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Emphasizing Time on Task

This version was saved 15 years ago View current version     Page history
Saved by Anne McKinney
on May 8, 2009 at 3:20:59 pm



Student Time Commitment

It's important for students to know how much time you expect them to commit to your course. The idea of online education can sometimes give students a false sense of security over what they assume to be an "easy A" because they don't have to schedule time to attend classes. In actuality, online courses typically require just as much - if not more - time commitment than f2f courses.


Instructors need to communicate their expectations for the amount of time students should put into their work as part of the explanation of course policies and procedures. Checking Announcements, reading discussion messages in addition to assigned texts, and writing their own discussion messages require that students log in to the course website and commit time to keeping up with the course on an everyday basis.


Emphasizing Deadlines

You can help students keep track of the time they should be spending on their work by adding deadlines throughout the semester for major projects and events. If your CMS includes a calendar function, you can insert dates for deadlines and reminders of upcoming deadlines. You can also use your Announcements section to post reminders for students to see when they first log in to the course, or send messages through email. Giving your students reminders about deadlines or upcoming events in the course helps them stay organized and focused on the work they need to be doing.


This is not to imply that online students aren't capable of maintaining their own schedules for a college-level course. With all the extra time that they will be spending on day-to-day discussion and course activities, it's sometimes easy to lose track of the amount of time they still have remaining before a larger-scale project or paper is due. Giving your students these reminders will build upon the deadlines you've already given them in the course schedule or syllabus. Reminders will also help maintain the line of communication between you and the students, so they get the added "reminder" of your presence in the course as the instructor.


Summaries or checklists at the end of modules or assignments can also help your students ensure they have completed their work according to your instructions. The text box below is an example of a checklist you could put at the end of a module:


Have I completed Module 3?

To be sure you have completed all the assignments for Module 3 and are ready to move on to Module 4, please check that you have accomplished all of the following:


1. Read Bonk & Zhang Chapter 5

2. Posted at least one original message and two responses to the Reflections and Observations forum

3. Completed and turned in the Internet Scavenger Hunt assignment


Have you completed all three of these? Great! You are ready to begin Module 4.




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