First Day of Online ClassesEvery online school is of course different! Here are my first day notes from Northeastern CPS.
The classes officially became "visible" around midnight the night before, so Sunday night. I was online hitting REFRESH every 20 minutes or so, so I was thrilled when the classes appeared. Apparently so were other students. Almost immediately there were friendly posts in the "introduce yourself" area. Everybody posted about who they were, what their background was, what their goals were. I had been worried that at 41 I'd be the oldest person in a sea of teenagers, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the posters were 35, 40, 45. It was a great group for me. Maybe this was because two of my three courses were on leadership topics - i.e. management degree types of things. We did eventually get in a 22 year old, but most students were older and employed in the field.
The posts were not formal and stiff. They were all casual, friendly, just what you'd see in any type of online discussion board. So that was encouraging. Yes, the forum posts count towards your grade, but people were not being stilted in what they were typing.
I had already read Chapter 1 of my Organizational Communication book, because I find that topic very important to me right now, so I plowed right in to answering the posted "week 1 question". I wrote a number of paragraphs in my response, but it was not a "research heavy" question to answer. They asked if you felt a company should aim for profit or for helping the community. I am very much a "help the community" person in everything I do, so that was an easy one for me.
I went to sleep, and then when I woke up again (around 1pm) I started checking in on all the forums. People were posting their introductions, responding to each other, and having lots of fun. It was very encouraging. Each class had its own set of pages with its own forum, its own syllabus, its own powerpoint presentation to go with the reading material, and its own assignment listing. So for example I could go to the main page for my "English" course and see links to its syllabus, its forum area, a teacher bio, and so on. Every week of class has its own link as well, so you can read just what Week 1 is all about - what chapters to read, which powerpoint persentation to read, what questions to answer in the forum, and what written assignment was due on what exact day. They even list the hour and minute in the deadline so there's no question at all.
By the end of the first day I'd done a LOT of forum postings, to say hi to everybody, and to answer the first "posed question" by the teacher in each of my 3 classes. I'd already read the Organizational Communication first chapter, but I hadn't read the book assignments for the other two classes. I felt much more comfortable now about what was expected of me - but I was also a little nervous about just how much time I'd spent in the forums all day long. I have many other obligations in life, and I can't be a forum poster 24 hours a day. So I'm hoping that this initial flurry of everybody saying "hi how are you" is a normal first-day thing that quiets down a bit after that.
First Week of Online Classes
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