N00b Management 101

>While I kept telling myself that my new online courses were College-level and not Graduate level, I realize now that I had confined my assumptions to the level of language used in assignment instructions and forum introductions. I hadn’t really counted on people entirely new to e-learning or even people who were not very familiar with computers at all.

(Okay, so I now have some ideas on an e-learning 101 asset, or series of assets, but I digress)

I think that part of the battle will be won by sticking with Salmon’s best practices for “weaving” and “summarizing” threaded discussions (but I will need to go back and explore different examples), but the other part of the battle is just getting people to realize how to work through an online course so that it’s not a “finish all 14 weeks’ content in a few days” event.  I will definitely need to take things slowly, use smaller words, and try not to leave anyone behind.  I am also going to have to be very careful with showing people the requirement for group work in an online course….I have a feeling that’s going to be a rough road for some at the outset.

A challenge for sure, but one I definitely signed up for.

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Taking (Online) College Instruction by Storm!

>Well, I admit that I never thought it might happen, but as of today I am officially a College-level instructor because my two courses started today.

I found myself in this position by the purest of chance.  The backstory is that I live in a relatively major center with a nearby Community College.  As a product of the College system I have a certain amount of affection of the methods and approaches used therein.  This College runs a number of continuing education courses, including a certificate in adult learning (similar to the one I did years ago).  So, I figured I’d send out a general inquiry to say, “ya know, if you ever want/need part-time instructors for this gig I’d be, you know, interested.”.  Based on my history with unsolicited resume submissions and the like, I didn’t hold out a lot of hope for what I usually consider to be a pretty closed system.

Fate decided to keep me on my toes and I actually got a response to my query and eventually got an offer to teach not one, but two of the online editions of said certificate program.  That was back in October and I wasn’t slated to teach until Feb., so it didn’t seem quite real.

But, that was then, and this is now.  I’ve completed the edits to my course, and when I checked in last night I was pleasantly surprised to see that I even had learners enrolled!  So, things kicked off today. In my Adult Learning course I have 32 (!) learners, and in the Assessment & Evaluation course I have 12.  Of course, these numbers are likely to change as the course goes on, but I’m thrilled.  Lots of eager (and maybe not-so-eager) learners to mould, mentor, and guide.

I dug back through my online communities course from grad school and re-read Gilly Salmon’s fine book, e-Moderating.  I tapped into some of my recent expertise and inspiration and I filled in what I thought were some of the gaps in one course, and worked with another new instructor to re-purpose and re-format another one because neither one of us could make head-nor-tail of the original approach (we also had learner feedback from a previous iteration to support our efforts).

So, I gave them a video introduction and I plan to do some of Salmon’s “weaving and summarizing” as the content discussions progress.  I may even tap into some other activities through the 14 week run of the course, just to give the learners some other kinds of engagement.

While I find the thought of having to mark that many assignments a little daunting, I’m still excited about this new side activity.  I’ll blog more as the courses progress.