The proliferation of online teaching has significantly changed higher education. Today's technologies offer opportunities to build advanced collaboration opportunities into each course and to engage students creatively while providing a rich teaching and learning platform. If you are ready to develop your online course, then you have more than likely explored the use of technology to enhance your face-to-face (F2F) courses and have realized its potential to enrich the learning experience.
Teaching online is a viable option for courses that focus on the development of students’ cognitive abilities ranging from acquisition of information to evaluation (Bloom, 1956). Such courses usually teach concepts and principles that engage students in discussions, debates, written expression and problem solving. Because these activities do not always require close observation or F2F interaction, they are well suited for using web-based tools such as those you will find in our current Learning Management System (LMS) – Desire2Learn. Before you commit to developing an online course, there are several points that you should consider:
- The best online courses are ones that use a variety of methods to engage students with content, their peers, and you. There are several techniques that can be used to promote engagement but as you decide on a method you should always keep in mind your teaching goals and the course learning outcomes so you can choose the method that best enhances student learning.
- The syllabus for your online course should provide a road map to guide students through the class. As you prepare the syllabus it is helpful to use more of a conversational style so students are more aware of your presence in the course.
- Every online course should have structure and consistency built into its design in order to help students successfully navigate the course.
- Develop a schedule for your students to follow in terms of activities, readings, and assignments. Often students register for an online course because they are attracted to its “anytime learning” nature; however, most students tend to procrastinate starting a lesson and completing the required assignments.
- Students enrolled in an online course need to be competent in using computers and navigating the Internet.
- Whether you are using learning modules or folders to structure your content, each should have the same organizational structure.
- technology engages the learner and enhances the learning process.
- you can easily recycle course materials for multiple courses and semesters
- you can share and collaborate with colleagues
- digital media (i.e., video, sound, graphics, animation and text) are structured in a way that enables audience control over their presentation
- you have the ability to create more engaging learning opportunities and present materials in more than one way
- it is easier to facilitate the teaching of large enrollment courses
- you can ea silty distribute course materials to users
- you can expand student learning opportunities
- technology enables you to engage a global audience
- convenience and accessibility for students in different time zones, geographic locations, or with physical limitations
- multi-platform access (Windows, Mac, UNIX, PDA, wireless devices, smart phones)
- you have the ability to focus on student learning after your course has been developed
- you can present materials in different ways to address more learning styles
- you have more opportunities for group or individual work through asynchronous and synchronous communication tools
- you can pretest and assign remedial work
- multi-sensory input provides more opportunities for engagement, interest, motivation, and retention.
- online testing and automated grading
- easy updating of content and archiving of course materials
- the ability to use online course administration tools to monitor and track student engagement
- access is authenticated and controlled with password protection