Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Permission for Hybrid BIO 137

I will be teaching a BIO 137 class in the fall that is a "hybrid" format course.  The lab will be held face-to-face, but the lecture material will all be completed online.  For students to be successful in this class, they will need frequent, and often lengthy, access to the internet, and the ability to learn independently and be self-motivated.  For this reason, the course is available for registration by instructor permission only.

Students who are interested in registering for the class will need to make an appointment to meet with me.  At that meeting I will determine permission for you to register for the class.

What sorts of things do I base the permission on?  Firstly, I would prefer students who have a high GPA register for the class.  This demonstrates that a student knows how to study and what it takes to be successful in college courses.  I will not give permission to students who are in their first semester of college.  I will not give permission to students who are on academic probation - this class will likely NOT help you bring your GPA up.

I am looking for evidence that a student understands how to be successful in college courses.  This means a history of ... being successful in college courses.  If I see that a student has struggled in the past, I can't imagine that an online lecture - where even more of the responsibility is on the student to work through the material on their own - is right for them.

I will also ask the student what other courses they are planning to take concurrently (at the same time as this course) and what their study habits and techniques usually are.  I'll likely ask if you already know your learning style, since that is an extra credit assignment I will offer for the class and I'm curious if students are already aware of how they learn.

Overall, my aim is to get a general sense of how prepared the student is for the rigors of learning A&P online.  Why am I doing that?  A&P is a difficult course in a normal format for many students.  With the additional difficulty of an online lecture, I want to try to choose the students that will be most successful in this type of class format.  I don't want someone to take the hybrid course just because it fits in their schedule better, and not be aware of how this course will be different.  Since students only have a limited opportunity to complete the course, I want students to be set up for the best opportunity possible.

If a student has taken A&P I before and not passed - received an E, a D, or a W, I will likely not give them permission to take the hybrid class.  If a student wasn't able to learn the material in a structured lecture setting - with the instructor right in front of them - then it doesn't make sense that they would be more successful with the lecture material entirely online.

The good thing is, I am also teaching a section of the course that meets entirely face-to-face, and only uses Blackboard for course documents and supplemental materials.  Any students who decide after our meeting that the online lecture is not for them - or students that I determine I don't want to give permission for - can still register for a "regular" section of the course. (Make sure you search for the classes at the Tech Campus, since that's where the class will be meeting.)


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