Wednesday, September 01, 2010

My Rant on Online Classes

As you all know I teach online classes, hence I think I have a good grasp of the subject matter. I also have taken them as a student. What I will NEVER get is some professor's OBSESSION with teaching an online class as if it were a regular class. Then what's the point? Don't just think your in person call will automatically transfer to online! It won't without some modifications! That's REALITY. You'll have to actually do some work!

I HATE online chat sessions. I find them completely useless as when you get 20 people in a chat room its chaos. You don't learn anything. Small group chats (5 or less) are fine as are office hours/meetings which are usually just one student and a teacher. But the entire class - that is what discussion boards are for! So you can have a logical conversation! Plus its online - that means the person taking it is looking for some flexibility and having to be somewhere (even a chat room) the same time each week - I'd rather go to class! Now if distance students are involved, okay if you are dead set you need a chat (you DO NOT), at least then you have a reason to do a chat. But if you don't have distance students....again what's the point? Hold the regular class you are married to! You obviously can't teach an online class and so don't try!

Can you tell that professors who think they are so important you HAVE to listen to them lecture bother me? I think what really bothers me is that they think they can make an online class easily - you can't. It takes work to make an online class good!

I get that online can't take the place of an actual classroom and that there is something important in that contact - especially if you are struggling (hence why I hand out my phone numbers and encourage students to call, so they can get some real contact). But it isn't always possible and with current technology we can do almost as good. Having "class" in the traditional sense isn't always necessary and often when professors try to turn an online course into that they just make a miserable experience.



Amy J. said...

You need to teach a seminar to these professors on teaching on line classes.

I, personally, think some classes lend well to being on line and some do not. I do agree that the chat thing is ridiculous.

Christine said...

Amen!!! Allen has taken several online classes, higher level accounting stuff - and had some wonderfully adapted online profs and some that really wanted a "real class" but tried to make it all happen online - stuffing all the things one would expect in an in-person class and getting rid of all advantages of online stuff, the rigidity of "attendance"... nuts. Sounds like you really are aware of ways to make it work for people. Your students must appreciate that.