Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Online Classes: Ask questions

I ask my students to fill out questionnaires in the very beginning of the semester. This helps me to get to know them and their writing level. They are invited to ask me any questions that they might have.
Here is a recent question and answer:

Is there an aspect of teaching online that you dislike? If so, what is it?

When I teach in person, I can watch the class and notice if someone has a confused expression after I’ve said something. Then, I can easily re-explain the idea in a new way and work to make myself clearer. It can be challenging to teach an online class when the students don’t always ask questions and I can’t read their facial expressions. Therefore, I really rely on everyone to ask questions (either on Blackboard or privately in an email) and let me know how things are going.

I encourage all students to feel comfortable asking questions. The online student, however, has a particular responsibility to ask questions. When students ask me private questions in an email, I will often share the answer (without the student’s name, of course) on Blackboard. As my professors always said, “if you have a question, someone else probably does, too.”

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