By Devon Haynie
March 3, 2015 | 10:00 a.m. EST
raditional brick-and-mortar education was not a fit for 27-year-old Tyler Harris. He tried attending classes at a few colleges in his native Utah, but didn’t find the courses challenging.
“I would go and get bored,” he says. “I felt like I was wasting my time.”
Then Harris discovered the competency-based program at Western Governors University, which allowed him to move through online courses at his own pace. He enrolled in July 2014 and aims to earn his bachelor’s degree in information technology in only 18 months.
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Just went through a fantastic session on online student orientations. Can’t wait to try some of this things. Sort simple and to the point. I think I fan even get buy in.
As the kick off to the new semester is starting to slow down I am reflecting on how things went. It occurred to me that, for the first time in 12 years here at the college, I was asked to present on our learning management system to new students taking our “Becoming A Successful Student” course. I put together a sample course with generic course material, made sure to cover all of the topics the faculty member had asked me to present on.
It was only when the faculty teaching the course (a new faculty himself) started generalizing the contents and lay out of his course to other courses, that I had to correct him. I explained to him and his students that instructors are free to not use the system and if they do they are free to use it any way they wish.
I wish more than anything the VP of Ed Affairs, the deans and the faculty could have seen the conversation that took place after that. I spent the next 20 minutes pulling up examples of other instructor’s courses. The idea was to demonstrate to the students the typical features used by most our faculty. Each using a different way of organizing their course material and the unlimited number of menu buttons. I could see the student’s eyes glazing over as they realized, even from course to course finding grades and the syllabus could vary.
Can someone just say, these are the things that ALL faculty must do with their LMS course shell AND they must do it this way. We cannot expect our student to be learning the course content if they are spending the first week trying to figure out how the content is organized.