Relief is just a grade away …

Hello friends!

Gazebo 2It’s a beautiful day in South Georgia! I’m sitting in the breezy gazebo feature in our back garden enjoying life! I’ve already been to the gym, played frisbee with Moxie, had coffee and breakfast, read the paper, caught up on the news, and submitted the last of my grades (hence the title of this post!). As you know, I teach three types of classes: the private voice lesson, the face-to-face discussion-based creativity class, and two online classes (music appreciation and rock & roll).

I’ve been teaching online classes since I was music chair at Northwestern Oklahoma State, many moons ago! Over the years, from semester to semester, there seems to be one major stumbling block to success in an online class, i.e., students don’t read instructions and follow through!

An online class is not designed to simulate the structure of a face-to-face lecture class. Everything a student needs to know should be available to her/him on the website, however, it takes some exploration, self-motivation, and initiative (yup – Oxford commas – I’m a geezer!).

I recognized several issues when I started teaching online classes. First, I wanted the students to know that I was a real person and not just a respondent in an email thread. To achieve that goal, I produce my own videos that run the gamut from reading enhancement lectures to clarifications of confusing issues. You can probably see some of these if you visit my YouTube channel. Second, I send out weekly posts titled something like “What to Work on This Week” or “Focus for This Week.” I also send posts with tips for achieving a successful grade on the weekly writing assignments. In the Rock class this semester, I uploaded thirty-three posts including one entitled “Roadmap for Success in this Class!” The latter was a complete course outline with weekly work suggestions and a list of hard and fast due dates.

All of this is designed to apportion out the work load so that a student will not become overwhelmed (as so many online students do) when they realize that their self-motivation genie has failed them and they are hopelessly behind in their studies. At that point, my experience is that they get sloppy and send in substandard work just to get everything submitted.

I’m still frustrated when on the last day of classes I get emails from online students saying they couldn’t find something or they didn’t understand the rules, etc. Of course, for online students, computer technical issues are the equivalent of “the dog ate my homework!”  I could really run this rant for a long time, there are so many irritating details to unload …

Even so, the grade distribution is not too bad. Music Appreciation had 34% A, 17% B, 34% C, 5% D, and 11% F; while Rock & Roll had 34% A, 34% B, 10% C, 10% D, and 12% F. Obviously some students are “getting it!”

I oftentimes feel that when students read instructions they say to themselves, “I know that’s what he said (or wrote), but he doesn’t really mean that. I’ll just do it my way and he’ll surely accept it. Well, guess what: I REALLY MEAN IT! Just do what it says and you will get a good grade and I will avoid HBP!

Oh well, it’s getting really hot – the iPhone temperature says 83 – time for the first dip of the day. I need to tell you about the Blazer softball team who dropped to number TWO in the nation, but will be playing in the south regional tournament this weekend (which we are hosting here in V-Town). But, that is for another time, maybe tomorrow.  Until then –

Rant is over, go and sin no more!  Cheers!  -JAS

Relaxed Moxie

Moxie is bored and wants to get splashed!

PLEASE, PLEASE reply, comment, share this with your friends – I would like to snatch a few more followers who may possibly be interested in my drivel!  Thanks!

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