some with children, some without

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I'm not good particularly with on-line stuff, but do have a small suggestion for notes.

I was taught to keep a folder for my comp/writing classes, in which each person gets a single page. I make up the page on Excell, and then print them out. The layout lets me fill in grades, quiz grades, and so forth, and also leaves room for comments.

IF you have time to put down a few comments on your notes, say for each paper, then you can refer to those comments later. For example, in assignment one, student has problem X repeatedly, so you work with him/her on it. Assignment two comes in, and there aren't any problems with X. You can use that to add some positive feedback. People love to hear that they've gotten something right, and it reinforces how your help helped. (Gosh, I put that awkwardly!)

Maybe put a date/comment lined area on the back where you could note by date when someone makes a really useful comment on the board or something, and then you'd have that to refer to?

Good luck, and keep us informed how it's going. I'm looking for good ideas to help my own teaching with online stuff.


Bardiac -- I can use this tonight! Thanks. It makes so much sense, too. I've often felt like my comments have been lost into a dark hole once I write them. This will be a fairly easy way to gather the info over time. thanks again.


Glad to try to help :) I hope you find it useful. It does take time, but maybe I'm just less efficient than others?


Hi Timna--

I love Bardiac's ideas!

A couple more things:

1. Like you, when I first started teaching online, I worried about figuring out who's who in the class. But after a couple of weeks of reading and responding to their homework submissions, I felt like I was starting to "recognize" individuals, if that makes sense. So I guess my advice is: give it some time.

2. Another way to use Bardiac's suggestion: Your course management system might have a built-in mechanism for making teacher comments that only THE TEACHER can see. For instance, in the assignment feature of Blackboard, there's a space where the teacher can make comments to the student AND a separate space where the teacher can keep notes for herself. But maybe you already know this.

3. One more thing, again building on Bardiac: When I teach f2f, I love to use--and praise!--students' own work. Eventually, I figured out a way to do that online: I set up a special area on the course site called "Student Successes." Each week, I try to post there a couple of examples of really good student work--a draft, a freewrite, whatever--along with a few comments explaining what I liked about the piece. (I always email students for permission before I post their work.)

I hope you'll keep us updated on your thoughts and progress!

Another Damned Medievalist

I've got a bunch of stuff -- guidelines and rubrics, if you're interested. E-mail me and I'll send 'em!


oh, goodies! thank you so much, kind folks.

I like these ideas very much.


I really like Deb's third suggestion! That's a GREAT way to show students' successes!

I also want to stress that the record sheet isn't my idea at all. I did a couple years in an MA program where I took some seriously good pedagogy courses, and learned it there.

ADM - Any way we could talk you into posting some guidelines and rubrics, please?

Dr. Free-Ride

Some of the things that have worked for me in launching/facilitating online discussions:

1. For at least some of the discussions, break the class into smaller groups (around 5 per group) -- easier that way for the students to feel like they have a little time to think (rather than having to post immediately before all the "good points" have been made). Also, it lets them get to know each other a bit more.

2. Encourage them to use the discussions to identify things (like parts of the reading) that DON'T make sense to them. This helps them to spell out the problem they're grappling with, to help each other out ("maybe that paragraph was supposed to mean ..."), to evaluate whether the interpretations proposed by their classmates solve the problem, etc. In other words, they shouldn't think of discussions as being like an oral exam where they are supposed to demonstrate that they understood everything the first time, but rather as a PROCESS for engaging the material and coming to understanding.

3. When I poke my virtual head in, I almost always start by quoting part of a student's post, to try to show how it gets at a reasonable intuition, or a good unresolved question, etc. Then, of course, I try to challenge it enough that the students have to come back to it and figure out what to say next. Over the course of the term, I try to make sure I've tagged every student this way, and I tag the "good" students and the "struggling" students with equal frequency -- so they can see that they're all involved in the same process of engaging the material, and there's no designated endpoint at which I'll let them sit on their laurels.

4. I also have a rubric -- email me if you want to see it.


Thanks, Dr. Free-Ride. I'll be in touch by email.

Next question: How much do you "lecture"? Do you present an introduction to each unit? Set out some major points? Or leave it up to the readings and questions to start the discussion going? I'm concerned this week since the silence has been resounding, esp unsettling after last week's multi-thread discussions that went on pretty much without me. (I guess last week I had set up more -- 5 -- different places and issues to respond to, while this week it's just a whole chapter with some questions). hmmmm. any thoughts?


That's a REALLY tough one. I've never taught a class fully on line, so I can't begin to imagine how I'd handle it. Good luck, though, and keep us updated, please :)

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