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Thursday, February 3, 2011

How much should a learner see and when?

I was always a proponent of giving learners access to the entire course -- content, assignments, exams, discussions -- at the beginning of the term.  I've spent the week reviewing courses though and I can see that there is a lot of disagreement with that approach.  Many faculty provide access to content on a week by week basis.  

So why do I set my class up with the entire thing available?  Part of it is that I like to have my class completely finished and ready to go before the semester begins.  I am not good at developing important content and assessments on the fly and I inevitably have a crisis of some sort if I dare to give it a try.  So part of it is a reflection of my course development style.  

A second reason though is giving learners some control.  I assume they have busy lives also and might need to work ahead at times.  And believe it or not I have had learners do just that.   I keep thinking I am going to go a step further and give learners some choice in assessments also, but I haven't quite gotten there.  I've read about learner contracts instead of instructor provided syllabi and I do like the idea in principle...  maybe next semester.


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