Friday, January 16, 2015

@ONE Course Introduction to Online Teaching and Learning Week 1

I love this class and love learning online!

For the first week of this course, there was a lot of reading about general statistics in distance ed/online teaching and policy, a meet and greet, and this assignment – creating a welcome message for an online class. Under the assignment in this post are also some ideas and insights from the course’s first week materials.
This is what I submitted for this week's assignment:

My name is Kristi Reyes, and I am your teacher for the ESL Level 7 hybrid class you are enrolled in, which starts Monday, August 24 in room 113 at MiraCosta’s Community Learning Center, 1831 Mission Avenue. In this class, you will study with classmates in person and online and work to improve your ability to communicate well in English.  I am so excited to have you in my class, and I look forward to meeting you!

Class Schedule:

For the eight weeks you are in the class, you will spend Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays 12 – 3:20 p.m. in the classroom, but this class is hybrid, which means that the class is conducted partially online.

Online Study:

You will need to complete three hours of online study and class work each week using the Blackboard course for this class, online at You may complete these online study hours anytime, anywhere.

The Blackboard assignments and activities include speaking and pronunciation activities on voice boards, reading and grammar exercises, vocabulary practice, written discussion boards and paragraph writing assignments, and quizzes.  The activities you should do each week are listed in the “Week” sections.

Logging in to Blackboard:

I will provide you with your Blackboard user ID and password in class, if you do not already know it, or you can visit the Student Password Information page to see how to get or reset your ID and password. 

If you have trouble logging in at any time during the term, you may get help in the following ways:

·       Tell me in person or email me at kreyes @

·       Go to the front desk at the Community Learning Center and explain the problem.

·       Go to the Community Learning Lab room 131 and explain the problem.

·       Contact the Student Help Desk by phone (760) 795-6655 or 1-888-201.8480 extension 6655 Monday – Thursday 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., by email, or by online chat (see Help Desk page for live chat link).

Watch these shorts video that shows you how to log in and find your class.

Update your Contact Information:

I will send you email messages through Blackboard. To make sure that you receive class information by email, please login to SURF, online at to make sure that your contact information (address, phone number, and email address) is correct so that you receive notifications from me. Watch this short video that shows you how.



If you need special accommodations because of learning or physical disabilities, please tell me, a counselor at the Community Learning Center, or a representative of MiraCosta’s Disabled Students Services and Programs (DSPS), located on the Oceanside campus (see for information).

You may be wondering…

Is a hybrid ESL class right for me?

Do you know how to navigate the Internet? For example, can you click links and scroll?

Do you have three hours per week available to spend doing classwork online? 

If you answered yes to both questions, this class is perfect for you. If not, we have other classes that are not hybrid and maybe better suited to your needs and interests.

Is there any special equipment I need?

You only need internet access and speakers. 

If you do not have a computer or device with internet, you can complete your online classwork

·       in the Community Learning Lab, room 130, any time that the lab is open (Monday – Friday morning, noon, and evening hours and Saturday mornings)

·       in the libraries at the Oceanside or San Elijo campuses, if these locations are more convenient for you (see hours)

·       at the Oceanside Public libraries (see for branch locations and open hours) or the Carlsbad Public Library (

For some assignments, you will need to record your voice. If you do not have a microphone, you may check one out. Ask me for more information. You can also call in these assignments by phone.  More information will be provided when these tasks are assigned.

I don’t understand how to do the online work.  How can I get help?

We are here to help you! Please do not hesitate to ask for assistance anytime you need it. This is how you can get help:

·       You may meet with me before class Monday – Wednesday, during class break times, or after class. You can also call or text me at (760) 555-5555 or email me at kreyes @  I will get back to you within 24 hours.

·       You can visit the instructor in the Community Learning Lab room 130 during any of the times the lab is open Monday – Saturday.

·       You can visit the Academic Support Center, located next to the student lounge and across from the front desk at the Community Learning Center.

What NOT to do…
This video shows ineffective teaching and the resulting very bad learning experiences of an online student.

What can you do? How to alleviate this problem…

I found this slideshow online and love the ideas presented within – perfect for hybrid ESL!

Building Community in Online Learning Classes from Jackie Gerstein

These are Suggestions for Initiating a Good Online Climate from the @ONE Course:

·        Start your class with an "ice-breaker" activity and communicate your interest with your class in encouraging students to share something about themselves. Ice breakers serve many functions including calming anxieties of new students and facilitating early connections between learners. It’s always a great feeling to see students reach out to their peers early on in your class and make a bond as a result of sharing something about themselves. Make ice breakers fun and creative.

·        Consider including an assignment that allows students to tell their own story in support of your class’s learning objectives. The diversity of your students’ stories can be an overwhelming learning experience … for you too! (Stories could be shared in writing, audio recordings or video presentations.)

·        Give students choices in their learning activities. When students are given options for “real world” learning experiences, they can more easily engage their own, diverse surroundings and share these with their classmates.

These are Suggestions for Meeting the Needs of Different Types of Students (the energetic / experienced ones):

·        Offer extra tasks to exuberant students for extra credit. Learn to leverage their energy and interest to your own advantage.

·        Identify experienced online student “mentors” whose role will be to offer support to new online students in your class. Many students feel honored when asked to play a “mentor” role and enjoy performing as an expert.

·        Consider organizing students into small online groups if you’re integrating discussion boards as a regular activity. You will quickly begin to identify the groups need more dynamism. After a few weeks, reshuffle the groups to create a more balanced energy level across the spectrum.

These are Suggestions for Helping Students Know if they are Ready for Online Classes:

·        Have students complete an online readiness quiz as one of their first assignments in your class. Your college may have this type of quiz developed already (check their website). If not, here are a few existing quizzes you could easily link to...then consider having students discuss their results in a forum the first week (note:  not sure if these are appropriate for ESL at this point.  Looking at MCC’s, students would not understand the word “whiz,” and the quiz is more tailored to students who are planning to take a fully online course, not a hybrid):

·        Consider encouraging your college or department to develop a special handout about “How to Succeed in an Online Class.” These resources are incredibly valuable, especially if they can be shared with a wider audience of educators. Check out the attached “Are You Ready?” online student guide (adapted from a Sierra College resource) -- it’s a great starting point!

See these resources for consideration:

Chickering and Gamson, “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education”: again – active learning, student-faculty contact, high expectations, prompt feedback, respects for diversity (talents and ways of learning)

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