Saturday, January 26, 2008

And they're off...

This semester’s ENWR class seems to have started well. As usual, there has been some dropping and adding – although a few things have surprised me. One is, the student who added the class on the Tuesday night AFTER the first meeting, but then never showed up for the Thursday class. Then there is the student who added the class AFTER the Thursday class – so this person will have missed the first two classes.

Now, I’m not saying this person can’t make up for lost time, but if it were me I’d have reached out to the instructor right away and said “what have I missed”, or something along those lines. I’m not sure I’d be waiting for the next class, which is the 3rd of only 26 classes, to get started.

Then there are the people who are not checking their email daily and also not signing into BlackBoard. This course is a hybrid class. I reached out to everyone twice before the course even started letting him or her know to check BlackBoard. There is a ton of stuff posted there and by not checking it students are creating an unnecessary hardship on themselves.

Things have not been all doom and gloom. During the second class we went over BlackBoard, and everyone seems to have down the basics –great. We went over Google, which we’ll be using a great deal, and everyone seemed to understand – good. Regarding Google, we’re using Mail as a back up email account, Calendar for the class schedule, Blogger (Blogspot) for class blogging, Documents, to be able to share documents not only with me but also with peer reviewers, and Groups. I went through them briefly, we’ll have to see if they get it.

I then devoted the last 30 minutes to Second Life. Nearly ½ the class set up the account as instructed prior to the class meeting. A few others did also, but hadn’t added the name to the Discussion Thread. So we got the few remaining folks up and running and then I let them loose on the NMC Orientation Island (which is MUCH better than the main Second Life Orientation Island). While they tooled around I collected a few things from each of them, including their RAVE Wireless phone numbers. Most of them had their phones already, a few are straggling.

While I left them on their own to explore, I heard chatting in the room, I heard people helping others, I heard lots of clicking, and what I didn’t hear were any complaints. That’s a great sign for this class, so I guess the hybrid designation and the first day of school chat I had with them has paid off.

All in all I think we’re off to a great start and I’m really looking forward to the semester.

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