When teaching and designing courses, I find that it’s easy to slip into autopilot and use the same tools and strategies over and over. Autopilot can be comfortable and easy, but I know I don’t do my best work in that state. So I try to look at my courses and materials with fresh eyes as often as I can. Often, I’ll ask another faculty member or designer to look at what I’m designing with a critical eye, and I return the favor for their courses.
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
online course design
Like many new online instructors, Laurie Lorence, an English instructor at San Diego Community College, initially created online courses that were fairly linear and mostly text. She quickly realized that such an approach would not work for her students, particularly those in her pre-college learning courses.
Teachable moments, those special times when students are most ready and willing to learn, are traditionally considered unplanned opportunities. But should teachable moments be treated like unexpected gifts or can they actually be set in motion with a little advanced anticipation and planning by the instructor?
Andrea Henne, dean of online and distributed learning in the San Diego Community College District, recommends creating online courses composed of modules—discrete, self-contained learning experiences—and uses a course development method that specifies what to include in each module.
Although the online classroom environment provides tremendous flexibility of time and place of study, establishing and communicating a course pace and pattern of work can aid both instructor and student, and alleviate confusion of course operation.
The initial design of your course will have a big impact on how much time and effort will be required to update it in the future. Here are some tips from the University of Michigan School of Nursing to consider as you create your course to accommodate future changes:
Shortcomings of an online course are not always obvious to the person who created it or teaches it. That is why it is helpful to seek other sources of information to determine whether a course is meeting its objectives. Mary Hricko, library director and associate professor of library and media services at Kent State University Geauga Campus and Twinsburg Center, recommends doing this in the following three ways:
Jonathan P. Mathews, assistant professor of energy and geo-environmental engineering at Penn State University, teaches a high-enrollment (more than 400 students) general education online course, Energy and the Environment. Although he has two teaching assistants, the logistics of managing such a large class would be overwhelming without implementing the following course design and management ideas.
Online course design is crucial to student success. It should reflect the intended learning outcomes and provide enough guidance for students to easily navigate the