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Teaching an online class

Here's what I have learned in teaching an online, graduate level summer class for 10 weeks:

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Checking email often is vital. There are lots of problems with tech support, and you have to be available and kind.
  5. Dedicated, conscientious students work well in this environment. I'm not so sure how it would work with traditional undergraduates.
  6. 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.
  7. John Wesley was a very interesting person and thinker.

Hauerwas appointed to Aberdeen

John Wesley and Standing Desks