• Training Material Design

Designing An Online Course

Designing for the online environment comes with its own set of problems, but it also opens up a whole new universe of fascinating opportunities for involving students in their learning.

Online learning is not a "substitute" for traditional classroom instruction.

According to a ten-year research by the Online Learning Consortium, 6.7 million students have taken at least one online course, with 32% of all higher-education students taking at least one online course during their academic career.

These figures are continuing to climb.

However, despite increased interest (from students and academic leaders) and enrolment in online classrooms, student success rates in online classes are lower than in face-to-face sessions.

So, we can't afford to overlook the online format, but how can we design for the specific teaching and learning issues it poses?

Start with the learning; moving from solutions to possibilities!

When migrating to an online setting, it's typical to ask yourself, "How can I accomplish something online?"

If we approach it from this perspective, we may become caught trying to replicate or retrofit face-to-face operations.

This might be a time-consuming and even discouraging solution search.

Starting with the inquiry, "What do my pupils need to learn?" is a more effective approach.

You may more readily explore the great opportunities given by the internet world if you use learning as the focus point.

The the most effective teaching principles apply regardless of modality and often stand the test of time. Consider the principles identified by 50 years of research by A. Chickering and  Z. Gamson in the “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education.” (AAHE Bulletin, March 1987):

  • encourage faculty-to-student interaction
  • encourage student-to-student interaction
  • promote active learning
  • communicate high expectations
  • facilitate time on task
  • provide rich, rapid feedback
  • respect diverse learning

Actualizing Best Practice

Before you even begin! Gather all of the resources you'll need to teach your class.

Any project's success hinges on its ability to stay organized.

Gather all of your resources, including content and instructional materials you've studied or borrowed from colleagues, from past courses you've taught.

Put them in a format/file and keep them somewhere you can access them quickly (computer, online or USB Drive).

Syllabi, notes, textbooks, lectures, handouts, quizzes, tests, assignments/papers/projects, internet resources, journal articles, and any other relevant materials are all included.

Request materials tailored to your topic area from your department or peers.

To help get started, sample syllabi, lessons, and even course templates may be offered. Don't neglect this crucial step in the process; taking the effort to arrange ahead of time will save you a lot of time afterwards.

Establish a timeline and objectives.

It takes time to create a high-quality course.

To plan, create, and develop, you'll need to set aside productive and undisturbed time.

The length of time it takes depends on where you start (new design or redesign) and your other commitments (work, family, etc.).

Establish a reasonable schedule, goals/benchmarks, and deadlines to assure your success.

The Instructional Council in Maricopa creates "course level" competencies for each field, which are established and authored by professors at the district level.

Course competencies are the topics and concepts that must be addressed and taught in each course.

A faculty member creates activities, tests, lectures, and other materials to teach such skills during course design and mapping, especially for online courses. Students will study in little chunks along the way - these are unit or module learning objectives.

These aid students in comprehending what they will be studying, how all of the activities and assignments will assist them in learning, and finally, where they have been.

Learning = Design + Delivery

Even the best-designed course might fall short if it isn't delivered with purpose.

Pacing, feedback, communication, monitoring and adjusting instruction, and other elements of delivery will actively engage and support the diverse needs of learners.

Research and explore materials on excellent instructional delivery strategies to further your professional growth.

Written by Atermonas Pubblished Sep 2020