Students engage in the course material asynchronously through streaming video, lab assignments, discussion forum and interactive exercises found here: http://rosemary.umw.edu/eagleice. The faculty instructors, Drs. Stephen Davies and Karen Anewalt, deliver most content. Additional support and community building activities are provided by
a group of seven UMW Computer Science students who are mentoring the high school students.
The primary course goal is to introduce students to the type of creative problem-solving that is the essence of computer programming. Within our department, we’ve noted that often students don’t come to college planning to be computer science majors, in part due to lack of exposure to the discipline. Most area high schools do not offer computer science courses, probably because people with the necessary expertise are lucratively employed in industry. We hope to inspire students to continue to study the discipline when they attend college and instructors to consider offering traditional courses in their schools.
Teaching an open online course is a completely new experience for us. Neither Karen nor Stephen has taught or taken an online course. At the conference we’ll be reporting on things that are working well and mistakes that we’ve made along the way. Early challenges have included:
· Issues with video quality of screen shared text
· Some participants experiencing choppiness in video streaming
· Students misunderstanding the course schedule in the asynchronous environment
· Extensive communication from parents without accompanying communication from students.
Hopefully others will be able to learn from our experiences.