I didn't reply to the entire list, because I'm not sure how

my techniques will work since this is the first semester that I'm

teaching online.

 

But, here's what I plan to do.

 

1) I setup the course so that 25% of their grade consists

    of postings to the "Discussion" list on WebCT.  I have

    very clear parameters on how often and how long their postings

    need to be.  A total of 3 weekly postings, at least 1 original

    and 2 replies to other postings, on 3 different days of the week.

    In other words, they can't post all 3 postings on one day.

    IF the postings are late, or not done at all, they won't get

    credit for them (unless they have a doctor's note, funeral,

    etc...that they can document).   If the postings don't follow

    the guidelines, they'll only get partial credit.  They must be

    3 paragraphs long, 3 sentences per paragraph, or a total of at least

    9 sentences per posting.  No longer than 15 sentences.  I also choose

    the topic for the week, and list it on the calendar and in an e-mail

    message to the class.  Later in the semester, I'm going to ask the

    students to choose a topic for the week, and use their suggestions.

 

    This is the same

    technique and procedures I use in when the course meets face to face,

    except that I use their attendance and participation as 25% of their

    grade.  Of course, in the College of Prof. Studies we have an

    attendance policy, if they miss more than 3 classes, we can withdraw

    them from the course.  I make it very clear the first day of class

    that I intend to follow this policy to the letter, and I do.

 

2) Secondly, I have a clear timeframe for assignments which I also employ.

    Assignments are given weekly, and due by midnite of the Sunday of that

    week.   Again, late assignments won't count, so they would get a zero

    for that grade.  Since assignments count as 50% of their grade, I urge

    them to get them in on time.   In rare instances, I have given some

    slack in this area: health problems or family problems which prevented

    them from doing the assignments or getting them in on time.

 

3) Thirdly, I encourage them to e-mail me, or each other, for help or

    with questions.

 

This is only the second week of classes, but the Discussion list is

working out great so far.  Most are posting beyond their 3 required

postings, and really carrying on meaningful conversations.  I post the

discussion topic for the week on the calendar and in an e-mail sent to

the entire class. For those who have not contributed yet, I have

allowed a one week extension due to the new nature of this format for

some, and to get those who are just ignoring it to get motivated. 

However, I plan to send out an e-mail tomorrow or monday, stating that

after a certain cutoff date, their grade will suffer severely.  No

extra credit allowed.

 

Also, twice a week, I have an hour and a half "live classroom e-mail"

session. Basically, on two nites a week, I sit at my computer, and this

is time that they can e-mail me with questions or issues, and get an

instant reply. It's different than  a chat room because I don't have to

sit there the entire

90 minutes, but instead work on other things and check my e-mail every 10

minutes or so.  So far, this is working fine.  It's not a requirement, and

only about 25% have taken advantage of this arrangement, but those who have

are really appreciative of having my undivided attention at these two

sessions twice a week.