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A Sheep in Wolve’s Clothing: I am Teaching Online

Time to be honest. For being immersed in instructional technology for 12 years, I have yet to teach online. I’ve taught classroom computer courses (Director / Animation), created and delivered lots of workshops, developed a batch of online self-paced tutorials… but never a for-real online course.

So I grabbed the opportunity when colleagues from one of our colleges asked me to team teach CIS 236, “Web Based Teaching and Learning”- an online course designed mostly for faculty to learn more about online teaching. The course was pretty much created, and I am leaning a great deal on Kurt as the experienced teacher. Our students are full time and part-time faculty from several of our colleges, some I know, many I do not, some have quite a bit of online / hybrid course teaching experience.

Therefore, I am the sheep posing in a fur costume ;-)

The course is delivered in WebCT, a rather new space for me. Actually I spend very little time inside CMS-es, about every 3 months I may answer a Blackboard question or admin a setting, but I’ve not done much “inside the box.” As a web designer accustomed to an open slate, I would likely find them awfully stifling. On the other hand, I accept and support the appeal for mainstream faculty to focus on the craft of teaching and not the tools, and also to provide a fairly consistent environment for students.

In fact, the last time I worked in WebCT, it was still being coded at University of British Columbia, and user support was direct email with Murray Goldberg.

Anyhow, the course starts this week, we are doing good traffic of discussion board intros, Kurt and I are rapidly responding and inviting comments back. The book in use is Susan Ko and Steve Rossen “Teaching Online: A Practical Guide” , and having just found it on my doorstep, it feels and looks practical.

I am trying to introduce a worthy amount of external resources, hopefully we will get to discussing blogs and finding relevant content (maybe RSS, no promises). In April, the class wtll have some assignments as participants in the Teaching in the Community Colleges Online Conference, the annual conference that originates fomr Hawaii, but has participants from around the world.

Bahhhh I am a Wolf!<

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Hey Alan..

    If you need a little help with that WebCT thing, let me know… I know a bit about it…


    One tool you may want to investigate is the Student Presentation tool: it provides students with their own file/web space…

    Also check out the Discussion Object extractor (described at… home page is here:

    Its discussions, it’s RSS.. there’s re-use involved… you’ll like it!

  2. “…the last time I worked in WebCT, it was still being coded at University of British Columbia, and user support was direct email with Murray Goldberg.”

    My my, you really have been doing this for a long time. That was back in the days of mainframe computers powered by tubes and reel-to-reel tape, wasn’t it?

  3. Looking forward to your experiences… what I’d really like to know is your perception of the differences between communicationin WebCT and communication in the real world (like here).

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