Things have really started to come together for my Introduction to College Writing I class. At the start, we had some turnover. I believe this is in part because the pop up students get is rather generic. If that message could be customized, that would be wonderful. Even if it couldn’t be customize for each class, if we had more than one classification, that would even be better. Right now all is says is that many of the classes are going to take place online.
I reached out to those who were in BlackBoard prior to the end of last semester. I reached out again after the new year, also through BlackBoard. A few days before classes started I sent an email to each individual, not through BlackBoard, and used their MSU email address as well as the email address they have listed in WESS. I was fairly clear in all the emails that there was a strong technology component to this course and to contact me with questions.
Once the first day of class came and went a few students got it and decided it was not for them. The problem, of course, is that a student leaving at that point leaves an opening in the class, so other students can register – and some did. Some even registered right up to the registration deadline, which meant they missed two or three classes.
I don’t go over the syllabus on the first night and then let them go – we start class, so any student coming in after the second class is going to be at a disadvantage. Does this mean they can’t make up for it, no, of course not – a little hard work to catch up and they’ll have no problem. The key here is that the student should have contacted me as soon as they registered to find out what to make up. All but one did not do this. The students also get access to BlackBoard after midnight once the register. If it were me, I’d go through all the announcements and posting and see what I missed. Even when I was an undergraduate, I would have done that. Many of these students did not.
So, now the class is settled, we’re into Second Life, and almost every student is excited about it. We have had a problem using Google Docs to share papers and so tonight I’m going to have to can that and we’ll have to go back to paper. I was hoping to go paperless this time around, there are just so many advantages, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to work out. As the semester progresses, if it seems we might be able to go back to it, maybe we’ll try it again.
Tonight, Dr. Patty Kahn will be coming to our class to go over the RAVE/Campus Connect program. We’ll be using the phones for polling and also for the students to get announcement from BlackBoard and also get notification when they have a grade posted. Each student should have this phone already, its part of the fee structure. The only students who will not have it will be Junior who are not living on campus and Seniors. This group will be able to use their regular cell phone.
More as it comes up.