When deciding to complete an online master’s program, I had a few reservations about completing a degree exclusively online. Now, 3 weeks into my first ever online course, some of those concerns have been erased, but unfortunately, others have taken their place. At this point in the term, my learning has been more focused on trying to figure out the nuts and bolts of Canvas, getting used to using discussion boards and trying to keep all of the different assignments organized than on the actual class focus: creating an effective online experience.
Canvas is a relatively intuitive design, but there are a number of more intricate functions that take time to figure out. A webinar orientation on the ins-and-outs of Canvas would be great for new students and would have saved me a fair amount of time.
I am a very visual and social learner, so being sequestered from other students feels a bit unnatural. The introduction assignment is a good idea, but something to consider is how that could be taken even further in developing a community of learners. In a few of the discussion posts, a synchronous discussion board was brought up allowing real time communication between faculty and students. For me, something like this would be immeasurably helpful.
Organization has never been something I have struggled with; however, with all of the assignments being posted at the beginning of the week, it is a challenge sorting tasks and working them into a manageable schedule around work.
Despite the difficulties in adjusting to this form of class, the first part in learning to create an effective online experience is to fully understand what students need and go through in an online environment, and what better way to learn than from first-hand experience. It would be very difficult to be a driving instructor without ever having driven.