Well, I think it is finally about time to start wrapping things up. I wanted to use this last blog to discuss some of the suggestions that my reviewers and Alex had about my online course.
Suggestion 1 – Add a discussion about “Netiquette” – totally agree, especially given that my students will be essentially adolescents, a few ground rules for discussion is probably worthwhile. I’ve since added it and I think it makes sense.
Suggestion 2 – Try to look at the course from the point of view of the student. I completely agree with this but have to confess that I have done very little of it. I think largely because I was so focused on structuring the course properly, I lost sight of some of the little things that make a course feel “friendly”. For example, fun names for activities or appropriate jokes add a great deal to my regular course, so I can imagine they would also help my online course. Having said that – I haven’t done much about it yet. Frankly, I’m tired and I don’t think I have that left in me at this point. But at some point when this course eventually does go live, I hope to remember this advice and just make it a little more approachable.
Suggestion 3 – Don’t have documents pop-up in separate windows. I have to admit, I don’t really agree with this one. I think there are certain documents where it makes sense to have them pop-up in different windows. For example, your “What’s Due When” documents should pop up so that it is easy to toggle back and forth between assignment areas and what is effectively the syllabus. The part I do agree with in great to pop-up or not to pop-up debate is that regardless of which you choose, you should try and remain consistent.
Suggestion 4: Make activity labels on your home page more descriptive. I also tend to agree though some times I think keeping things as simple as possible on the homepage, and adding more content once the person clicks on a specific file makes sense. But the point is well taken.
As I noted earlier, it would be disingenuous for me to suggest that I’ll be implementing all of these changes immediately. There is a great deal of work to be done still. But it is my hope that a year or two down the road, we’ll be able to offer our very first online course and Spring Valley High School, and it will be AP Macroeconomics with Mr. Hooper. That would not be possible without the knowledge I’ve gained from this course. Thanks for a great semester.