What is it about good education that makes brains happy? My current StarTalk course (Transitioning to Teaching Online) is just amazing. For one thing, I wish I’d had the information years ago. The best practices that we are looking at, the course preparation materials, the syllabus re-writing and especially the forums where we post our responses and comment are inspiring and thought provoking.
The first big surprise, other than uncovering my weaknesses and some concepts I never considered, is the idea that successful online teaching is not “flip the switch and sit back.” Our three main instructors are incredibly involved with us in the day-to-day comments and responsiveness. And one of the best practice suggestions is to cap online classes at 20, because online classes done right take so much time for the instructor. It doesn’t seem to me that a whole lot of administrations know this aspect of best practices!
I’m openly sharing my journey as you can see from the top menu line. The Personal Learning Log is supposed to be just a list of resources we’d like to come back to later. I’m ending up planning my responses to questions and putting ideas there too, so it’s stream-of-consciousness mess. If my instructors request a more compact list, I will make that change, but for now, that’s what I’m doing.
Two requests: first, if there are other Russian teachers out there who have dabbled or taught online, please connect! This course has teachers of Hindi, Mandarin, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, and Turkish, and their perspectives are very helpful; but I’m the only Russian participant. Luckily one of the fabulous instructors is a Russian professor, or I’d feel more alone.
Second, my TPRS/CI community: please share ideas for online teaching using our methods. I am going to use a beautiful new online textbook that one of our instructors pointed out (http://www.mezhdunami.org/) for the purposes of starting an online course, but would like to be able to do my own thing with it too.