Building off of the great strategy for taking notes that I explored in last week's blog post, this week I'd like to share approaches Meredith Butulis, our online Health Fitness Program Chair, and Katie Adams use in their classes.
Meredith shared with me how beneficial Evernote, a free online notebook readily available to you from any online medium, is for keeping track of her students in a quarter and beyond. Meredith points out some of the great benefits of Evernote for her and her students: "I keep a notebook for every student in Evernote. That way I cannot only refer back to it to make material individually relevant throughout the course, but also accumulate information on students in the program. This is very handy when it comes to trying to help with letters of recommendation, Externship searches, or career placement!"
As the Evernote website states: "Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web." I encourage you to check it out and give it a try!
Katie also takes notes on her students, particularly if she receives messages from them about sick kids, a lost/stolen/broken computer, a dog being put to sleep, a scheduled surgery, weddings, etc. Then after about a week or two Katie sends the student an email to follow-up asking how he/she is doing, congratulate him/her on the event, mention she is there for support, or communicate whatever is appropriate for the specific life event. This is yet another way Katie shows her students she is there for them and recognizes that "life" also happens during one's education. As Katie said to me, this has been "hugely successful - learners are incredibly overwhelmed by these communications." Katie puts herself in her students' shoes and looks at how she would respond if she got these communications too, "I like to think if this was me as a learner, I would feel connected regardless of the online environment!"
Thanks for the great resources and ideas, Meredith and Katie! And I encourage all instructors to give one or both of these strategies a try!
Online Instructional Specialist