Many of the learners in today’s online courses are adults who are returning to school to upgrade their qualifications. It’s worth considering what kinds of adult students are in your courses and what their needs are.
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
Online Course Design and Preparation
Discussion boards are often viewed as the heart of online courses, and for good reason: the students can interact with one another 24/7, sharing, debating, and offering ideas, insights, suggestions, and information that stimulate the learning process. Yet challenges do happen in discussion, and these can be formidable. Left alone, they can quickly limit the effectiveness of any discussion and create problems throughout the online course.
Keith Restine, associate director of distance education, and Allison Peterson, senior instructional designer, both at Texas Woman’s University, offer the following tips for reducing instructor
Shrinking budgets and increasing enrollments are putting online instructors in the position of teaching larger classes. Accommodating more students means rethinking how you teach your courses. Otherwise your workload can quickly become overwhelming.
Balancing Act: Managing Instructor Presence and Workload When Creating an Interactive Community of Learners
Increasingly, online educators are faced with two key directives that are critical for student success and retention: increasing instructor presence and building a community of learners.
Developing an online course based on an existing face-to-face course requires more than learning how to use the technology and loading the material into the learning management system because, as Catherine Nameth, education outreach coordinator at the University of California-Los Angeles, says, “not everything will transfer directly from the face-to-face environment to the online environment.” This transition requires the instructor to rethink and reconfigure the material and anticipate students’ needs.
One of the most frequently asked questions from veteran and novice online faculty alike is, “How many weekly discussion posts should I contribute?” The reality is that there is an intricate balancing act to achieve the coveted “guide on the side” role in discussion forum facilitation.
Looking for a way to get your students to collaborate and think critically? Consider group quizzes, a technique that Ida Jones uses in her business law courses at California State University, Fresno.
The beginning of an online course is a critical time in which the instructor establishes expectations, sets the tone, and helps students navigate the course. Here are some points to consider for the time leading up to and including that first week:
Much of what passes for an “online course” these days could more accurately be described as the electronic version of class hand-outs. These courses usually consist of a course description, a syllabus, lecture notes, reading lists, and assignment checklists. In other words, whatever materials a student might have viewed on paper in the past are now read onscreen, and whatever presentations a student might have watched in the classroom are now observed on their screen.