"Summer's lease hath all too short a date"
This was especially true for the dedicated faculty who taught online classes this summer. Dr. Elizabeth Seebach (Psychology), Josh Lallaman (Biology), Dr. Valerie Edwards (Sociology), and Blake Pickart (Business) shared their experiences with this developing Saint Mary's initiative. All four stressed the importance of the initial face to face meeting that took place before the online sessions began. These meetings were good places to get a sense of who the students would be (some instructors even took pictures of each student), what some of the student issues might be (working full time for example) and to make sure all students had access to appropriate technology. All agreed that these meetings ought to be held earlier in the Spring semester and that they should include some sort of engaging activity.
Course design discussion centered around time span difficulties--how to have enough time for discussion and yet keep on track with the introduction of each new topic. As Dr. Seebach said she had to be "behind and ahead at the same time." All agreed on the need to keep synchronicity requirements low, as group discussions were hard to schedule.
Panel members shared their attempts to engage their classes as a community using Google, Facebook, and Blackboard. Lallaman said it was harder to do this with a big class size.
Office hours and time management were also discussed. Surprisingly most students didn't use the posted office hours which included opportunities for texting, using Skype, etc. preferring instead to use the old fashioned email for most of their communication.
Panel members all said they would do online teaching again, but some said they much preferred face to face style teaching for their discipline.
Missed the session? View it on Tegrity.