One of my biggest fears teaching online is feeling out of touch with my students. Specifically, I worry about not noticing or understanding their needs. In a face-to-face classroom, it’s easy for me to notice a struggling student, or for a student to approach me after class about their needs in my classroom. In an online environment, it is much more difficult for instructors to see the hurdles individual students must overcome to be successful in their class. A major question the Instructional Design team at Wichita State is trying to answer is how can we guarantee students are aware of services here at WSU?
The team is developing an official student manual that all WSU online instructors can load into their own Blackboard courses. It began as a side project for a developing History class, but as the manual began to grow, we began to realize how important this information was for all online students. The manual includes information on various student services, their contact information, and links to their homepages. Currently, the list includes:
- University Policies: Inclusive Excellence, Academic Integrity, Class Cancellation, Copyright Notice, and Intellectual Property
- Technology Support: General Blackboard Information and Blackboard Help
- The OneStop
- Academic/Student Support: Student Support Services, the Office of Student Success, Library Services, and a link to the Librarian’s information for the individual class.
- Available Services: Disability Services, Counseling & Testing, Student Health Services, the Heskett Center and Campus Recreation, and the Alumni Association.
- Online Orientation Link
- Link to Wichita State Student Policies and Procedures
Our hope is that this manual will help improve the services parity between online and face-to-face classes. We here at IDT want all online students to feel that they belong to the Wichita State community, and one way we can improve community for online students is giving them quick access to the services available here on campus.
So now I have a question for you! Is there a service we’re missing? Is there something that every Wichita State student should know and have access to—even if they are thousands of miles away?