Teaching Online? Here I Go!

Next Post : 24 days and counting…until my class begins==>

In fall 2011 I’ll be teaching my first fully online class. Some of you may be saying “What tha…?” so let me say a few things.


Yes, I’m the Instructional Designer at Centralia College and yes, I’ve been telling our faculty here for some time how they should be designing their online content.  Notice I said “designing”. I’ve been trained by Quality Matters in how to evaluate the design of a course. I’ve tried not to tell teachers how they should present, how they should teach, how they should interact with students, etc., etc. Instead, I try to focus on design; (but I’m more than willing to give advice and gab a lot about other areas should someone ask). I’ve got a solid background in technology  and a Masters Degree in Education to boot. I’ve taught many face-to-face college-level courses and used technology in all of them. “Back in the Day” I ran my own classroom websites on a server in my office (and I have to confess, oh how I love Angel and not having to do it all myself).

So what am *I* doing, teaching online? Well, there were some last minute changes to teachers/courses and I was fishing around for a chance to teach Excel.  I happen to love Excel (I know, I need to get a real life, eh?) and was hoping to jump into a faculty role again. I’ve taught Excel face-to-face before and enjoyed it a little too much (l0l). I’m hoping to bring my enthusiasm for Excel and my fascination with technology to my students. I’m also hoping that the frontline experience of doing it all myself will give me more insights into how I can help faculty here at Centralia College more.

If you’re keeping score, I’ll be teaching this fully online, three-credit Excel course as an adjunct faculty member but still doing my normal ol’ eLearning job during my normal work hours. The Excel course will exist, for me, during evenings and weekends.

So what have I done so far? I’ve got an Angel classroom. The previous online instructor graciously shared her Angel content with me. The book publisher sent me a textbook and classroom materials. Honestly… what I’ve done the most of so far is thinking about things. As I type this, my Angel classroom opens in 21 days and there’s little content there yet. My class officially starts September 19th I’m starting to get to the “eeeeeeeeeeeeeek” stage and I know it’s time to get my act together.

My hope is to use not only my textbook, but also Angel (our learning management system), Tegrity (video recordings) and Blackboard Collaborate (web conferencing – used to be called Elluminate) to communicate with my students. I feel I’ve got a pretty good grasp of Angel and Tegrity but honestly I could use a little more practice with BB Collaborate.  So far I’ve got six Tegrity recordings linked in my Angel classroom and they all pretty much deal with introduction-to-the-course kinds of things:

What’s next? I need to finalize what I’ll include in most weeks’ content folders. Frankly I forgot about writing weekly objectives (DOH! How could *I*, our Instructional Designer forget this?) so I’ve been doing some thinking about those too – but nothing’s in writing yet!  I’m reading my textbook too and have made it about 1/8 of the way through the book. Thankfully it’s an updated version of a textbook I’ve used before.  I also need to develop some of my own content that’s not in the book…

All in all, I’m feeling the pressure growing. I’m afraid to look back over my shoulder because there’s a tidal wave coming that says September 19th in huge letters!

Please, follow along as I share my real-life experiences. Names will be changed to protect the innocent! I can’t wait to see where I succeed and what I learn from my failures.  I feel like I’m baring my soul a bit here and I’m sure you’ll see me tooting my own horn from time to time, but also looking to share my misery with others!


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