It’s June 2020, and we just emerged from an unprecedented semester at the small midwestern university where I work as an Assistant Professor and Instructional Designer. Our semester-end faculty meeting brought together 90 professors who had just ended a semester of teaching they never in their wildest dreams could have imagined.
In the time of Covid-19, we’ve been thrust into The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth. We have to battle villainous foes, make courageous choices, and strike a blow against the evil that threatens the land. This is the best way I know to describe the feeling as we find ourselves in with little to no advanced warning—forced by circumstance to teach all courses online.
How do we prepare our learners to succeed in the 21st century? More to the point, how do we equip *adult* learners for ever changing careers, skills and needs when the traditional education system is behind them?
First, I want to outline three critical skills—then I’ll talk about an organization that I think does well in this area and how they are helping to promote that particular skill for any worker in their organization. There are more skills than these that are required, but these ones top my list.
When thinking about the demographics of students currently enrolled in colleges and universities, we often first consider traditional students, between ages 18-24. However, enrollment trends in traditional, blended, and online programs are revealing that nontraditional students, those ages 25 and older, are becoming more and more prominent in the classroom. Today I want to discuss the dynamics of nontraditional students, the pressures they face, and what it means to go the extra mile in order to understand their needs and enable them to succeed.
What if you entered a face-to-face classroom and found no instructor to welcome you to class, give you an overview of the semester, or guide you through your projects? Or what if your instructor made an appearance the first day of class, but slowly became less and less engaged as the semester progressed?
You’d be in the dark for most of the semester and probably pretty frustrated with your instructor, right?
Kurt Hoffman is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Spring Arbor University (SAU) in Spring Arbor, Michigan. He has two Master’s degrees from Arizona State University: Master of Public Administration and Master of Social Work. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Humanities, with a concentration in the anthropology of human flourishing and the philosophy of social issues, racism in particular. Kurt lives in Concord, Michigan with his wife and three children.
Wendy and Ann have often worked together on rubrics sent to them by instructors. Today they’d like to discuss the importance of effective rubrics and walk you through the process of creating one that visually communicates your expectations. Ann’s going to start by discussing the importance of rubrics.
In my last post on relevant and relational feedback, I mentioned how adding a human factor into your online courses creates another dimension of building relationships with students. Constructive, relevant, and relational feedback helps students develop an awareness of their learning as well as the ability to recognize and address their weak points on their own. Today we’ll look at audio and video feedback tools you can use to build relationships with your students and help them take these important steps in their learning.
The first online course I developed and facilitated was Fundamentals of Speech. I was determined to get it right, because I had graduated from an online program and understood first-hand the pitfalls and frustrations students go through with a weak facilitator. In the very first week of the course I realized that it takes a lot of work to facilitate well! The second thing I realized was that it was so worth it—and so rewarding.
Since then, I’ve developed and facilitated many online courses, and enjoy being the eLearning certification trainer for new online and blended faculty at Spring Arbor University.