I’m hoping that an online presence allows students to become more involved with the direction my course takes. Above all, I want to be able to more effectively engage students and monitor their growth over a term. Because of these desires, I would probably end up using a Google site to host my class page. From there I could link students to whatever feedback form I would like, post homework, start discussions, and list grades. Google is incredibly versatile and allows for plenty of personalization in addition to be non-centralized. I could do everything I want to using Google services and access my online course resources from anywhere with an internet connection.
Given my needs for my course, I do not think there are any resources that are out of reach. All of the services I would want to use are free, and so long as the school I’m teaching at has online resources (and so long as students have access to the necessary technology) I do not forsee there being any problems. This, of course, makes a big (and probably incorrect) assumption about my job placement and students, but I won’t know for sure until I begin teaching.
To make this presence safe for students of all ages, I think it will be important to add an administrative capacity to threads and posts. Proper online moderation will be incredibly important to ensuring the success of this component. Perhaps in the beginning all student made posts will require admin approval, and based on how the posting goes I will scale this back.
My overall strategy and plan is to prioritize community. I want my students to feel connected to each other and myself regardless of whether or not they are in school. I think it is important for them to think of physics as something that is all around them and not just localized in the classroom, and perhaps a good way of encouraging this thinking is to make sure the classroom culture exists outside of the school. With any luck, students will feel safe communicating with myself and each other online, and parents will be welcome to view what their children are discussing. Beyond that, I plan on using my online presence to post cool physics videos or demos relevant to the course, that way students can see applications outside of what is required to be taught in the actual class. The goal of this would be to establish a more connected understanding of physics, and perhaps seeing some simulations or videos that incorporate more than one idea will help students stray from thinking of physics as a bunch of individual topics.