Online Teaching: What is Unique?

Larry C on the Chronicle’s fora said:

1. Retesting or allowing students to take a test multiple times. Especially in classes where I ahve a large bank of questions, I can set up a quiz where students may take the quiz as many times as I will allow them and keep the last grade. The way I implement this is to allow students to take a quiz twice within 3 or 4 days. If they don’t like their grade they may retake, but will get mostly or all new questions. So I tell them there is no point in retaking unless you study some more. And it is almost no effort on my part to set the quizzes up this way.

2. Show and Tell forum. For my field, history, there is so much amazing web content. I set up a forum to allow students to share whatever they have found that ties into the weeks lessons. This includes history in the news. Not everyone participates but many students love this feature.

3. Related to #1, testing and retesting over the course syllabus. I have a 20 question quiz that is basically the top 20 things students miss or find confusing about the course (because they do not read the syllabus). I put it up the first week and students may retake it until they get 100%. They love the free points, and I love teaching a class where every single student has read and understands the syllabus.

4. Rich content. Students lose my lectures but gain web exhibits, primary source databases, popular and academic history articles, podcasts, vidcasts, and blogs relevant to the course. They hardly miss me at all…

flash-thumb-drives-green-brownRelated to number 1, being able to give the “same” quiz to different people at the same time and the answers (and the questions) can still change. I used a bank of 200 questions for a 50 question exam. It made me worry a lot less about cheating on it.

Zuzu had this to say in the same thread:

When I create discussion prompts, I love that I can embed links to online dictionaries of literary terms. For example, I just created a prompt that included the work “episodic.” Now, I am guessing maybe half of the students wouldn’t really know that term, but I am guessing about half would know it.

In a live class discussion, I can a.) not use the word OR b.) take time to define and explain the term.

Online, I can just embed a hyperlink in the word “episodic,” and whoever needs a definition can just quickly pop open a new window.

I wish I could do that with my students’ textbooks. I’m sure that soon that will be possible.

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