Friday, January 23, 2015

Setting Up An Online Learning Experience

The first step in having a successful online course is setting up the forum/experience for learners. This step can result in a successful or disastrous online experience, based on what the instructor focuses on. The following key components are essential for a smooth online course launch:

  • Syllabus
  • Weekly Teaching Guides
  • Discussions and Rubrics
  • Course Site

In reading the course text, there are other significant components that the Instructor should consider when setting up an online course. Managing an online community can be very overwhelming, but establishing a strong social presence up front can help the instructor adapt to the new environment. It is also important to consider the following questions:


What is the significance of knowing the technology available to you? 

Technology is the driving force behind online learning. Online learning is built from web and technological tools that allow learners to participate in an asynchronous environment. Being knowledgeable about the latest technology can make the online learning experience more efficient and engaging. It also helps you connect with multi-generational learners.

Why is it essential to communicate clear expectations to learners?

Communication is key in an online forum. When the instructor sets clear expectations, the learner knows the requirements and standards for which they are being held to. Clear communication leaves no room for error and ensures that the learner is ready to carry out the activities assigned to them.

What additional considerations should the instructor take into account when setting up an online learning experience? 

When setting up the online forum, creating effective discussion boards is extremely important. Without them, you remove the learner’s ability to express ideas and build relationships with their peers. “Discussion activities give all learners a chance, and in fact they generally require learners to reflect on the ideas in the content resources or the ideas expressed by other students, and then to write about what they think, know, and reason from those ideas” (Boettcher & Conrad, p. 85). Also, discussion boards are a great way to reinforce learning concepts and ensure that the learner’s comprehension is where it should be.

In addition to discussion boards, a strong syllabus will set the tone, while minimizing frustration and confusion in the learner’s mind. The syllabus should clearly outline course expectations, assignments, deadlines, and resources so the learner can confidently move forward in the course.

Reference:

Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

1 comment:

  1. Jenea,

    I enjoyed reading you post. I agree with the importance of setting clear expectations. I had a thought about a syllabus as I read your post. I have middle school and have always had a syllabus. It was not as our course text described one should be. The key element I left out was the overview of the entire course. In other words, I did not include a schedule of all assignments and projects. I find a syllabus that gives me a detailed overview helps me to get an idea of the picture.

    ReplyDelete