For my online course, Pre-Calculus 30 with Mr. Johns, which is hosted on a Google Site, I have decided to use Google Classroom for students handing in assignments and having the ability to comment, Google Chat for students to discuss any math topics and to get specific help from myself or peers, and through Chat having students interact on Jamboard to receive help from me or students on specific math problems and graphing. Students may also choose to talk to me in person or through daily Google Meets (as it is designed as a Hyflex course) or by email or phone. I am now teaching the course in school and although I am not allowed to live stream lessons I am using all of the other platforms besides Google Meets. So I have had some time to experiment with the interaction methods I chose for the course.
The one type of interaction which I have not encompassed is video recorded responses by students or myself but this has been on my mind, as I used this strategy consistently during supplemental learning. My frustration during supplemental learning was having to record math help videos on my phone on a home-made document camera, then edit them if necessary and upload them to YouTube to share with students. This was time-consuming and frustrating to say the least. Students would submit video quizzes through Google Classroom with a similar method I just described and it worked well, as they really only did one video every week or two. I however was doing 5 to 15 of them a day! I have now learned many platforms that would work better to record and edit to automatically put videos to drive and share them, such as ScreenCastify or WeVideo. In conjunction, with a document camera or Jamboard it would now be much easier to interact with students through video, even live using a Google Meet!
The methods I described in the introduction of this post of interacting with students was formulated really to try and help students in math, for the hybrid model, when they are at home and stuck. They can post their issue on Chat and Jamboard and myself and / or a peer can help them. I think it is a good idea, but most students only reach out for help in person at this point. I even tried engaging them on Chat with other prompts and interesting math topics but the interaction has been limited. I think I might have to create online "office hours" using Google Meet to try and interact with students at home, but I really cannot find the time for this unless it is during class time which is reasonably filled with in-person help!
I chose the Google platforms as I am familiar with them, they work well on all devices and our division provides technical support for them. So they may not be the best, but I know them, they work and I will hopefully not have to deal with to many issues! I only verbally discussed expectations for online interactions with students, but wanted to make them aware this is for school and thus should be school appropriate and generally positive!
To be honest, I think that I am really out of my element in this realm as I to prefer not to interact much online at all. I just signed up for a Twitter account, and have never typed into a forum unless required by a class. Given the option to post on a forum or messaging or discuss with a human in person, I would choose in-person 99% of the time. I will text and email but that is about it. That said, I do really like the Zoom classes for University and find them nearly as engaging as in-classroom learning. So I am good with computers, keen on online learning but really seem to be lacking in the interaction ideals for a good online course! It is really something I should try more to judge properly and so if nothing else I will commit to that; try Twitter some, chat on Discord and maybe even post a Tweet or three (ECI 834 has opened my horizons...) in hopes that I can translate this to student interaction for an online class in the future!
Thanks for reading.
Blog prompt: What forms of student/student-instructor interactions have you implemented/do you plan to implement in your course prototype (e.g. LMS forums, chats rooms, Flipgrid, blog comments/pingbacks, hashtags, Google Classroom, etc.)? What justification can you provide for choosing these forms of student interaction? What guidelines or assessment practices will you adopt to ensure that interactions are meaningful, supportive, and relevant?