Gearing up for the new term

My terms are starting in the next few weeks and since I’m off to the UK in a week’s time, I want to get everything in order before heading off. I did a lot of tweaking and course editing at the beginning of last term, and it has left me pretty well placed, only having to make a few changes before launching everything.  I can’t say enough about the value of taking time to manage courses and fix errors upfront. It will save you so much time during the term itself.

This term I’m thinking about shifting assignments.  I teach courses of different lengths, some 8 week, some 12 week and some 16 week.  Normally I just cram the same assessments into a shorter time frame, but I am not sure that is the best strategy.  Yes, they all need to be the same amount of challenge and the assessments need to pack the same punch, but the students in my 8 week courses are very different from the students in my 16 week courses.  They are frequently working adults and they have different needs, and I notice that frequently an assignment gets missed which hits their overall grades pretty hard. when I have taught with weekly assessments they also get missed or, worse, they are rushed and shoddy. I am thinking of playing with a couple of larger projects that will combine elements of smaller projects normally spread through the term that will be less likely to be forgotten in the rush of the life of a busy working person.  A solid midterm and final seem to provide natural points for people to work around. What do you all do? I am also going to continue working with youtube and suggesting  itunes lectures for students to listen to this term. Getting media accessibility is always a challenge, but things are getting better.

Additionally, I am really feeling for a number of colleagues who are trying to go the traditional academic route right now.  It’s always tough out there, but this is a helluva time to be looking for tenure track positions.  I am grateful for abundance in my work and for being able to life the unusual life I have created for myself doing this.

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Online Educational Specialist