This quarter, I’m teaching an entirely online Introduction to Fiction class: and, since it’s still early in the term, there are still 43 students in a class where I require weekly discussion postings. And, since I’m at a teaching institution, I also have three “live” and smaller composition classes (more on those another day).
One immediate result of my spring schedule is that my bloggy presence will be seriously curtailed: spending hours each day prepping “lectures” and facilitating “discussions” leaves little time for playing in the blogosphere.
For the most part, I do enjoy the one entirely online class (as opposed to my hybrid classes) I’ve volunteered to teach: of all the literature classes I teach, this is the one that I thought could be done successfully online because it is a traditional introduction to the elements of fiction and literary analysis, and we could focus on the short story and novella. There are several textbooks that provide the bulk of the information on plot, character, etc., and as a result, I can spend most of my time creating lectures on the stories themselves, and participating in the discussion board (once students have posted).
But the first few weeks of the term are shaky, as students struggle to figure out whether they can actually learn in the online format and whether they can keep up with the reading (since they must read everything–no gleaning plot points from class discussion) and writing.
I must share one posting in the FAQ Discussion Folder from this week:
|Hi, Does all reading have to be so critical in thinking, reading and re-seeing? Can’t reading be fun as well. In order for me to read I first must be able to have fun and enjoy it. And is interpreting in the eyes of the reading and everyone can see things differently?|
Now I, naturally, think the readings I’ve chosen are fun (and thankfully many other postings confirm that).
So, what would you say to a student who was hoping for a book club experience rather than a literature class?