I began this MOOC with the greatest of intentions, to learn how to teach online. I found so much information however, that I am lost in the information overload. I think that I am posting in week three, but I am not sure. I am also unsure what a sense making artifact is, even though I went to the suggested site and tried to digest that information too. So I will settle for a simple reflection this week, and try again to digest what I am reading in the upcoming round of information.
I viewed the webinar with Tony Bates and found it to be quite interesting. The focus was on the steps needed to design and implement an online course. He discussed some of his 9 Steps that I also mentioned in my last blog. Mr. Bates also outlined the differences between open source learning and classes that are designed "for credit". The main difference lies in the structure and evaluation that is inherent in courses designed for university credit. I think I like structure. I need to know what the ground rules are - specific examples of work that I need to produce to earn my credits. Although courses for credit require a lot of reading and writing, the information is more contained. Topics are specific, and discussion posts for the week usually center around one main issue. If the class is divided into groups, then there is a specific purpose to the grouping, at least as far as I can tell.
In this MOOC, I am never sure if I am responding to one of the instructors, or if I am responding to a fellow student. From the many blogs that I read, there are a number of people taking the course who are also instructors at a university. I find that interesting. Perhaps there is a real need among university professors to improve their online course structure, or to at least find out what all the hullabaloo is about - OR there are a lot of instructors for this course.
One of my issues with online courses is the evaluation of work. How is it done so that the student does not feel it is all automated? It is one thing to turn in a test and know that the score is machine scored, but it is another thing to wonder if the professor actually read any comment or essay that you posted. Is the entire grade made up of on-time postings, or do instructors at least read some of the comments some of the time?