No Fancy Name
Sunday, October 17, 2004
update on my class
I'm officially two weeks into teaching my class, Databases and Dynamic Web Design, at "Two weeks into" a completely open-ended gig, of course—it's all about asynchronous learning, so I have people who started on day 1, some who just started a few days ago, some who have registered but haven't done anything yet, some who are working through Lesson 0, some through Lesson 1, some through Lesson 2, etc. As time goes on, I'll always have some students just starting the course, some just finishing it, and probably a bunch right in the middle. Students have up to three (sometimes six) months to finish a course; my course is six lessons long. You could get through it in a week if you had nothing else to do, but I'd imagine six weeks would be average time-to-completion, maybe eight. Depends on the person, of course. I do, however, hold the distinction for having the "longest" class at Sessions—150 pages, printed. I'm proud of that.

I have 14 students now: 10 women and 4 men. They are from 9 different states (MI, WA, NJ, MD, IL, PA, SC, MS, GA). Puerto Rico, Belize and Yemen are also represented. Yemen! (and for that matter, Belize!) Sometimes I forget how useful the Internet can be...this reminds me.

At the beginning of the class, I was worried that stereotypes were coming true: boys good at computers, girls not so good. While the two "best" students I have are men, the women are working through lessons as well. I have one student who thinks their stuff is good and moves on/posts things to share without waiting for me to grade and respond. I have one student that is of the very dependent/"problem child" variety. Everyone else falls in the middle. I like the middle, because I have less that I feel compelled to write in my responses. :)

We (instructors) must respond to mail/grade assignments within 1-2 days. Since I'm always online, it's more like a same-day thing. I grade things before I start working in the morning, and after work in the evening. I know I am spending more time on my responses than I really "need" to, but this class isn't a graphic design class—there are right and wrong answers. For example, if someone submits a script and it's broken (doesn't work at all) or could break easily, then I'm going to make them do it again after I point out all things that are problematic. It's not a case of "I don't like green, do it again," because if that were the case, I'd have made everyone do the form exercise again because most of them are nothing I'd ever let a client see. :) So, if I were doing one of those "favorite words" memes, "issues" and "problematic" and "atypical" would be high on my list of oft-used words.


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