Each week we meet via Twitter for #IOLchat to discuss current issues related to online learning. Participants include students, instructors, eLearning companies, schools, publishers, and instructional designers.
Moving a course from the face-to-face classroom to an online learning environment is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot to consider from the presentation of content and on-screen layout to assignment formats and communication tools. Many strategies are available for moving forward and a lot depends on the type and level of course, and the availability of support (e.g., instructional design, technology, video production). What would you do differently based on your experience with online courses? What questions do you have about creating your own online course?
This week our chat format included an open discussion. Here’s a summary of what our participants had to say:
How and where should an instructor begin work on his or her first online course?
- Start with the existing learning objectives. Review and consider how students will achieve them “given the options and limitations of the online learning environment.”
- Know what your course site or learning management system is capable of in terms of content presentation and communication/collaboration.
- “Identify the essential elements of curriculum and lay them out before moving forward with integrating resources.” Focus on desired learning achievement.
- Select tools to help you organize your work and the course itself. If you are not using a learning management system, consider something like Google Sites with a classroom template.
- Don’t be afraid to go “low tech” in the planning stages – use lesson planners to get organized and outline the course.
Consider Open Education Resources (OER)
Finding access to resources can be challenging, but there are options available to assist you with the process even if you are developing an online course on your own.
- OER, through sites like MERLOT and The Saylor Foundation, include fully developed courses, as well as learning objects (i.e., lesson plans, interactions, videos) created for a variety of academic subjects.
- Careful selection of specific OER materials is recommended, to include consideration of the learners who will take the course – the appropriate level of content and accessibility.
Focus on Engagement
- Take advantage of the capabilities of many Web 2.0 tools to get students engaged with each other and the course materials.
- Choose your materials and method of presentation with engagement in mind: “present engaging content, facilitate interaction and collaboration, provide authentic learning activities, provide engaging feedback, and include authentic evaluations and assessments.”
- “Build a sense of community and group inspiration” as students work together and review each other’s work through discussion forums or class/individual blogs.
- Take a look at the engagement building resources provided by Alex Pickett through the SUNY SLN Education site, and her video “How Do You Engage Online Learners?”
If you are beginning your first online course reach out to your personal learning network (PLN) and ask for information, advice, lessons learned, and suggested tools. Your PLN might include educators you can connect with via Twitter, blogs (e.g., Educating Mariane, Sharing What I Know) and other social networks.
Thanks to @GradSchoolNinja, @alexpickett, @MarianeD, @amymcquigge, and @amarco for participating in the live event! Help us to continue the discussion by adding your thoughts via the comments area on this page.
Our past chats can be found on the archives page.
This week’s read aheads:
This week’s read aheads:
Online Course Development: at-a-glance from The State University of New York
Online Course Development Process Guide [DOC] from EDUCAUSE
10 Easy Steps to Creating Your Online Course [PDF] from Cal State Fullerton
Image credit: degelia, Flickr, CC-BY