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In the entry page though students see two lists: "to do" and "coming up".
The first list shows a partial list of assignments already due. This is particularly challenging for students who are enrolling in the course after the beginning of the course, and it happens very often. This list as I said does show assignments graded, however some assignments that have embedded content do not show in this list. Also anything that needs to read, watched, listen, does not show unless is linked to a grade.
The list coming up shows only assignments graded that are coming up in the calendar.
Before the beginning of the course, when the course was not populated, I did not see the presence of the list "to do". This has been a very misleading section that made students click directly on those assignments without accessing to the homepage and following through with the course. Since I did not foresee this issue, my original video did not include any direction for the entry page, while now I am aware of the importance of that first step for avoiding a huge sidetracking of students.
Another think that is overestimate is the fact that students will read directions :) For this reason in my video I had to add a couple of directions for finding some essential tools or the course: one is a video with the directions for typing accented letters on a keyboard, and how to use Microsoft Lync, a chatting tool that is already installed on all computers of our school district. While the former is a tool for students work, the other is their tool for connecting with me directly. Both tools are very important.
An overall good strategy for creating an introductory video should include:
- Make a plan of the flow of the course: from where students enter to where they should go to.
- Consider any possible deviation from he flow and alert students of the risks in taking those paths.
- Identify and introduce students to icons connected to particular elements of the course, so that they could recognize them later instead of guessing.
- Make a list of the important elements students should know right from the beginning, contacts with the instructor, how to see grades, how to see teacher's comments, where to see the due dates, where to see announcements, etc...
- If you can, TEST IT with someone who is not familiar with your course, a colleague would work, the effectiveness of your video in his/her ability to access to the course and move through following the path you planned.
Unfortunately I was not able to finalize the new video today for some technical difficulties, but I hope I will be bale to publish it here tomorrow.