Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 17, 2011

Good Afternoon Online Instructors,

This week we are in the midst of calculating midquarter grades and asking our students to participate in the midquarter evaluation.  With these two things occurring it made me think about the importance of checking in with our students on a regular basis too.  In a residential classroom a common "checking in" process is asking students to write down, anonymously, any questions or concerns they have about the course or the course content.  As online instructors I encourage you to do the same thing, but you have an even greater advantage as you can utilize technology to assist you with this.

Why not try out to help you connect even further with your students by asking them at the end, or toward the end, of a unit what questions they have about the unit material or to inquire about any concerns they have about the course.  It is also a great way to assess student comprehension of the unit material in yet another fashion. 

The survey link could quickly and easily be emailed to your students and while you won't hear back from all students you'll most likely get the questions and concerns that students may have but haven't had a forum to ask them in before, and that is the intent of an exercise such as this.  And with the surveys being anonymous, students will then feel comfortable expressing those questions and concerns. 

Whether you do a weekly or even a bi-weekly survey, your questions could be simple and to the point.  Some question ideas could be:
  • What was the main concept or idea you gained from this unit?
  • What main question still lingers in your mind about the unit content?  
  • How do you feel about the unit content?
  • What concerns do you have about the unit content?
  • What questions or concerns do you have about the course content overall?
  • Are you comfortable with the pace of the course?
I encourage you to give this strategy a try and let me know how it works for you.  Have a great rest of the week!

Heather Thomton-Stockman
Online Instructional Specialist

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