the week by week type of schedule is when there are projects or independent elements the students must complete prior to say a discussion. I have just this type of assignment in my current online course. The students are required to view on their own time various documentaries and films then write on them and discuss them in a forum at a future date in the course. If I chose a week by week schedule, every week would need a reminder to the students to rent and view the films. I guess I could include all these reminders, but it tends to go against my goal of facilitating and fostering independent learners.