Week Six Reflection from Dena

Let me say that I really appreciate the Stay on Task checklist. It is great to look at one area and make sure I’ve gotten everything done. However, I’m a bit confused when some of the items don’t seem to match what we have in our weekly materials links or the grades area. I think this is the downfall of Blackboard, because it can be so confusing at times. I don’t think I’m alone in this because my group members seem to have a hard time locating things too. I think the hard part of it is that there seems to be assignments and guidance within areas that are not meant to contain assignments so the information gets lost when I try to log in and see what I need to accomplish. I might not have remembered that there was something written in the lecture that gave me instruction or clarification on a weekly task.

It is interesting that we are focused on creating community and online communication in this course, and I seem to be having a hard time communicating or understanding. Maybe it’s just me.

Perhaps I’m just reacting poorly to the topic this week, where we focus on and examine our institution.  I have written of my struggles with my institution in many prior classes, and I feel like a broken record. I just received tenure at my institution last Spring. When I was hired I had an impression that my college greatly supported distance learning and I was excited to be a part of that. The first year of my job was like a dream to me because our whole program was online – we ONLY taught online classes, and most of the faculty in my department had a negative attitude about it (students don’t complete the course, if they do, it is only like 5 of 25 registered, etc.). They GLADLY threw their courses at me to teach… and teach I did. I redesigned everything, put into practice what I liked as a prior online student and began to teach. Wow! Amazing! I didn’t have the negative experiences that they did. In face, I greatly enjoyed it! Sadly, within two years, everyone wanted to teach their courses again, which left me (the new guy) with little opportunity to teach. On top of this I realized that the real truth is that our college’s distance learning initiative is not supported by the majority of our full time faculty and although our administration supports it, they are not willing to prioritize it financially. I developed a close working relationship with our DL director and got to see the daily struggle he has in trying to advance our DL program at our college.

When I read of other classmates’ positive experiences I get envious that I am not working in that type of institution because I am extremely passionate about the online learning experience from the student perspective. I would love to work in an environment that fully supports online learning and wants to move their institution into the future.

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