I piloted EDU221 Online for fall 2012. All EDU courses mandate a Field Experience (FE) where students spend the required number of hours (for this class it is 30) in a K-12 classroom. This is a tedious process with multiple steps, including the acquisition of a Fingerprint Clearance Card, which is an additional cost. As a result, it is not uncommon for a student to drop a class, receive an incomplete (until they finish their FE the subsequent semester), or, worse yet, fail the class due to incompletion of the FE. For all of my previous classes, there has always been at least one student (sometimes more) that did not complete the FE in the required time. As this online course was being developed, I expressed my concern to Dr. Polly Miller who advised the use of a check list so I could keep track of students' progress. I created a check list matrix (see attached) that students must submit as an assignment weeks 3, 6, 9, and 12. Results? This semester was the first-ever EDU class of mine where every student completed their FE in a timely fashion! Of course, I am now including the check list in all of my courses! Yay to checklists!
So simple, yet very effective... :) I like it!
This kind of stuff does make me nervous though. Was this an assignment for points? A large part of being a teacher is all about time management and organization. Are we hand-holding too much? I have the same worries about my BIO students who are self-proclaimed pre-med or pre-nursing. At some point they need to take responsibility and get organized. How much hand-holding is enough, how much is too much and when is hand-holding appropriate? (rhetorical questions, of course :) )
This is a great strategy for any project or assignment. It would be especially great in a dev. ed. classroom.