December 10 – Teaching Online
Yesterday was the last official day of classes at the University of Rhode Island, thus it marked the “official” end of my first semester as an adjunct professor. I still have grades to do, of course, but the instruction part is over. It was really a great experience and I so enjoyed putting together materials for each of the topics. And my students were fantastic.
That said, it was a lot of work – perhaps even more than I’d anticipated (and I’d anticipated a lot). Mostly this is because I’d never taught a full class and more, I’d never taught a full class online. Online education is a different animal and many of the techniques I’d come to rely upon in my traditional classroom teaching didn’t translate easily to the online environment. In short, my students learned a lot about health sciences librarianship and I learned a lot about teaching, curriculum development, and the online educational environment. It’s like I took a class, too!
I recently read a good review in the “Advice” column of The Chronicle of Higher Education on Michelle Miller’s new book, Minds Online: Teaching Effectively With Technology. Miller is a professor at Northern Arizona University, an institution that was early to adopt the online educational environment, in part because of their location. Bad weather is common and rather than cancelling classes, the University took to the Web to provide uninterrupted learning. I haven’t read this book yet, but based on the review will likely check it out. Understanding how people learn in different environments is key to effective teaching. I think this book will offer more insight there.
If you find yourself in the situation of moving course content and/or entire classes online, you might find it of interest, too.
The treats continue tomorrow… (And in case you’re wondering, I’m still going on my Jingle Bell 5K-a-Day challenge, too! Going for 10 today.)