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If you teach online or take online courses....

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1. Where do you go to learn? 

2. If you teach, where do you teach? What software, or hosting service or???

3. What kinds of online courses do you like the most?  Straight text? Video? Mix? 

4. Do you choose by cost or teacher or course content?

 

 

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I started teaching online while at a small university before course management systems such as Blackboard, WebCT, were invented.  My courses had interactive assignments and automatic grading that were supported by Perl programs that I wrote from scratch.

When Blackboard became available, I started using it because it made course administration easy (grading and communication), but my interactive assignments were still hosted on a private server -- but displayed in the right-side window of Blackboard. 

What kinds of online courses do you like the most?  Straight text? Video? Mix? 

Straight text is very easy.   Video can be easy.   If you want to run a course that is simply tossing out information and giving an auto-graded quiz on that information, those are very easy.

 

If you want students to solve problems and engage with one another then you need to give them data or information that they must think about and put together, in a way that enables them to come to a defensible conclusion. 

In a face-to-face setting, students would come into the classroom, receive a packet of data, and work in small groups to reach a conclusion.  If they can easily come to the conclusion by consensus, then:  A) you have a good introductory assignment;  or, B) you have not challenged them sufficiently;  or, C) one strong personality in the group is given over to by the rest of the members. 

Situation A) is good at the start of the course.

Situation B) is mid-way through the course and you have low expectations for your students.

Situation C) is when you have not placed enough grade pressure on the students or your assignment is way too easy. 

 

If students do not come to easily reach conclusion by consensus then you might have a great assignment that challenges your students, or you might have an assignment that is beyond their ability (which is not a bad thing to throw at them occasionally - and then come back to when their skill level is higher).  In either event, you have given an assignment that is making them think, conclude personally, and, then express themselves to others to test their own answer or test the answer of others.  At least a couple of your assignments should be difficult enough, or impossible enough that students are arguing about them (or you don't have enough individual accountability and grade pressure on them). 

All of the stuff above is easy to observe in the face-to-face classroom, however, observing this online requires two things:   first, making them to develop their own opinion and submit it to you for assessment, then, having them present their idea to a small group of peers by use of message boards.  You don't want to make unique assignments for each student.  But, if you have sixteen students, you could make four different assignments, divide the students into four groups, and each student presents and is critiqued by three other students who each had one of the other three assignments.  That way, each student sees four different problems, and you must only prepare and assess four.

 

Problem solving assignments are demanding for the students and for the teacher.  The harder you make the students work, the harder you must work yourself.  You can go easy on yourself and your students will not get a lot out of the course, or you design ways to make students work as hard as possible and limit the outfall on yourself.  Keep in mind if they are not arguing with one another about the assignments, and not complaining that they have to work, then you might not be giving them their money's worth.

 

 

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I've been considering re-tooling the UX course I taught at the Search Engine College for 12 years before it closed. It was straight text, with quizzes, homework, one required assignment and one final test and they got a certification from the school.

I was reading somewhere that the best courses are those that help students accomplish something they most want to do.  

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I was reading somewhere that the best courses are those that help students accomplish something they most want to do. 

That's for sure. With students like that, you don't have to worry about the types of academic dishonesty that seeps into many university courses.  

I need a good course on htaccess.

 

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I've been considering re-tooling the UX course I taught at the Search Engine College for 12 years before it closed. It was straight text, with quizzes, homework, one required assignment and one final test and they got a certification from the school.

That could be a course that you set up and much of it can be reused again and again over time.

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Wow htaccess can be really complicated. Many ways of doing the same thing. The Apache docs jump all over. Examples are the best. I still have trouble remembering in what order things get processed and I've read the docs over and over.

 1. is online

I prefer books. I guess online books are kind of the same... except I can't have my fingers in 3 different places. So for 3. I prefer text. Can't jump around in a video.

2. The reason I would not want to teach, let's say as a community service, is there will always be a wise guy (guy=gal) who will try to be smarter than you and if that person is smarter then that guy should be smart enough to figure out you are doing this pro bono to an audience who is not that savvy and needs to know. I am thinking of something like PC security 101 to some over 40s'-50's+. I know from experience how hard it is to resist the temptation. Mea culpa and I now know there is a nice way to correct a speaker. Yes I know 24.175.35.315 is not valid.

So I have stopped telling people this and that. Don't open attachments, look at URls before clicking them, keep up-to-date, reduce your electronic trails, your bank will never ask you to verify your password just to be sure, challenge that "guy from the IRS" who wants personal info, etc, etc, etc. Too many polite blank stares. Although, today, folks are paying a little more attention. Thanks Zuck.

As an example for programing 101 I know that a nested clause like:
if..if..if..if..if..if..if..if..if..
else..else..else..else..else..else..else..else..else..

is more efficient than nine individual if-then statements and the wise guy would point this out. He is right.

Five years down the road, when the new guy has to debug this, which is easier to understand. Now add a few ANDs and NOTs to the nested if-else and imagine the inner ifs flow off the right side of the page (tabs=8) and the outer else is below the fold.

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I looked at udemy

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