Tuesday, June 3, 2014

OSL improvements for next year

From the SurveyMonkey thing:

How do you think this course & approach can be improved for next year's students?

I think if there was a fully functional Random Absence Mentoring next year, it would help the students (chronically ill, foreign exchange, and otherwise) immensely.

Here's why Random Absence Mentoring did not fully succeed: this year there was only one person (me) personally invested in the project (there were others [specifically Min Kim] who would occasionally write posts for it, but only at my prompting), so that as soon as I became out of commission, the whole system collapsed. The reason no one else was invested in the project like I was is because writing daily posts has no *apparent* personal benefit (i.e. I know from experience that reporting on class events certainly helps the writer understand the material more fully, but not even AP teenagers are gonna buy into that one); the only situation with obvious benefit is when a student reads a post written by someone else (i.e. on a day when they were absent). In economics terms, the Marginal Social Benefit of writing a post for RAM greatly exceeds the Marginal (individual) Benefit, and therefore the service is underproduced. In economics, this is where the government needs to step in. The only practical way to create the incentive to contribute is to reward students (extra credit, homework passes, 5P41NX points, whatever) for participating in RAM.

If this is something that next year's students want to continue, I'll be very happy to provide tech support, advice, and mentorship in any way I can, so please feel free to ask.

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