You’ve spent time setting up your classroom and creating an engaging course for your students, but now you’ve been asked to recreate your course online. Where do you start? How will your activities and discussions translate? What new hurdles do you need to consider with an online class? There are some essential tips when creating an online course.
Plan and Organize
Much of the success of an online course depends on the quality of your planning. Take your existing curriculum and break up your course materials into short modules that set clear milestones for your online students. Setup your evaluation standards, grading rubrics, and due dates ahead of time and clearly define them in the basic course materials with your syllabus.
You’ll want to provide technology guides for your learning management system and any assignments that require technology use, to ensure your less tech-savvy students understand how to submit work and use your chosen learning tools.
Set Clear Expectations
Outline the standards of conduct you expect in your online course with a Netiquette Guide a set of rules for behaving properly online. Remind your students that they’re communicating with real people and to respect each other’s time. Tell your students exactly what you expect from them from each module, discussion, and activity. Students need these parameters to effectively manage their time, especially in self-paced or asynchronous courses. Begin your course with a no-stakes activity to get your students comfortable with the software and accustomed to contributing. Ask them to review the syllabus and take a quiz or ask them to record a quick video introducing themselves to their classmates.
Now, establish teacher presence in your online classroom. The important thing here is to make your students feel as if you are there with them while they learn. There are many ways to accomplish this, but we recommend recording audio or video to speak to your class. Students can get to know you by hearing your voice or seeing your mannerisms. Use video to post notices, announcements, or feedback.
Try to diagnose misconceptions, highlight common themes, and summarize what the students discuss and conclude. The goal is to facilitate discourse amongst your students and confirm their understanding of the material. You’ll also need to be an active guide for your students throughout the course. Try to login at least a few minutes every day to respond to student questions. Use this time to keep discussions focused, and to encourage, acknowledge, and reinforce student participation.
Get Your Students Involved
You can ask students to send video submissions for assignments, which will help you, learn more about each individual student. Just turn on Contribution Mode and the student will be able to add their recorded videos to your course. Video can be a useful tool for a range of activities, from interviews, debates, to group presentations.
Most activities can be modified for an online setting, and are an important tool to allow online students to demonstrate their mastery of course material. Just make sure every activity matches your learning objectives! Monitor student engagement with video analytics. Determine who watched each video and see which parts they viewed. You’ll be able to see if your videos are longer than your student’s attention spans, or if your class is captivated by your content.