Day 33 What’s on the Schedule?

Planning Online

In our College of DuPage Communications subdivision we have a group of Committee Chairs including Teaching with Technology, Literature, Creative Writing, Film, Composition Steering, Academic ESL, Developmental Writing and Reading and Professional Communication. We work closely with our committee members and Associate Dean to share committee goals. The Committee Chair position is a 2-year rotating voluntary appointment. Each chair has a myriad of responsibilities including writing budget proposals, suggesting in-service meeting topics, overseeing curriculum development, leadership in faculty meetings, participating in adjunct faculty support sessions, and forwarding course scheduling recommendations for upcoming semesters.

Course scheduling for online sections involves looking at our current semester calendar, student enrollment trends, considering the launch of newly developed online courses and reviewing  the “roll over” schedule from previous semesters.  Are there too many 16-week course sections in English 1101?  Should we increase 8-week sessions in English 1102?  Do students prefer enrolling in the first 8-week session of English 1101 and continuing onto the second 8-week session of English 1102?  Why do students typically register late for English 0492 and English 0482 online?  Should we suggest scheduling additional hybrid courses?

In growing additional online course offerings, we need to look at our current schedule and identify student preferences.  For example, many of my students prefer the late start 12- week online format.  Anecdotally students have told me that late start classes give them time to “breathe” between semesters and adjust their work and personal schedules accordingly.  They like the pacing of a 12-week semester — it keeps them on task with weekly due dates and required assignments.  However, student feedback in my 16-week online courses is the opposite.  Students tell me, “It’s too long.  I got a new job in the middle of the semester and had to quit school.  It was too much.”  “I had to move and lost my home Wi-Fi for awhile until I could get everything up and running.  I got off track.”  A 16-week online semester seems ripe for  “life gets in the way of school” situations that prohibit students from finishing the course.  Consequently our Teaching with Technology Committee has recommended offering shorter online courses such as 5-week, 8-week or 12-week options.

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