Sunday, January 18, 2009

How to make 16 weeks fit into 8...

The answer is....not pretty.

Ok, I'll clue you in on what's up. Last year I taught my first online course for Drury University. It was an "eye opening" experience, to say the least. I taught "Women in European History" which is a 300-level, or Junior-level course. First time teaching the course and first time teaching online. I had some amazing students, and some who were just "there" to get a credit (when I was teaching High School, we called them air suckers). Under the university's requirements, they had to write 20-pages (including a 10-page research paper), along with the weekly discussions, and they had to learn how to use Chicago Style for citing their research. Some of them didn't know how to use the word processing programs. Two students plagiarized their major papers. But, we made it through.

Back in the fall, I was asked if I would teach the class again this coming semester. I said yes, not realizing that the University online school had changed it from a regular 16-week course to a 8-week course. So...this weekend I've been trying to figure out how to fit 16 weeks worth of material into 8 weeks. In the process, I've ditched the research paper (they just don't have time to do this in 8 weeks) and replaced it with several short papers. I've restructured the class, changed the reading requirements, and feel like it's really a completely new class. They're going to be busy with all the reading and writing, and I'm going to be busy grading it all on time. I have to admit, I'm already exhausted by the whole process!

I also have to admit that my Christmas tree is still up! The decorations are off, but there, right in front of where I sit, is my empty, naked tree. In part, this is because it has to be hauled to the storage unit which is about 10 blocks away...and it has been way too cold here to do that. But in part, I am just feeling school, by adoption paperwork, by freinds and family, and by everything except putting away Christmas decorations. I'm hoping that now the school stuff is ready to go for Wednesday when class starts that I will feel like doing this tomorrow.


Joy said...

Going to school on line is rough at times. I go the UOP and undergraduate classes are 5 weeks long the masters classes are 6 weeks. It is a lot of work and if you get behind you are done.
Good Luck! I would love to hear about your experience with teaching online. I have thought that I might like to do that one day.

Annie said...

I LOVE on-line classes. I feel I get more out of them actually, than "regular" classes..... My older two kids took on-line homeschooling classes.

I was really responding to Joy, there. Changing your curriculum sounds daunting. But the subject sounds fascinating!!!

Kim said...

I did online classes for the majority of my bacholers. One of the difficulties for me was the 8 week module but I loved learning this way and succeeded at it. It was always hard to explain to people that everything was jammed into 8 weeks and it was HARD! :)