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Lyle taught two sections of the course, one on-campus but in a classroom without Internet connections, the other off-campus with technology. The two classes were kept in synch through use of a shared course website using Online Day. Having the technology available in class gave Lyle more examples to draw from. The off-campus class was smaller and all female. Lyle described it as a more intimate environment, where the students talked easily about their personal change plans. These plans allowed the students to apply the theories they were learning to themselves in order to change something about themselves. The larger class was mixed gender and more passive. As the semester progressed, the students focused less on discussing their personal change plans and more on getting the information to pass the tests.

Carrie taught her class as a hybrid, with a non-traditional schedule for class meetings. She compressed the class meetings into three weekends that met 13 hours each. In addition to lecturing, Carrie showed the videos in class, where they discussed them at length. During the weeks that the class did not meet face-to-face, Carrie assigned the students to read the chapters and take the online quizzes. She also assigned the chapter reflections, which they emailed to her. Carrie’s institution was originally a free-standing graduate college, but later became the graduate component to a major university that caters to undergraduate students. Teaching was the number one priority of the school, and Carrie was very engaged with her students. The classrooms were all outfitted with technology tools for teaching, such as televisions, DVD players, laptops with projectors, and drop down screens from the ceilings. Fortunately, for the course that Carrie taught off-campus, the classroom was similarly equipped with all the features mentioned above.

The media resources provided in Online Day, particularly the videos, were very helpful to Carrie in teaching the course in a compressed schedule.

University policies and practice

The Online Day software did not fit with the usual practices of university course management. All of the schools in this study had purchased campus-wide course management systems. Most had policies requiring instructors to create a course website on the campus-wide course management system (i.e.-Blackboard, WebCT) for each course they taught. The small private colleges in this study were less likely to require this than the state funded institutions. Most of the schools used the syllabus contained in the course management system for the accreditation board assessment.

Conflicting systems

The required use of the campus-wide system conflicted with the way Online Day was designed. Online Day was created as a fully integrated, seamless interface through which students and instructors could communicate, carry out, and assess assignments. When instructors were required to use campus-wide course management, they had three options: to create two websites, to place a link to the Online Day inside the required course website, or to operate under the radar, using the Online Day website as it was designed. Carrie chose the last option and taught with Online Day for one semester, then discussed it afterwards with the campus technology expert. When she did, sparks flew.

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Source:  OpenStax, Faculty use of courseware to teach counseling theories. OpenStax CNX. Oct 14, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11130/1.1
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