Video Transcript – Boise State University Faculty Success Story with Teaching Online – Clyde Moneyhun
[Clyde Moneyhun, Professor, English Department]: Online teaching came has been here with us for, what about 20 years or more. In the beginning it was pretty primitive. It was just a website – it got in the way of your pedagogy, it got in the way of your teaching. But things have changed. I kept hearing these rumblings of “It’s more and more popular” and I just took the plunge. In fact, I signed myself up for a course. I did it, and you learn a lot. I didn’t know at that point, then you get a mentor. I didn’t know that somebody will sit there and hold your hand while you developed the website. As a result of all that hand-holding and training I got, I felt happy and secure. Now I’m using Blackboard a lot in my face-to-face classes. Everything now goes on Blackboard to have everything completely accessible 24/7. But your most important function as a teacher is feedback. Giving feedback. And when you’re doing a face-to-face classes it feels like something kind of on the side, but with an online class after creating the class and all that, you’ve only got one function left and that’s feedback and you’re just free. It frees you from every other thing, it clarifies, and I think my feedback has gotten better as a result. I give them quick comments but I’m much more back seat than I would be in a face-to-face class and that’s good. That’s better, that’s better than face-to-face class.
But anybody who’s skeptical about online teaching, you’ll hear a certain number of criticisms and one of them is “I’ll lose the personal connection to the students. How can you recreate that in an online course?” The answer turned out to be you can’t. You don’t recreate that, you use the tools at your disposal. The Blackboard interface compels the students to interact with each other in writing on the discussion board. My students now write much, much more than they do in a face-to-face class. They interact more, they give each other more feedback. When you teach a face-to-face class there are the five kids in class who do all the talking, the five kids who never say a word, and the rest of us like me and in-between. In an online class, everybody talks about the same amount so it evens the playing field. The shy students, for example, who are just like “I don’t speak in class.” – they’re completely present. My first assignment of every online class I teach is the first discussion board post. You post a personal like a little bio with a picture and they instantly catch on to it. Then you use all the other tools to keep reminding them there’s a human being out here reading everything you write – I’m taking you seriously. The personal connection – the creation of kind of community among them – which is important and when you’re part of the community too you don’t need to be physically present to do that. This connection can be just as real as the face-to-face connection. Since I started teaching online using all the tools I was taught to use to make the personal connection, the reaction by the students has been “Oh no, I feel very connected to the teacher and to my classmates.”