Week 2 – Gorgias via email?


flickr user Endemoniada CC

I worked through the survey and questionnaire this week, but the item that, for me, really framed things, was Robert Maxwell’s post, How do I Like to Teach?  It’s been quite a few years since I had a non-online class, but my recollection is that my preferred face to face teaching style is very Socratic.   I find this keeps the whole class engaged.  You never know when I might call on you.  More importantly, it helps both me  and the students understand their thought process, even though the multiple rounds of back and forth are initially off-putting (Is this class or am I being cross-examined?  Yes.)

Unfortunately this way of doing class is terribly unsuited to asynchronous online learning.  A chain of questions that might happen in the classroom in five minutes would take five days in an online discussion board.  So in some ways it was teaching online that nudged me towards a more student centered approach.  In the classroom it takes quite a bit of juggling to have different students doing different things at the same time — not so online.  In my online classes, I’ve moved towards giving students tasks to complete and a whole set of resources from which to choose as they figure out how to complete said tasks.

Moving to this way of thinking about my courses has opened up many new possibilities (contract grading and mastery learning, for example) However, many of the students I teach are unused to this level of autonomy.


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