Saturday, August 12, 2006

online teaching

Grades were due yesterday at 9 am for the online course I was teaching. I fell behind because of the trip to Massachusetts, so Wednesday and Thursday I had an awful lot of grading to do.

The grades in the course turned out to be higher than usual when I teach that course in the classroom. I had fewer freshmen, and I dropped several students who weren't handing in assignments. I also had more assignments where students got full credit if they did the assignment, which helps their average (and was necessary to keep the grading burden halfway sane--I had 30 students in a 5 week summer course). When I teach that class in the classroom I do in-class tests, and for the online course the tests were obviously takehome and didn't have a time limit. But when I graded those tests it seemed to me that more students got the essential idea I wanted them to get about the relationship between technology and society better than usual in that course. My guess is that the online students approached the tests more seriously than the regular students do, feeling that that was all there was. I used a new third book that presented the ideas particularly clearly, but overall I can't imagine that students got as much as they would in the classroom. So it is interesting that they did better.

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