Online is fine, but expect to be busy
I have taught 4110e three times along with approximately 50 sections of the classroom version of this course. Based on experience (and I have a lot :), I am convinced that most students learn as much online as they would in the classroom. Many online students take our Capstone course after this one, and always seem to have a skill set comparable to their classmates.
So congratulations! You are entering into a learning experience that can be every bit as valuable as our 4-month-long, three day a week, classroom version of 4110, but it only lasts 4 weeks and you don't have to go to class!
The flip side, of course, is that we will cover a LOT of material very quickly over the next four weeks, and YOU will have to invest a lot of time each week in order to keep up. The good news is that I have also taught this course in both the 3 week Maymester format and the 4 week short session you are now entering and everything went well. In fact, I believe that it can be easier to learn this material by working intensively over a short period instead of sporadically over a much longer period.
But all of us will have to spend a lot of time in June to make this course a success. Here is how it is going to work.
The assignments for this course are broken into 8 bi-weekly 'modules' which are listed on ELC.
- Each bi-weekly module contains a group of workbook lessons to be completed and uploaded to your website by the end of the module’s time period.
- Most modules also include an assigned series of short exercises from freecodecamp.org (FCC) that also should be completed by the end of the module’s time period.
- Example: Module 1 runs from June 5 through June 8. On June 9, I will visit your website to make sure that all assignments are posted and will grade accordingly.
- Each module’s lessons and FCC exercises count for 3 points. The exception is module 8 which is dedicated to the final project.
Get ahead if you want to but don't fall behind
Some of you may feel the urge to race through all of the lessons. That is absolutely fine and I, along with our teaching assistant, will be available to help no matter what you are working on. If you fall behind, however, you are in trouble, because there is simply too much to learn. So don't do it!
Get Slack and ask for help if you need it
In this class we will all use Slack, a collaboration app which will allow you to ask and answer questions, upload files for us to inspect, etc. Each of you is required to sign up for the Slack workspace for this class and to post to the workspace at least twice, but I encourage to use Slack as frequently as you feel the need. We at the NMI have been using Slack for a few years and it is very effective tool for remote communication. It is easy to use and a great way to communicate with me, your teaching assistant, and your classmates.
Don't be shy. After all, we can't see you (on Slack anyway).
I really hope that this class will develop into an active online community this semester. There aren't that many of you and your teaching assistant and I plan to be available a LOT. Also, if someone posts a question that you know the answer to, don't be shy about answering. I LOVE students who help other students.
Zoom will be used sparingly
I am sure that most of you have used Zoom by now. I plan to hold a couple of Zoom sessions to give you an opportunity to meet your instructor(s) and classmates. Those sessions will be announced in advance and will also be voluntary. If you feel that you would benefit from a one on one Zoom session for some reason, just let us know and we will schedule one.
Have fun and relax. We've got your back.