So here's the nasty part: in the first module of the course, I deliberately chose BAD PEDAGOGY. I was nebulous about some of the requirements and expectations. I started with a soft open--a general "we will start class on Tuesday" announcement was all I gave them, with no explanation of what that really means. I had a (lengthy!) syllabus, and a (lengthy!) introductory video to give a rambling personal introduction and some expectations for their participation. I even contradicted myself at a few points between the different things I had posted about due dates and times. Oh, and the greatest faux pas of them all: "All of your work is due by midnight on Monday." (Begging the classic question: Wait...does that mean just after 11:59pm on Sunday night? Or just after 11:59pm on Monday night??)
As I say, this was all deliberate. Isn't that horrible? Call it tacit learning: I made it explicit later (I hope!) but I wanted them to have the experience of being unsure if they are "doing it right" as a learner.
Because here's the thing: online teaching is still teaching. We can't be sloppy or doing it half-way, just because we don't have a physical classroom. We still need to be careful, thoughtful, welcoming, encouraging, just as we would in a face-to-face first-day-of-class. And, perhaps even more-so in the online-only classroom environment: we need to be very, very clear about what we mean, and what we expect.
I hope the lesson was taken well by the participants. I promise that I'll make module 2 a better learning experience for them.
|"WE" are learning together!|
Image by David Mulder [CC BY-SA 2.0]