The teacher had an energetic virtual presence. Her voice was upbeat, and she clearly enjoyed the subject matter. Since the content included the mid-80's, the title page of the presentation showed a picture of the teacher's high school graduation. What a great way to relate to the students. They got a big kick out of the 80's style.
I was impressed that students had a number of opportunities to interact with the content. An interactive table was posted on the Eluminate whiteboard in which the students defined their personal history by filling in music, clothes, politics, events, and technology of their time. We all enjoyed comparing answers. Students also had an opportunity to use the whiteboard to vote on which 2 events (Watergate, Clinton Impeachment, or Iraq War) posed the most serious threat to progress during the modern era. A thoughtful discussion followed.
The session lasted about 35 minutes. Students were able to ask questions and make authentic connections to the content. Every student was engaged. I submitted some questions to the teacher after the session including:
- Is this session optional for the students? I'm assuming it is since there were only 4 participating.
- Did you design the Eluminate presentation or is it part of the prescribed curriculum?
- How often do you hold Eluminate sessions? The students seemed to really like the interaction.
Christopher Sessums, Director of Distance Education at the University of Florida recently posted "Notes on Workload Management Strategies for Online Educators". I found some useful resources for managing my own online courses.
I was particularly interested in Teaching courses online: How much time does it take?
It stated that online courses generally take between "3 1/2 and 7 hours per week" (Lazarus, 2003, pg. 53). However, I find that I'm spending slightly more than that. I'm still anxious to hear if that rings true for the k12 virtual school.
Lazarus, B. D. (2003). Teaching courses online: How much time does it take? Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 7(3): 47-54. Retrieved 24 March 2008 from http://www.sloan-c-wiki.org/wiki/index.php?title=Teaching_Courses_O