Overall, I was pleased with student performance in this course. All students earned a grade of B+ or higher, with the average grade being an A (94.8%). Prior to the start of the term, I was unsure whether the quality of discussion that occurred on the online discussion board would match the quality of discussion that typically occurs in face-to-face doctoral seminars. I believed that meaningful class discussion would be critical to students’ learning of course content, so I was pleased when this aspect of the course worked well. Because I had many of the same students in face-to-face classes, I noticed that some students who excelled in the online environment did not do as well in traditional face-to-face classroom environments. For example, students who are shy or less comfortable speaking in groups posted often and with longer responses than they typically would in a traditional classroom. Students with strong writing skills also did well with the online discussion format, which required several postings each week. Alternately, the online environment created difficulties for some students who were less comfortable with the technology, writing, and/or time management demands of taking an online course.
At the beginning of Week 6, I solicited feedback from students using the survey feature in Blackboard. The survey consisted of five general questions that were designed to assess which aspects of the course were working well, which aspects needed improvement, whether communication with the instructor was sufficient, and whether my workload estimates were accurate. Survey completion was voluntary, and the student responses were delivered to me anonymously via Blackboard. Because the informal feedback received through classroom interactions is not as readily accessible when teaching online, the survey results provided helpful information about how students perceived the course content, organization, and interactions with me. Feedback did not indicate the need for an immediate change during the term; however, it has helped when planning ways to reduce some of the workload for teaching the course next year.