(Please note: No zombies were harmed intentionally for this blog!)
My Experiences Transitioning to Online Teaching
Sandra Campos, Professor Emerita – Bristol Community College
My experience in transitioning from teaching a traditional college course to a hybrid online course was quite challenging. As a full-time faculty member at Bristol for over twenty-eight years, I developed and taught a number of traditional courses in the Clinical Laboratory Science program. Teaching involved the typical lecture format with classes scheduled two to three days a week on campus. When WebCT was introduced at the college, I was one of the first group of faculty to include it as a course supplement.
I was retired for several years when I had the opportunity to attend several events at the college. I had the opportunity to interact with many of my colleagues and it made me realize how much I missed teaching. So, when I was asked in November if I was interested in developing and teaching a hybrid online course, I eagerly accepted. I had about two months to develop the course as well as course materials for the spring of 2015. Introduction to Healthcare was a required three-credit course which needed to provide a foundation for subsequent clinical courses and eventual employment in a health care setting.
So, I began my journey with much enthusiasm. I was given with the name of the course, the course description, the name of the textbook and the name of my instructional designer. Initially, most of my frustration involved getting reintroduced into the college system. I was amazed at how much had changed in seven years. There was Access BCC, Office 365, One Drive, a new email system as well as many new policies, services and employees. I am thankful for the patience of the BCC staff who walked me through the processes.
My next step was to develop the syllabus using the course description, course objectives, the text and corresponding workbook. I had experience developing a number of new courses in the CLS program so within a few days I had the traditional syllabus tentatively completed. There were specific requests for course topics by the Director of the EKG Program which were included in what I thought was the final version of the syllabus.
My first meeting with Ceit DeVitto, the instructor designer assigned to help me in the development of the hybrid course was in mid-November. I was feeling pretty good as I presented her with my syllabus. I thought I had completed the most challenging part of the course. It was then I was introduced to blackboard eLearning. Ceit talked about the program features and how the course should include face to face class meetings and online interactive discussions and written assignments. My first task was to write a welcome post which needed to include my personal information. The syllabus had to be modified to include the on-line netiquette and grading policies, weekly overviews and assignments including due dates. When I left the meeting I was over whelmed and thought to myself, “What the heck did I agree too?”
Ceit and I met seven times prior to the beginning of the course in January. I was very thankful she had so much patience. During our second meeting, we were discussing the first week’s assignment and ways to make the student feel more comfortable interacting in the hybrid format.
I continued to develop the on-line course, meeting with Ceit throughout the semester. Immediate problems were handled through telephone calls to Ceit and the Cite Lab staff. I did enjoy the few times when I asked Ceit a question and she did not immediately know the answer. Completing the weekly overviews and adding them to the syllabus and into the on-line course was a satisfying accomplishment.
Working in the on-line course has become so much easier. At first, I was hesitant to use the faculty tools within the course and I would constantly ask for help. Now I will try things and only when I have a problem, do I ask for help. The blackboard YouTube videos are extremely helpful. I have taught the hybrid course twice and will teach it again in the fall semester. This semester I taught a three-credit course, Personal and Community Health which is completely on-line. I do prefer the hybrid format with the every other week class meetings because I like meeting the students. I am very happy that I accepted this challenge and really enjoy teaching the on-line courses.