Welcome to ECON 201, the online section! School starts four weeks from today. Hopefully, it is not a surprise that you have registered for an online course. The purpose of this email is to get you started thinking about the course, so that we can hit the ground running when the semester starts.
If you’ve never taken an online course before, it’s hard to overestimate how different it is from a face-to-face course. Think about this: There are no regular class sessions like all your other classes have. How are you going to learn the course material when there are no lectures? How are you going to ask questions about things you don’t understand, be they content or questions about when things are due, etc.?
Many many things that are done in class in a face-to-face course have to be done differently in an online course. Just basic communication takes longer. We will need to do some orientation to the course, things that typically happen pretty seamlessly the first week in a face-to-face course. Last year, which was the first time I taught this course online, we tried to do them the first week of classes, and that’s all we got done, so we spent the semester a week behind the other ECON 201 classes. This year, if at all possible, you need to do these things before classes start.
First, you will need a computing device (PC or Mac, Tablet or even a smart phone) with dependable (ideally high speed) internet access. A student tried to take this course last year without internet access at home. It’s an online course. What was she thinking? Don’t do this! You will need daily access to the course website! Also, your computing device should have word processing software
For day-to-day communications this semester, we’ll be using twitter. If you’ve never used twitter but have heard of it, the way we will use it is probably not what you think. If you’ve never heard of twitter, that’s fine. It has a very easy learning curve. The most important thing is that twitter allows you to send short (no more than 140 character) messages to people you specify, for example, others in the class. We will discuss how we’ll be using twitter at a later date. For now, please sign up for an account on twitter (www.twitter.com ). From your twitter homepage, search for “sgreenla” (without the quotes). When you find me, click on the name and it will take you to my homepage. On the right hand side, click the button with the blue twitter bird that says “follow”. When I get your request, I will do the same to you. Then everything you tweet I will see, and everything I tweet you will see. It’s that easy.
The next thing you need to do before classes start is make a short video introducing yourself to the class. If you’ve never used video, it’s easier than you think. All you need is a smart phone with video capability or a webcam with your computer. I’ll be sending you detailed instructions for how to create the video, so if you’ve never done this before, don’t worry—it’s not that hard. I’m well over30 years of age and I figured it out.
Ta ta for now. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.
I look forward to working with you this semester!