I want to create an online class, where do I start?
December 9, 2014
I am convinced that teaching online can be as effective as the traditional classroom. However, the thought of taking a class that you currently teach on campus and figuring out how to teach it online can be an overwhelming process for most. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:
Do I have to film myself lecturing for 30 hours?
What if students have questions?
How do I organize the class?
The course is clock hours, how do I track that?
How do students take tests online?
The first thing you should look at is the course objectives. If you have one module that takes 4 hours in a classroom setting, that does not mean that you need 4 hours of lecture online. Consider independent study, PDF documents to review, youtube videos (or other outside resources), online discussions, assessments and online lecture. All of these contribute to a students understanding of a certain topic.
The online course is organized by Units. A “Unit” has a central concept or topic that distinguishes itself from other Units. Once you identify and name these Units, you can start filling these Unit “folders” with content as described above. Once this happens you will start seeing the class come together.
Once the content is complete, a warm welcome helps with orientation and helps create a safe trusting online environment which is critical to online course success.
Teachers expectations should be explicit and in writing. Each and every expectation should be posted well in advance and in a highly visible location, preferably reiterated as needed. It is the responsibility of the teacher for making sure each student understands the expectations.
Lastly, give yourself the freedom to experiment. Online classes should not be static. Ongoing evaluations of each course are important. Utilzing surveys and feedback from students will help improve the quality of the course.
The most important step you take is always the first. Once you are able to add an online element to your school, the opportunities are endless.
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