Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Get reluctant students enthusiastic in online courses

When the students start their first online course, they have different levels of enthusiasm. All enthusiastic students are alike; each reluctant student is reluctant for his/her own reason. No matter what the reason is: the fear of technology and computer, or the concern of social isolation, there is a way you can deal with it. Errol Craig Sull shared some tips in his article “10 Ways to Get Reluctant and Downright Scared Student Enthusiastic About Taking Online Course” (Online Classroom, June 2006)

  1. An informative and friendly welcome email is very important.
  2. “Address possible student concerns before they’re brought up”.
  3. Anticipate student concerns and be ready in advance. (Find the answers; draft the email announcements, etc.)
  4. “Never make yourself out to be a computer god”.
  5. Communicate with the students using WebCT tools frequently, instead of waiting for their WebCT mails. Some students are just not used to online communication at the beginning.
  6. Talk to your students when needed—face to face or on the phone. Let the students know it’s still an option to talk to you even in an online course.
  7. Never accept computer awkwardness as an excuse for later assignments. (The students will be more enthusiastic to solve the computer problems.)
  8. Have resource and contact information ready.
  9. Keep reminding the students of the advantages and benefits of online courses over f2f courses. Give the students motivation and confidence.
  10. Archive the questions and problems your students have met, so you will be more ready and experienced for next semester.

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