The process of getting this course underway last week got me thinking about how I normally start off a new class. I realised that I am normally quite prescriptive and structured. The relatively free-and-easy approach here in FOC08 was quite refreshing.
Some of the items on my checklist for starting a class include:
- Post my Introduction (on the LMS)
- Invite participants to post their introduction
- Welcome each student as they arrive and pick up on something in their intro that resonates with me
- Encourage participants to draw out these introductions by exchanging follow-up posts with each other
- Post details of deliverables and deadlines
- Encourage students to only start new threads if they want to discuss something new
- Start a discussion about how we are going to use the discussion board
- From this discussion, formulate a set of discussion guidelines
- Start discussions!
As I read down through this list I realise that Leigh showed us most of these steps during Week 1. But he made it look very effortless and light - a real skill IMHO.
I would love to hear how others approach this 'First Week' challenge.
Do you think that rigid structures inhibit participation?