he hates that he HAS to participate so much.
And besides, when you only meet ONE hour per week, I would think it should be more lecture/teaching than relying on 'discussion' time.
And to assign so great a value on it, that's rough for many (according to my son, all but 3 who routinely talk, I guess got a low C grade - which is worth far too much!) He also doesn't like the weekly writing summaries - too much writing. He would prefer standard quizzes/tests to drill knowledge. And he is bemoaning his big projects, saying that she only gives about 2-3 weeks' notice of them and has got 3 big assignments all due within 3 days of each other.
Yeah, I'm not big on classes requiring "participation" and counting it as a large part of the semester grade. Makes it very hard for naturally introverted/quieter students.
I assume online courses do it more than in-person classes in order to ensure that students participate, but it makes for an artificiality, I think. I was introverted & quiet in my b&m high school courses, but it didn't impact my grade much, if anything. Teachers would call on me/others who were naturally quieter students and got a sense from that and from our work of how engaged we were in the class. Online instructors don't have the benefit of actually seeing the quiet students, so they have no way of knowing whether the student is engaged or even listening. I'd rather see online instructors call on individual students to keep everyone engaged. It also keeps the class from being monopolized by a handful of students who like to talk, whether or not they have anything significant or valuable to add.
I'm also not a big fan of classes that require x discussion board posts and y responses to other posts. But I don't know of any other way to ensure that all students maintain some minimal level of involvement in an online class.
Regarding lecture vs discussion.... I actually prefer more discussion than lecture in a class like WTMA's history. The text has more than enough lecture type material. And the fact that the students have to read & narrate (write a summary) of each chapter ensures some level of digesting the material. So, assuming students come to class with a given foundation of facts/knowledge, I think an instructor (esp one like Ms Brian who has a deep understanding of the subject) adds the greatest value by guiding a discussion of the material rather than filling the students with more facts/information. But, the value of discussion is completely dependent on the ability of the teacher.
You might want to check the syllabus for the WTMA history class. I know my boys did most of the big essays/projects at the last minute, but I also know that they had a LOT of notice ahead of time. In fact, I think when they took the class 2 years ago, there were intermediate milestones.... submit your topic (four or five weeks ahead of the final due date)... submit a general outline for your paper (a couple weeks later)..... I'm pretty sure the instructor gave good feedback on the outline/direction of the project and also made it clear that students should contact her if they needed any help. (Hope I'm not confusing this with another class...) Things might have changed, though. I hope not because I really liked that aspect of the course.... not just learning content, but also learning time management skills and the step-by-step research paper writing practice!
ETA: I've mentioned this before, but I'll reiterate.... I think this is one of those classes where one gets out of it what one puts into it. Not at all a bad thing... My boys, for example, aren't big on history, so they didn't put as much into it as a history buff student would. They still got a lot, I think, out of it, but definitely not as much as a more interested history student would. They were still able to earn a good grade by doing a certain level of work. (I don't think participation counted as much back then, though.) If they'd been into history, I think Ms. Brian could have taken them even further. So, bottom line, I think the class worked for either type of student. Don't know how it's set up now, though!
Edited by yvonne, 20 January 2018 - 01:07 PM.