Julia Fischer is an educator turned content developer for Clarity. As a classroom teacher Julia used innovative teaching methods and materials with her middle school students. Julia discovered online learning and took courses which led to facilitating online courses as well as writing content for these courses in multiple platforms. She transitioned to a district level position where she planned, facilitated and supported professional staff development. Read more...
Assignment CommunicationsJulia Fischer | September 12, 2011
In January I shared Updating Assignments for a New Year with you. I shared my process how I reflect on the previous semester and how I make changes in my assignments and course structure for the new semesters. After the spring semester the area where students were looking for additional help and support was around managing time and keeping track of assignment due dates.
All of the due dates for the assignments are in the course syllabus, they are in each assignment and I have created a course calendar that they can download and sync to their calendaring program. One would think that these are enough reminders but for some students this is just not enough. They don’t have that scheduled “time “ of going to class and therefore some students have issues keeping track and managing when online course work is due. I started reviewing how I was communicating and sharing this information with my students. I made the connection that most of the ways I am reaching out and connecting with students is through the course, an online calendar or email. Students only see reminders and messages if they are online, unless of course they have a smart phone. I started thinking that I needed to find another way to reach out and give them reminders.
I was fortunate to have a friend share a resource – Remind101 - http://remind101.com/ a free, fast and easy to use web-based program that allows a teacher to text message their students. So no more excuses – now I am going to reach them on their mobile devices and send reminders via text messaging. What I loved the most about this site is how easy it was to use. Within seconds I created my free account and then I was able to set up my first class. The site provides a PDF of directions for me to share with the students on how to subscribe. Another benefit is that I can go online and pre-enter all my text messages; along with the date and time I would like them to be delivered. As my students are subscribing to my updates they choose to receive the message via text or via email. Of course if they are selecting email and don’t have a smart phone then this defeats the purpose – so I am really emphasizing the use the their mobile device and text messaging. Hopefully this will be that added communication tool/reminder that some students were looking for so they can keep track of their assignments and get the work done on time.
Comment and share any suggestions you have for tools that can help online learners.