What I have learned in this last course is that course design is very important for social, cognitive, and teaching presence, but not much can be done to change it once the course is online, so I need to reflect on how to maximize these through the techniques of facilitation and direct instruction. I have noted these techniques and will refer to them regularly. Overall, I think being present, available, responsive to student emails, posts, and assignments in a timely manner will be a great way to build that connection, always looking for ways to draw the students in and keep their momentum going. One struggle I had in this course was the lack of feedback. I know how this made me feel, so it would be important that my students do not feel this way.
The role of social presence was not something that I valued adequately before taking these three courses. The courses have really allowed me to re-evaluate my thoughts on that topic and consider ways to mobilize social presence in order to maximize students’ learning.
Concerning the WordPress platform, I cannot say I had any real interaction with others there. I commented on some posts. No one commented on any of mine. Reading other students’ posts helped me to learn by allowing me to consider different perspectives. But overall, I did not find the blogging to be very useful to my learning. My technology skill level is probably about average at best and I can usually muddle my way through what I need to do, but my self-efficacy took a hit in these courses because I found that I struggled more with the technology than with the course materials.
Moving forward, the ideas I will implement include the use of the intro video. The one I prepared for this course will be suitable for Crim 4121 and I can now create a different one for Crim 3321. I also liked the idea from my interviewee about creating templates for common student contacts and feedback. It makes sense that if each contact is less onerous, then it becomes easier to keep in touch and give good feedback on a regular basis, thus promoting a sense of community and engagement. And, over time, developing a list of FAQs sounds like a good practice as well. Having this idea in mind, I will track what those questions are and also contact other OLFMs to get their insights on FAQs.