Wow, I cannot really explain why it is like to have written this post. Since I started teaching online in 2002, I have not really made changes like this to my classes. Sure, I have tinkered... and the tinkering over 12 years has had very positive results, so the classes are indeed very different from back in 2002. But that does not really compare to the HUGE changes I am implementing this fall. At the same time, I have no doubts about this: these ideas ALL sound so good to me, so the only thing that would stop me is if the students point out that I am a total idiot somehow, ha ha, having failed to notice that __ (fill in the blank). I'm asking the students for their feedback about all these changes (anonymous feedback or back-and-forth in the email) - and I'm SO CURIOUS what kind of responses I will get. One of the most awkward parts of the class is the peer interaction because some students invest a lot in these classes, and other students do the minimum. That's a problem that is hard to get around (and I expect students who want to vent about their peers might want to do that privately to me via email, which is fine!)... but I really think these changes are a "rising tide that floats all boats," i.e. ALL students at ALL levels of commitment, both high and low, will benefit from these changes. At least I hope so.
Really, I am so excited about all of this!!!!! Whoo-hoo!!!!!!
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