Sunday, March 20, 2011


I have put my hybrid course to bed.

After two years of training, planning, beating my head against the wall of my own technological limitations, frantically scrambling to make up for lost time and occasionally watching the wretched remnants of false starts waft satisfyingly skyward in plumes of ash, I finally got the class up and running with two whole days to spare. It was not an auspicious beginning.

But it turned out just fine.

Between a productive if not very happy experience with Online U and some rather more pleasant and equally productive experiences with the online wing of Home Campus, it turned out that I was better trained to put together a class with a significant online component than I had thought. And if the work my students turned in is anything to go by, it turned out to be a fairly effective class. I love it when students get what I'm trying to do - it makes them happy and me seem a lot smarter than I might otherwise appear.

And the students were an awful lot of fun.

I posted their grades today and spent much of the evening clearing away the debris on the folding table that serves as a second desk in my office in order to get it all packed away. It’s a satisfying feeling, especially since I took the time to get my other two classes organized as well.

Nothing like a little temporary organization to give you the illusion of progress, I always say.

And with reality of late here in Baja Canada being something that would bring tears to the eyes of a bluebird, I’ll take the illusion for a little while.  Can't hurt.  Might help.

The odd thing about the class was that it was so compressed. It crammed a full semester's worth of work into half a semester's worth of time, which - if you do the math - meant that it felt like two classes for that period. And now?

I don’t know what I’ll do with my newfound time…



TimBo said...

For the past few months I've been working on a project to create what we are calling Generative Interactive eTexts (GIT). We've just presented the idea to a large textbook publishing company. While they loved the idea they hated the price.

I'd sure be interested in seeing your online course. Is it available anywhere I can access it?

David said...

Actually, the university is pretty strict about that - unless you are enrolled in or actively administering this particular class, you don't get access.

It ended up being a fairly stripped down class, without a lot of the bells and whistles that these classes often come with.

I saw them for three hours every Friday night. They had to read from their textbook (Jackson Spielvogel, "Western Civilization Since 1300)" to prep for these classes.

In between, they had textbook readings and Course Texts (i.e. material I had written covering those topics), and they had to participate in discussions - they had to answer 2 of 6 questions, and then make at least 2 responses on each of 3 different days.

There were also essay exams.

In future classes, I'll probably add primary source documents and refocus some of the questions accordingly.

In 50 words or less, what is a GIT?