I’m having trouble juggling my learning curve for both google docs and D2L. My board doesn’t seem to have a preference and I’m just not the type that can learn more than one thing at a time.
My online learning course is managed by D2L. Therefore, I have been mainly looking at expanding my knowledge with that platform because I use it to teach daily. (Not that I couldn’t use google docs, but I can get away with not using it daily.) I was aware you could place “restrictions” on things within D2L, but haven’t really used it much before now. It was necessary at exam time, with conflicts in writing time, but honestly, my mentor really arranged it all and I mostly sat dazed. (This is no fault of hers, I think I was just feeling stressed and not making notes) I have been toying with using it more this semester as I waged the war of student engagement. I have thought of embedding assignments within the content to make sure they read it and I have thought of placing restrictions on assignments.
I have been having issues with students really skimming the content and skipping right to assignments. Thus, I have been working on reworking my content sections and finding ways to keep them engaged. One way to at slow them down on the content (at least temporarily) is to place a “restriction” on the assignment part. This would mean that the assignment could not open until at least they clicked on the content. Now, whether or not they really read and understand is a whole other story, but at least they’d be forced to start there. What I also implemented was two-part assignments. Part 1 had to be submitted to the dropbox before part 2 would be made available. I had a few students email me, because clearly they hadn’t read the instructions, which was ironic because that was exactly the point I was trying to prove!
There are both advantages and disadvantages to this situation. Disadvantage – they rush through the first part just to see what the second part is. They never complete the first part effectively missing TWO assignments because the second one won’t open. They don’t realize there is a second part and just submit one and think they are done. The advantages: forcing my students to stay engaged on page. Making my students take their time and read instructions. Not dumping one large task with many components when students can feel overwhelmed. Making the project into smaller parts may make it seem more manageable and they are more likely to complete all steps and not miss any. In this situation, the advantages outweighed the disadvantages. I was able to remind students of the two parts. Students remained focussed on one topic at hand instead of many at once. In a small personal advantage, the due dates were staggered and I was able to mark at a more even pace.
Overall, I was pleased with the results of this restriction. I may start to implement restrictions more often for content and assignments. I liked how it made the student focus on one thing at a time and it actually made it easier for me in terms of marking.