Questions worth asking, for simplifying quality online instruction

1. Must I have real-time interaction with my students?

Bells and whistles are fun to ring and blow–but are they necessary? For my Philosophy and Humanities classes, the answer is no. Given my writing, audio, video, and screencast content, along with a computer program and textbook, my students have all they need. Additionally, they can email me, email their peers (all students in every class can email any of their peers from Blackboard), post their questions on Discussion Board for help from their peers, and call me. Why require them to meet at a certain time and navigate software new to them?

2. Why use video, when audio and text, or a Screencast, are sufficient? I’m not much to look at–and my bald head causes screen glare.

3. Why worry excessively about cheating? With unobtrusive earphones and cameras, your students easily can work around a lock-down browser, anyway.

4. Why require only a single attempt at an online test? How many times have we attempted something on an app or website only to get bumped out? That just happened to me several times in setting up my Google-Fi “burner” phone, for my students to reach me on, last night. I’m not prepared to assign an E to a test when I’m not able to know if the student’s excuse for not completing it is valid. I allow multiple attempts for tests and submission–BIG headache saver.

The acronym K.I.S.S. comes to mind. We needn’t needlessly complicate things.

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