Online Faculty Fellow Eric M. Wilson is currently teaching 662S Business Journalism online at the Elliott School of Communication. The course is an upper-division, writing-based, immersive introduction to business media and reporting on company/industry structure, finances and regulation. Mr. Wilson recently presented, “Using Quality Matters to teach your first online class”, as part of the Online Faculty Fellows Workshop Series.
Mr. Wilson is a rookie online instructor who has survived his first 6 weeks of online teaching. He describes the planning, designing and delivering of an online course as initially, “intimidating” but ultimately, “exhilarating”. He explained that his journey to online instruction began with students “begging” him to use Blackboard’s GradeCenter in face-to-face classes. Even after he decided to teach a course fully online, he “ironically” designed the plan on paper. He credits Dr. Jennifer Tiernan, a veteran Online Faculty fellow, for guiding him from paper to virtual instruction. “She is conveniently located in the office next to mine. When I have a question about my course, my strategy is to listen for her footsteps in the hallway.” In addition to finding a mentor, Mr. Wilson’s rookie survival techniques include the utilization of QM Standards and over-communicating with students.
“Everything you do in a course should have a purpose according to QM”, says Mr. Wilson, who also thinks the QM Peer Review process, “offers new perspectives and facilitates standardization/scalability”. His presentation on Feb. 24, 2015 included summaries of the eight QM Rubric Standards (access his presentation here: WilsonOLFF2.24.15).
Mr. Wilson’s prescription for “over-communicating” with students includes frequent, repetitive and varied delivery methods. He sends weekly agenda emails and responded to each student’s introduction discussion post. He emphasized the need to repetitively remind students that all assignments are due “Tuesday by 11:59p”. But he also advises online instructors bring their personality and humor into the virtual classroom to promote connection and interaction with students. This method has been successful so far, as one of his students recently praised his Panopto lectures for creating a greater connection with course material.
Additional future plans for Mr. Wilson include teaching more online courses, incorporating social media into his instruction and designing with the goal of long-term “shelf-life”, so that his online courses need only minor revisions each time they are taught. He also hopes to receive his certificate for the QM Peer Reviewer Course this summer. He welcomes your questions, suggestions and conversations about online teaching. Feel free to reach him online at email@example.com or by phone at 978-6059.