Here's what I have learned in teaching an online, graduate level summer class for 10 weeks:
- There's a lot of prep work. Since it is all online and condensed into 10 weeks, there is a lot of work for both students and the teacher. Everyone is surprised: wait, that's due next week?
- We use Adobe Connect for classtime, and it's worth driving to campus for this with business class internet service (fortunately, I live 12 minutes from campus). Asynchronous internet speed (where your download speed is 10 times your upload speed) doesn't work well with 9 people in a virtual classroom with video streaming for everyone. As the host, you need synchronous, business class internet service.
- It's very rewarding to focus on one class. Instead of teaching 4 classes, I get to focus on one set of material, one group of students, and one larger theme. It's going deep instead of broad.
- Checking email often is vital. There are lots of problems with tech support, and you have to be available and kind.
- Dedicated, conscientious students work well in this environment. I'm not so sure how it would work with traditional undergraduates.
- It's rewarding to return to books and material I haven't read in 15 years. I see my notes, I see the highlights, but I don't remember reading it. But I sort of do remember, in a vague way. It's sort of like meeting your old self, on a foggy day.
- John Wesley was a very interesting person and thinker.