Students of all technical abilities take online classes, and
|What could possibly go wrong?|
If students do ask you (and you do not know off the top of your head) have them try to search google first for the answer. Especially if the question is about something other than the actual course (ie. internet/wifi problems, personal computer error or issue, etc.). As the instructor you should be as helpful as you can, but ultimately it is not your responsibility to fix personal computer or software issues. Over time you may find it helpful to begin a course FAQ section and as you or other students answer questions copy and paste the question and the solution over to a FAQ module for future use. Then if you have a semester with a student who provides great answers not only do they help students in that course, but students in future courses as well.
It is also important to note that most institutions have some type of a help line/tech support which you and your students can access when needed. As a part of your welcome message/introduction to the course you should mention this and include a link to the institutions help/support desk from your course. At Lipscomb University the faculty/staff/&students can get technical support by going to the Computer Center Help Desk. Faculty can also get instructional support by contacting myself or Al Austelle in the Center for Teaching and Learning in Beaman 100. Don't be afraid to ask for help, the purpose of any Universities CTL is to help and support faculty.
In addition to institution help/support most Learning Management Systems have their own help websites which you should include as a link in your course resources. If it is a widely used LMS such as Moodle or BlackBoard don't underestimate the power of YouTube. You will be able to find some great instructional videos covering topics such as discussion boards, uploading assignments, checking grades, and more. Refer students to YouTube to find answers or even include video links in your course to help students who need them. For institutions specifically using BlackBoard check out the BlackBoardTV channel on YouTube for great resources.
Finally, make sure and schedule time for class work/office hours, even in an online course. Students emailing/messaging at all hours is nothing new, but this is especially true of online students who may even be in different time zones. If you have clearly stated hours it will limit their frustrations of wondering when you will reply, and keep you from burning out because you feel the constant need to stop and deal with each question as it comes in.
Of course if none of these suggestions work you could always pass out these Stress Reduction kits to your students. Just make sure you keep one for yourself as well.
Communicate, be flexible, utilize students & resources, and do not get burned out. All keys to successfully teaching an online course. Enjoy a few more "What could possibly go wrong" pics below. Next blog post we will discuss cheating and the importance of the idea that cheating me cheats you.
|Note, always sit on the tree side of the limb when cutting down a branch!!!|
|Motorcycles save on fuel, but you certainly give up cargo space.|
|Pickup + Boredom always = What could possibly go wrong?|