To think that learning requires teaching that is more than mere stimulation and titillation (“Make a class a haven”, Features, 18 September). With 10 years of online teaching, I have matured out of the bells-and-whistles approach in my online sociology classes by trimming back to only two short videos all semester, with our time spent reading, thinking and writing in what can be a virtual sanctuary, too.
I use the “discussion” forums that are usually “left to the students for free exchange”, not unlike the “conforming” small groups in the classroom, but with one big difference: I participate “fully” and join the conversations, bust up the conforming “me toos” and critique and challenge every student. This requires a lot of time. But the students learn and love it.