The internet, where all the cool kids are

Well, it has only been two weeks and it has already been a bit of whirlwind quarter.   I had the misfortune to start the term a bit sick, and I have been able to teach by the grace of DayQuil and cough drops.  My doctor assures me that I’m not contagious, and that I’m ready to get better.

Any minute now, that would be nice.   (grumble, grumble… stupid lungs)

This  quarter ALL of my classes are “Emporium” classes.   This basically means that the students are learning at their own pace online, while I teach them en masse in the classroom.

Honestly, I miss writing Zombie test questions.   So much for technology.

The realities are, we live in an increasingly digital age and teaching needs to utilize new technology.   Teachers:   you need to get on board, or else.   Gamification of education and having instant feedback are very tempting tools to have!  The downside:  the more that classes are structured online (and curriculum is designed by people removed from the students) then the less connected the instructors can feel from the material, or the software.    One thing that doesn’t sit well is the underlying assumption that the progression of topics is set, which does not lend itself to differences in student’s learning styles.    But nothing I’ve seen in the classroom is perfect, so…. on with the show.

It takes some adjustment, and  teaching online presents its own challenges and benefits.   Because classes are self-paced and online, it makes pacing lectures challenging, and some students will feel like attending class is entirely optional.     Of course, I quickly disabuse them of that notion.    Also, ask them to write down their work.   It confuses them at first, but they’ll appreciate feedback on their process later.     Two pieces of good news with adaptive learning software:   no grading, and very detailed reports.  So we can retailor the class fairly quickly when needed.

So… don’t be a slave to the software.   Good teaching is still necessary, and the students will still benefit from different techniques and tricks than the software will provide.

Now, go scare some students.


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