This online course in data communications and networking could be better constructed and presented by allowing the option to get class anouncements emailed or instant messenged to the student. I still believe that it should be essential for students to login to the course website atleast every other day but i do believe that an anouncement sent deirectly to the students main email address would spur the desire of the student to complete the task and take heed to the announcment at that time brather then procratinate and wait till the last minute.
Sort of like how a parent asks their child to take out the garbage week after week. You would expect that after a few weeks the child would do it, but reminding the child face to face or in my opinion emailing a student the anouncements and tasks is an almost foolproof way of getting students to log in more regularly to the course website, and also complete the required tasks and readings on a more consistent schedule.
And this could be easily accomplished by just altering the website so that when the Instuctor makes a new anouncement the anouncement is emailed to all students participating in the course and also posted to the anouncements page as currently performed. It is simple feature that i beleive would increase student participation in the course, increase student logins, and decrease student procrastination.
I myself am i procrastinator and i believe that if a recieved the anouncment emails in addition to logging in a reading the anouncements on the course webpage that i would complete the tasks closer to the time i recieved the email notification rather then when i read it myself on the course website and decided to complete it. I realize that most students May already login, read the anouncements and complete the tasks when there are sheduled, and they may not want to recieve anouncements for things they already know or have completed.
Thats why it would be great to make this feature optional so the people that think they could benifit from this could and would. If I had the opportunity I would keep the design of the course pretty much the way it is with a few minor changes, i believe that all of the buttons are located very conveiniently. In addition to the suggestions i have gave in the earlier paragraph I would design the assignement page to be coupled with course document page. And I would design it so that after each section of notes and lectures the corresponding weekly exam would be posted next to it.
This would encourage the option of taking the tests immediately following the completion of reading the notes. And this could possibly increase grades and reduce procrastination. I make this suggestion because i noticed that many times after reading the lecture material i would just log out or wouldnt take the test bacause it wasnt visually accessible at the moment on the same page, so i figured that of after reading the lecture material if i saw a link to the exam to on the same page i would more likely take the exam at that moment rather the wait till the last minute.
Also i would design the page so that the resources page opened in another window and didnt take me to another website. This would require the course webpage to use the resource page as a sub page but it would keep the student on the course website and he wouldnt have to leave the course website everytime he wanted to find some additional material on the course.