In an effort to learn a new skill, I registered in an Introductory Macromedia Flash course. It's a 30 hour community college level course offered entirely online at a distance. The First Class Learning Management System is being used to construct a virtual classroom where students can exchange ideas and obtain all the course content: assignments, learning activities and lecture materials.
I'm into the 7th day of the course, and so far the only learning activity we have been asked to perform is to post a brief biography of ourselves to one particular forum. Ok, so don't get me wrong, I like the biography activity. The thing I don't like about it is that I was able to complete this task on day 1. So what have I been doing the last 6 days of class: twiddling my mouse!!! BORING.
I was quite excited to be taking this course, now I'm getting bored before it even "begins." At this point, no student has access to the first set of lecture notes, the first assignment nor have any other activities been assigned. We just wait. Yesterday I learned that it will be day 14 before the instructor "releases" the first set of lecture notes and assignment. This frustrates me a great deal.
(Eric puts on his Instructional Designer hat... here's a close approximation of what he looks like with it on )
I will argue that adult students in distance courses have the highest degree of intrinsic motivation for a course at the beginning of it. It follows that if an Instructor wants to cultivate and leverage this high level of motivation, that he or she must fuel it with learning activities and material in the early stages of the course. Based on this idea, I beleive my instructor is missing the boat by waiting 14 days before he releases any material and that students may have a less than optimal learning experience as a result.
I fail to see how waiting 14 days to deliver material can promote or enhance the learning. If someone has any ideas about what might be motivating this Instructor, please let me know by posting a comment.
PS: I hope he doesn't come across this blog before I get my final grade.