Optional Face-to-Face Meetings: A Plan!

Last week’s optional class meeting was great. I was delighted to sit down face-to-face with several of you and talk a bit about DH, your interests, and the general outline of our course plans/goals as they may serve those interests. As discussed last week, I’m eager to do this again. Several have asked about making this a regular thing. I’d be delighted to. Several also asked if we might be able to do this at a different time as they have conflicts with the 4:30 start time. Absolutely. I know several of you are teaching in the metroplex, which makes travel to Commerce by that start time an impossibility.

I think I have a way to accommodate our diverse needs going forward. Check this out:

  1. Record meetings and make them available in eCollege: We will be recording our face-to-face meeting this week, which we will be holding again Wednesday, 4:30-6:30 (9/3). This week’s meeting will be held in the Sam Rayburn Student Center, Integrity Room (Second Floor). This recording will be made available to you on via a link in the eCollege platform. We do this with any future meetings as well. Alas,  we did not figure out a good way to record last week’s meeting. So those conversations were not preserved. But the solution this missed opportunity next time around will be . . .
  2. Repeating vital information: At last week’s meeting, we went over the syllabus and course goals. I showed some examples of DH and we talked about the complexity of defining it–not just here but among the seminal figures in DH who call themselves DHers. Not everyone agrees. :) At this week’s meeting, I will go over the syllabus and course goals again–this time in greater detail. You’ll have access to the entire course calendar by that time, and I’ll go over that. I’ll talk more about your Forums and evaluation tools for those, as well as your upcoming response papers. I will spend some time with Response Paper #1, which you’ll have access to by that time as well. Much of what I will be going over will just be a verbal reinforcement of information made available in eCollege. However, many do find that useful. The bulk of the course will be spent in conversation with you, as we work to align your goals with the many possibilities available via DH (and engaged through our various assignments).
  3. Polling you guys for available times and offering future meetings at times most conducive to your schedulesI have set up a poll to determine when might be the best time to offer our Week 3 optional meeting. Please respond to that as soon as you can at http://doodle.com/d6ygpyrqxg57z8r2 . Let me know if you have any difficulties with it. I’ll leave that open until our Wednesday meeting this week (9/3). That way we can announce the Week 3 meeting with enough wiggle room for interested folks to make arrangements to join us. I did not get the poll to you guys in time to make those arrangements for this Week 2 meeting. With my delay and the Labor Day holiday, it just made more sense to go forward with the time already scheduled.
  4. Social Media or other means of bringing those who can’t physically attend the session into the meeting. Under the Week 2 tab and all the remaining Weekly tabs available, I have included a link for “General Questions and Contributions to f2f Meeting” We’ll use this for any questions you may have about the course, assignments, or other more general contributions and queries that might not seem exactly right for the Forums themselves but seem nonetheless important. I would also like for you to contribute to the face-to-face meeting by sharing questions you would like answered there, as well. I will cull this discussion area for your contributions to our f2f meeting before we meet to ensure those who can’t be there are represented as well. Going forward, let’s also explore mechanisms for folks to join us in real-time—Google Hangouts, twitter, ???. Hopefully we can implement those very soon, as well.

So, there you have it! We have a plan. Or at least we have a plan for making a plan! In any case, this is what’s going on. Again, these are not required meetings. I know you guys are busy and schedules are tight, so some of you may not be able to join us at of the available times. This is a key reason people choose online courses, after all. So you can take courses instead of sleeping. :)

However, if you are available and can join us I hope you will. Ideally, I will be able to offer additional face-to-face meetings (optional) several times this fall.

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