Last week I was distracted by other things, so it was ironic that we began the first seriously analytical topic in my course: the theory of supply & demand. This was one of the two topics I knew in advance I needed to provide more scaffolding for with my online students. As I met my students in the face-to-face section and walked them through this material, I was aware of what I wasn’t doing with my online section. I also had the students work through sample problems in small groups during class time. I’ve always found this the best way for students to learn the material. I was very conscious that the online students were *not* getting this experience. I had planned to videotape at least parts of my class sections on this topic, but that didn’t happen. In part, this was due to my wondering why I needed to go through the effort of getting the equipment, making and editing the videos when there’s so much content about this online, and in part it was due to my simply not getting around to it. As a wise friend said, “No plan survives first contact” (i.e. with the enemy). This offers another example of how preparation is more important when teaching an online course than a face-to-face one.
I now plan to offer the online section the best online video presentations I can find to make up for my fumble. It will be interesting to see how well the online students do on this compared to the face-to-face group. I’m not optimistic, but I don’t actually know yet.
The online section is now one week behind the face-to-face section, which means we’ve made up some lost time, but not enough to get done before the first exam. As a result, I’ve pushed the exam back one week so both sections will have completed the material.
Postscript from Last Week: I was talking to my friend Amyaz Moledina from the College of Wooster about participating in the MacroMOOC (which will be beginning shortly), when I mentioned my commuter student without internet access at home. Amyaz, since he is brighter than I, asked if the student would be able to borrow an iPad from the university to help solve her problem? I asked around and found that our library offers that service. The student was very appreciative!