I think I should balance this off by venting some frustration with the course experience from the instructor's point of view. (Call this blogging as therapy).
It is extremely frustrating to load up an online course with content,
|Morguefile photo: pedrojperez|
I realize that no matter how much I have tried to lay things out, the first time through, the students are the guinea pigs. Or to switch metaphors, my course is one big beta-test.
One forgets how much trouble-shooting and clarifying can be done on the fly in a face-to-face situation, excepting the problem posed by absent students. In an online situation, everyone is an absent student. So even if I get over a hurdle with one person I have to count on email or a web announcement to straighten it out with the others, hoping my written message is accessed soon enough to help and that my email or podcast does not create more confusion.
And of course without any face-to-face it is more difficult to establish a level of personal trust.
I am pretty sure this would get better the second time through, however this does not ease my anxiety about my guinea pigs.