Working for the weekend. Students lead busy lives. Most students I have met at College of DuPage work multiple jobs. They are car-campus-car students. They park their car, come to campus and leave right after their classes have ended, back to their car and off to work. But online students often don’t engage in a traditional commute. Instead, they elect to enroll in online courses and can click on and off our virtual campus anytime.
Being present in an online course is critical. However, screen fatigue is also a reality. I can often lose myself in online instruction and the clock grows wings. Have I really been staring at the screen for three hours? Did I miss lunch? Am I checking my phone again to see if students have posted their assignments? It’s a balance of time and energy. Teaching online should have parameters, but often the lines are blurred. Unlike a traditional face-to-face class where students are physically present and leave the room, an online or virtual classroom is always open.
I offer to look at multiple assignment drafts in order to fully participate and model the writing process with students. This can double or triple my workload, but I do enjoy reading, commenting and moving forward with students as their ideas develop. Brainstorming, drafting and revising are my mantra. But sometimes students think I have robotic superpowers and can produce suggested revisions in a nanosecond due to the “instant gratification” of being online. We are living in a generation of texting, pinging, and swiping. We move fast and this speed often transfers to online instruction.
This is a recent example of a requested immediate response from one of my online students. She had sent me 4 previous drafts which I looked at and commented upon, but the due date was looming and she was seeking additional assistance: “Here is my final draft. If you are checking up my email before 5 because I know that’s the due date time and around 4:30, please send me an email so I can correct my essay really fast and re-send you my final draft. Thank you. I would like to get 100% on this so please. Can you do it now? Thank you so much.” The product versus product approach is spotlighted in a unique way in online instruction.