Set it & Forget it
Updated: May 30
I'm noticing a trend in higher education these days, the "set it & forget it" method of teaching. This is especially true of older teachers who mainly teach in blended (hybrid) or online-only settings. It is easy to pump out course materials for that first time and then just keep teaching the same class for years on autopilot, but that's not great for your students.
The trouble is, teachers have one successful semester and that becomes the ultimate model of how things should go. When on autopilot, you can neglect to prepare for future changes or difficulties, and miss valuable opportunities for improvement. The autopilot setting is visible to your students when you start creating quick, pre-canned answers and fail to give individualized attention to students. We can also immediately tell if your class hasn't been updated if the dates on assignments are old, set for a past semester.
So you've figured out that most people are the same, and you created a frequently asked questions section- good for you, this is still good and necessary. But building a good online class is about seriously taking into account individual student's critiques and constantly modifying and updating your class (and responses to questions) each semester so it doesn't seem stagnant for the next group of students.
For example, a teacher might decide to create a frequently asked questions section for not only syllabus and course related questions, but technical and connectivity questions as well. Maybe this is a living document students themselves can contribute to, like a Google Doc. There, students might be able to share tips and tricks from their perspective that you cannot see on the "admin" side.
Living documents would provide students with an anonymous way to share honest feedback about the course, as well. This could compliment the end of semester faculty course questionnaire.