There are two things to work on this week: First, a series of activities that will introduce you (the students) to online learning, including recommended practices to help you succeed. Some of these activities will be (lightly) graded. Please do these activities by Wednesday night. Second, we will continue to work on our discussion board on court cases and news stories dealing with restrictions of individual liberties imposed by governments in response to national emergencies. Please try to complete this work by Friday. You can find all information on these activities on Canvas under “Modules.”
I’ve updated the syllabus and posted in on Canvas. On the Canvas course front page, you’ll also find updated information about student hours and how to get in touch with me.
I am here to help you and am committed to making this semester work out for you! Please do contact me if you run into anything that may interfere with your participation or your success in this class. Or for any other reason—or no reason at all.
In the video, I announce a number of things: The fact that the JMU Counseling Center is still open (I suspect that more students than usual will need their services; https://www.jmu.edu/counselingctr/); the class goals for the reminder of the semester; a virtual clubhouse on Canvas—a discussion board where we can talk about all kinds of things that are relevant or just interesting (or just irrelevant but funny); and an activity that we’ll be working on until Friday in a week. Take a look at the updates on the Canvas front page and the Modules! More to come!
Thanks for your survey responses! 24 out of 29 participants responded, which is a pretty good response rate, as surveys go. If you did not respond, you can still do so (check your email for the link!). You can also email me or talk to me during my online student hours. Please make sure I know if it is difficult for you to connect to Canvas, etc. I want to make sure that everybody can fully participate!
The good news is that all respondents had access to a laptop and wifi or wired internet. This means we should be able to use Canvas to communicate and some streaming media. Please let me know if you find that your connection doesn’t have the band-width for any materials that I post!
Not everybody has a camera and microphone, and several people noted that they had little experience using video conferencing tools. On the other hand, everybody seemed to like (or be fine with) discussion boards. Many said they would prefer to communicate with me via email, and a number preferred Canvas discussion boards, text messages, and Canvas messages. To me, this means that I should use mostly discussion boards for interactive work and go light on WebEx and the like. Let’s do this. I’ll also continue using email and Canvas announcements to keep you informed about the course.
One person suggested GroupMe. That’s something a colleague suggested to me as well. I don’t think, though, that we should introduce many new tools, since everybody is already super busy. But if a bunch of you would like to use GroupMe, please let me know and I’ll set something up.
If we are using discussion boards a lot over the next couple of weeks, you may want to upload a recent picture to your Canvas account, to make the interaction a bit more personal.
Hang in there! Scary and exciting times, but we’re in this together and will support each other!
Make sure to check your email with a short survey and more information on how to contact me during student hours. Please take the survey until Tuesday evening. If that’s not possible, please drop me a quick note. Thanks!