Notes from your instructor

Beginning a wellness life can be exciting, but it can also cause a little anxiety if you do not know where you are going or how you are going to get there.  Fortunately, I will be your guide for this semester, and there is no need to feel anxious.  Even if you are already familiar with fitness and wellness, you can still benefit from the directions here.  There are two types of information you need for this particular journey: fitness/wellness information, and course procedures information. All of your fitness and wellness information is available when you click on the Course Units button. If you have questions about how the course operates and the answer is not in the syllabus, look for it in the Instructor’s Notes button. Think of this as a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. In all likelihood, you will find your answer here.

“Teachers open the door.  You enter by yourself.”

This Chinese proverb sums up the underlying philosophy of this course.  Wellness is about learning to do for yourself, and that is what you are expected to do in this class.  It might take a bit of trying to get it right, but eventually you will.  The information in this section is designed to make sure you start out on the right path and continue on the right path until the end of the semester.  If you get lost along the way, you can always come back to this information for a “refresher course.”

Student-Centered Learning

The quote above is also consistent with student-centered learning.  What is student-centered learning?  The article “Student Centered Learning” by Barbara Nanney defines it as “a broad teaching approach that encompasses replacing lectures with active learning, integrating self-paced learning programs and/or cooperative group situations, ultimately holding the student responsible for his own advances in education.”   Again, you will find that you are responsible for your learning in this course and, as the article says, the idea is to make you better prepared to deal with the world beyond school.

A Learning Community

As I mentioned in my Welcome, if you have taken self-paced on-line courses, you will find that this course is different because it is limited self-paced with mandatory due dates.  However, many online courses are now using this model, so it might not be completely unfamiliar to you.  As I also mentioned in my Welcome, this is a learning community.  In other words, we all share in the process.  Learning will occur as you complete the assignments I have provided, and also as you interact with your classmates through a variety of structured and unstructured opportunities.  In addition, you are expected to use the Open Forum if you have a question or need clarification on something that has not been answered in the syllabus or instructions for a particular assignment.  Chances are, if you have a question about something, someone else in the class has the same question.  Even if no one else has thought about your question, they might learn something from your asking.

More About the Open Forum

The Open Forum is a place for you to share information, ask clarifying questions, and interact with your classmates. However, there are certain types of questions that do not belong there such as questions about your grades. Questions about your grade are personal and should be asked by email.   Furthermore, there is a comments section for each grade and you can find comments there.  And before you ask a question, look at the titles on the buttons on the left side menu and decide which one will most likely contain the information you are seeking.  If you cannot find the information, feel free to use the open forum as your classmates may have the same question as you.

Textbooks

There is no required textbook to purchase for this Open Educational Resources (OER) version of the course.  The materials you will need (reading material and video content) are available in this book.

Announcements

Although many – if not most – of your questions about the course have been anticipated and answered in advance, sometimes I will need to give you up-to-the-minute information.   Be sure to check the Announcements page regularly (at least once a week) during the semester for updates and “hot-off-the presses” information about the course or school happenings in general..

Assignments and Grades

All assignments are to be submitted using standard English: slang and “text speak” are not acceptable in any written communications.  There are several ways to submit assignments (blogs, journals, discussion boards, and assignment links).  Each assignment has clear instructions regarding which method to use.  You must use the specified method so the system can keep a record of your assignment along with your grade for the assignment.  Discussion board  assignments should  be typed directly in the provided space.

Getting Credit for Assignments/Late assignments/Exams:

Due dates must be followed.  Late Assignments can be subjected to a penalty of up to 25%.  Late assignments put you at a disadvantage for completing all of the assigned work within the allotted timeframe and are, therefore, discouraged.  If you fall too far behind, you might be withdrawn from the course, or you might not be able to complete the course with a passing grade.

Cheating:

Sadly, cheating is on the rise, and there is a need to implement stronger policies regarding it.  The penalties are harsh and not really worth it if you are caught cheating.  If you cheat on any assignment, you can lose points up to and including the maximum number of points for the assignment.  If you submit the same assignment as someone else, both parties will be subject to the penalty.  The policy for cheating on exams is included in the syllabus.  Please read it because the penalty is very strong, and you risk failing the course.

Tips for success:

It should quickly become clear that this course requires a lot of independent action on your part.  The instructions are here to guide you, but you must make the effort to submit your assignments and follow the path as it is laid out out for you.  Past experience has shown that there are several pitfalls that keep students from doing their best work.  If you are careful to avoid these traps, you can very likely improve your performance in the course:

  1. Read the articles and assignments carefully and follow all directions.  This might seem  obvious, but it is very important.  You might think you are familiar with certain information, or you might believe certain things about fitness that just are not true.  The articles are your source for reliable information.
  2. When submitting assignments, make sure you follow all directions and you answer all questions unless otherwise directed.  Again, this might seem obvious, but something as simple and straightforward as turning the page to see if the lab has additional questions can make a difference in whether or not you receive full credit for an assignment.
  3. If you have read all of the information and you still have a nagging feeling about something, it is better to ask your question in the Open Forum than to make an incorrect assumption about what you should do.  Better to be safe than sorry!
  4. If you follow the three steps above, you will probably improve your assignment scores and you will definitely reduce the likelihood that you will be asked to resubmit an assignment.  However, if you are asked to resubmit an assignment, do not take it as a personal criticism.  It often takes a while to get used to fitness and wellness procedures.  The sooner you respond positively to the request, the sooner you will be on your way to demonstrating fitness and wellness behaviors!

These simple tips can make a difference in your grade on an assignment.  Remember, it is your responsibility to submit your assignments correctly and on time.  Following these tips can help you do that.

“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” –  Albert Einstein

Thank you for participating in student centered learning!