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Teaching online weather at Gavilan College

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Monday, 24 January 2011
Teaching online weather at Gavilan College
Washington State Convention Center
Andrew H. Van Tuyl, Gavilan College, Gilroy, CA

During 2010, Online Weather Studies was offered at Gavilan for the fifth consecutive year. Few changes were made from previous years; the course continued to be taught entirely online, with one or two voluntary orientation meetings at the start of each semester. Most students either could not or did not attend these meetings, although the number who showed up was somewhat greater than in the past.

Course enrollment reached the maximum of 30 well before the beginning of each semester, reflecting in part the rapidly growing enrollment at California community colleges. Attrition remains relatively high, however, with 20-25 students typically left by semester's end. Grades were mainly in the B to C range, with fewer F's than in the past; greater effort has been made to drop non-participating students from the roster.

Discussion forums, representing 10% of the total grade, are still employed in an attempt to increase student interaction. They may be adjusted during upcoming semesters, for example by requiring students to post once before seeing other students' contributions. This would reduce the likelihood of students essentially copying earlier posts, although it might also hinder the flow of discussion. Fostering genuine discussion and interaction is an ongoing problem for online-only courses.