Haven’t been able to contribute much as of late due to too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Did manage to follow some of the discussion on Twitter and listened to last nights presentation. My reflection here will deal with a thread that passes through all the topics of the past 5 weeks. What about the students?
Quick recap, I’m with Unisa, a dedicated ODL institution where we have no face-to-face sessions with our students. Between the two first year IT courses I present I have approximately 1000 students per semester, which I deal with on my own.
I’m in a situation where I provide as many “open” resources to my students as I can lay my hands on, all provided in context at the time they may require it. I communicate with them on a weekly basis via sms, e-mail, forum and blog posts and I’ll be throwing in a webinar to discuss their upcoming exam (thanks to the Change 11 Mooc). But, and this is where my question comes in, what to do if the students are not responding?
“You can take a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink”. It feels like I’m forcing the horses head into the water and still it refuses to drink. Some of the online activities, such as the blog, have been linked to their assessment in an attempt to force them to participate, with very little effect. Very few students actually read the blogs of other students and even less comment on each other’s blogs.
Last night David Wiley spoke about analytics and a suggestion was made that it could be used to determine if a student belongs in a course. Great idea, but how do you go about analyzing students if they just do not participate? Can you, in an ODL context, say the student do not belong in the course just because he/she is totally inactive and not take into consideration that there may be time, money, ICT, access constraints?
My question to the Mooc community: How do I get my students to actively “Consume, connect, create, contribute and commit!” as brainysmurf put so nicely in his blog (http://brainysmurf1234.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/the-5-cs-consume-connect-create-contribute-and-commit/).