Emily, we do need to humanize our instruction, now more than ever. If I were teaching secondary ELA, I would definitely ask my students to journal, but I feel stuck in my college communications course to stick to the course outline. I had my first week of online courses with dual credit high school students, and 4/10 of them have completed activities, all which were individualized. Quite a few of them have limited access and only mobile devices, so I know things aren’t ideal for them. I have to keep that mind going forward. I have created discussion boards for them to use in the coming weeks, and we have peer review coming up, but there will be challenges there, as they’ve likely never used a discussion board vs. commenting on social posts, etc. My curriculum is rigid and follows a course outline, and with what limited time we have in the semester, I’m not sure how to prioritize what I’ve got to do versus what I want to do. By sticking to the basics to make it easier for them to navigate these new technologies we’re using, I may be doing them a disservice. I am not requiring any synchronous participation right now, but I have made it clear that I am willing to jump on any video/chat/social/phone call to talk or help for any reason. Most students are communicating by e-mail and I make sure to answer their questions, thank them for reaching out, and ask how they are doing and do more chitchat. Most are unsure if they’ve done what they are supposed to do, and I reassure them and tell them what a great job they’re doing. I feel a bit disconnected from them right now, and by the end of this weekend I need to reach out to some students just to check in.
How about you? Hope all is well.