New Semester, New Students Begins With A Promise

Joseph Cavanaugh’s research has found that teaching a course online consumes more instructor time than teaching the identical course face-to-face (2005). The types and number of interactions with participants, the preparation required, and the extent of feedback given all contribute to the additional time needed to effectively teach online.

State University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume VIII, Number I, Spring 2005.

With the beginning of the new Fall/Spring semester, the halls of the university where I teach will be alive with undergraduates who have exited their high school years, in addition to the sigh of relief of the graduates who are eager to jump into the realities of a professional career.

In the halls you will see the traditional instructors, professors and lecturers who are the boots on the ground educators, mentors to the graduates and undergraduates. Students will know their names, their voices, lecture styles and even manner of dress.

What you will not see in the halls are the online educators. These educators are rarely seen in person, yet they appear on audio, video and grade books. I am told through folklore, we also appear on Google Hangouts and Skype.

Whether it is a traditional student or an online student, they only expect one thing from the traditional educator and the online educator, a promise. A promise to help students learn what they need and to teach them what they need to know in order to succeed in the real world. To not differentiate between whether you are teaching online or whether you are boots on the ground.

A Promise to Students

Below is on the news feed of my course page. The news item is even personalized with the first names of my students, so they can feel that I am talking to them one-on-one.

Dear {FirstName} (you can insert this in the news feed in D2L and it will grab the first names of your registered students and personalize the page when they sign in.)

Welcome to marketing and communications. This is going to be an awesome experience learning how to apply the core principles and theories of marketing to your chosen field of study. You will have an opportunity to learn, share experiences, what you are learning, both individually and in groups. In addition, you can be assured that as your instructor, I will …

  • Stay abreast of the latest ideas in the field of marketing and communications, especially how they relate to your core field of study.
  • Teach going above and beyond the textbook with enthusiasm and passion.
  • Be Your Cheerleader
  • Be Your Learning Coach. I will hand to you the resources, tools and information you need to successfully complete assignments and graded discussion boards.
  • Be A Social Butterfly. I will engage with you on the Discussion Boards, in email and using Google products such as Google Hangouts and Google Voice.
  • Use the Discussion Board to engage with you and ask you questions, similar to the traditional classroom that fosters learning, that develops and emphasizes critical thinking skills.
  • WRAP (not Rap) and WEAVE in the Discussion Boards and bring to life your conversations and how they relate to the course topic or assignment.
  • Evaluate your work carefully, using the rubrics and return it promptly with the type of feedback that will help you to understand your assignments and Discussion Board questions.
  • Exercise my super powers to always be as fair, respectful and understanding instructor.

In addition {FirstName}, you are being promised the following:

  • I will be available to you for two hours early Saturday morning.
  • Use of my Limited Superpowers. And because my superpowers are often limited, if you need assistance outside of this course, I will do my best to see that you get it.

I will put in the time to make your online learning experience valuable, where you can apply what you have learned here in real life professional situations. You will walk away knowing how to learn on your own, use critical thinking skills and resources to build common knowledge and reflect. And you will learn how to use your own set of limited super powers to successfully move forward.

Respectfully, Cheryl


Feature image courtesy of Flickr, fred_v.

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