- In the classroom courses you teach you should have clear student learning outcomes.
- You consistently create and assemble content that supports those outcomes.
- You also create activities, interactions and assessments that help your learners meet the outcomes.
When you teach online you do the same, however you need to create your entire online learning environment before the course begins.
Create an Online Course is a working lab. You work on creating your online course. Collaboration occurs over the work you create in UH Google Documents and UH Google Sites.
Creating an online course is a lot of work. This workshop will get you started.
Also, online learning requires you take on new roles in the teaching-learning relationship. To be successful you must be willing to release control of learning to your students.
Teacher as Designer
- Good course design is crucial, and yet good designers are under-valued. The “teacher as designer” is barely visible because this work is done before students enter the classroom. With good design, problems are not solved; they are dissolved, as they are less likely to happen.
- The best designers are invisible.The goal is to fashion a course that places students in the center of the action so that they can move their projects forward.
- Designing team projects takes time and effort. These projects must present students with challenging problems. The teacher must frame the problem and provide data to solve these cases. If the project is to reflect reality, the data should be incomplete, inconsistent, and redundant. A well-structured project will require students to wade through data to arrive at their own conclusions.
- Good course design allows students to take ownership of the course. This empowerment of students by the instructor is the hallmark of a great leader…. Require students to learn by doing rather than by reading, writing, listening, and studying in solitude, and the virtual classroom will become the learning organization. by Edward Volchok
Designing an online course at begins the same place as a face-to-face course. You:
- identify goals for the course,
- describe the specific learning objectives,
- deﬁne your tasks to meet those objectives, and
- create applicable assignments around these tasks.
Although the fundamentals are the same, the techniques are very different for delivering the instruction and facilitating learner interaction.
Pedagogy refers to a directed learning approach to the teaching and learning process. Goals and objectives, content, instructional methods, and strategies all relate to pedagogy.
What Doesn’t Work
Directed learning provides knowledge within a specific area predominantly with the use of lecture and tools including memorization, questions and answers, and immediate feedback. Faculty members take on the role of the “sage on the stage” and learners have minimal independence. This pedagogical model doesn’t work for adult learners since adult learners require an environment of learning that is less structured and more independent. A directed learning approach for online learning is insufficient and creates substandard online courses.
In contrast, the term facilitated learning aligns with the andragogical approach to learning (adult learning). The educator acts as a “guide on the side” and is a resource for the students. Independent projects and student-led discussions create critical thinking opportunities. Andragogy assumes that adult learners possess five characteristics,
- a developed self-concept,
- life experiences,
- a readiness to learn,
- an orientation toward learning,
- and an internal motivation to learn.
When designing college online courses, these five components must be considered. The role of the instructor shifts from teaching children (traditional lecturer), to teaching adults (mentor/facilitator).
The Middle Way
Directed learning and facilitated learning fall on a continuum on opposite ends of the spectrum. If you have been lecturing your entire career, and new to teaching online, you need to find the middle of the continuum and use strategies that will help you. Guided discussions, group work, and problem-based learning are examples that characterize the middle of the continuum. Your goal is to create a collaborative learning environment between the educator and the learners.
Effective online courses require a sense of a learning community the the social presence of the faculty member and interaction between learners. Learning always occurs and cannot be separated from a social context and the Internet and social media has greatly expanded social context. Research has shown that learning is enhanced when it is collaborative. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others increases involvement in learning. Sharing one’s own ideas and responding to others’ reactions improves thinking and deepens understanding (Chickering and Gamson, 1987).
Face-to-face course formats do not work online
As you begin to plan your online course keep in mind your goal is not to put your existing course online. Many face-to-face course formats do not work online. The classic example of this is the lecture class.
Example: The face-to-face version consists of a 3-hour lecture once per week, three papers, a midterm, and a final exam. Lectures are NOT interactive and interaction between students and the faculty member are minimal at best. Often the mindset is there is “a lot of content to cover” in the course and the teacher focuses in making sure all that information is conveyed.
It is quite easy to put this exact course online. Simply videotape each lecture, put the video on the web, have students submit papers via e-mail and take their exams online. What you end up with is a poorly designed online course where the faculty members role in the learning process is often questionable.
Moving content online is NOT about transferring content – it is about transforming content.
The online materials should be suited for both the environment and the online learning – and this process is part art, part science. Online learning is unique and the instructor must factor in the uniqueness of the medium. Based on decades of research on the undergraduate student experience, The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education, developed by Art Chickering and Zelda Gamson in 1987, are a useful guide designing online learning environments.
- Encourages contact between students and faculty,
- develops reciprocity and cooperation among students,
- encourages active learning,
- gives prompt feedback,
- emphasizes time on task,
- communicates high expectations, and
- respects diverse talents and ways of learning.
In this article Arthur W. Chickering and Stephen C. Ehrmann describe how to leverage the seven principles using technology; IMPLEMENTING THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES: Technology as Lever.
Daily Topic Content and Activities
- Course Outcomes & Activity/Assessment Categories
- Reflection and Follow-up
Earn a Letter of Completion
Read, watch and review the weekly content. The heart of How to Create an Online Course are the planning documents you create. The weekly content prepares you to plan.
You earn a badge when you complete a step. Earn all 5 badges and you qualify for a Letter of Completion. This letter is a valuable piece of evidence for Contract Renewal, Tenure, and Promotion.