I have taught both asynchronous and synchronous online courses but felt that something was missing from my courses especially my asynchronous online courses. A typical asynchronous online course was broken into 16 Modules. Each week consisted of a series of recorded lectures based on each section of the book followed by a series of assignments housed in an online homework platform that are due on Sundays at 11:59 pm. Aside from the lecture notes, I also include videos that I either created or curated from the Internet that explains topics that students often have difficulty with just so they have another source of information. I give an open-ended quiz midweek that students download from Canvas and submit as a pdf file on Canvas, and online chapter exams every 4 weeks and a final exam at the end of the semester using the same online platform as my HW assignments. I also have graded weekly discussion boards on Canvas. Prompts include discussing specific math topics or some affective domain topics like growth mindset, math anxiety, or studying for an exam. I also have them fill out a Get to Know You Survey, Study Skills Survey, Learning Survey, and Are You Ready for an Online Class Survey at the beginning of the class and a discussion board assignment where they introduce themselves and comment on other students’ posts.
Much of the interaction in my asynchronous class happen on the Discussion Boards, through emails between students, and during my online Zoom office hours. Since the Zoom hours were optional, only a handful of students attend. I really felt that there was not much communication going on amongst my students unless I assign a group project. I wanted to engage them more and create a better learning community for my students. I also felt that my Canvas course, although organized and easy to follow, was a bit monotonous. I wanted to add “color” in my class!
Completing the 8 humanized online teaching elements (liquid syllabus, humanized course card and homepage, voice/video feedback, getting to know you survey, ice breaker, wisdom wall, bumper video, and microlectures) has given me the tools to add that “color” in my class. I am now familiar with new tools such as Flip, Google Sites, You Tube, and Adobe Express that will help me create more effective resources and more engaging activities for my students. I also learned about equity minded practices in the class such as recognizing both collectivist/high context and individualistic/low context cultures, developing cognition and metacognition in our students, and using kindness cues and empathy to foster inclusion in the class.
I am excited to implement all the pedagogical techniques/ideas that I learned in this academy. I will replace the long welcome email that I send my students a week prior to the start of the semester with a Liquid Syllabus. I will replace my homepage with a more welcoming homepage that includes a welcome video. I will be updating this homepage every week to outline the week’s goals, assignments and due dates including a new video from me to increase my presence in class. I will replace my pdf Getting to Know You Survey with an online Canvas Survey and assign a Flip Introduce Yourself assignment instead of using the Discussion Board. I will also create Flip assignments in lieue of the weekly Discussion Board to foster student-student relationships and metacognition.
As for my lectures, I will rerecord them using microlectures to chunk out sections in the book so students will not get overloaded with too much information in one lecture. I also plan to create bumper videos to clarify topics that many students have difficulty and even use them for review problems or to explain commonly missed problems on exams (an idea I got from one of the students in this academy). All these will help me create an equity minded classroom and a better learning community for my students.