Setting up an Online Learning Experience

Posted: 01/24/2016 in Assignments

Those who have had the privilege of teaching in a face-to-face setting, understand the amount of preparation required to make the experience engaging, beneficial, and successful in meeting learning objectives. Many who have taught in this manner may believe changing to online instruction is going to require lest time, less effort, and less preparation, this is a common misperception. Online learning environments are usually much more complex than the environment of a traditional classroom, and may take more time to prepare and organize (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).Technology

To bridge the gap of the distance between instructor and learner, the online classroom relies on different technologies for interactions which build relationships between the instructor and learner, learner to instructor, and from learner to learner. There is a wealth of different technologies that can be incorporated into the online environment.

For the instructor to properly set up an online learning experience, they must be well versed in all of the technology they plan to employ during the course they are facilitating. Being familiar with the basics include: “uploading text documents, setting up and creating discussion forums, and setting up and using the grade book” (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010, p. 57). Appropriate TechnologyIt may be necessary to take a course, complete a tutorial, or attend a workshop yourself to learn about the course management system (CMS) your institution uses, in the preparation for teaching a course online. Initially you may want a use a number of different technology tools in your course. It is best to start out simple with just those that you have mastered the use of, as you gain more skills with technology tools, you can add them to your course. Only add the technology tools that will help accomplish the learning objectives and outcomes not just it exists and can be used (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek (2008). Tools should be used when appropriate and are the best method to achieve the learning objectives.

Learners in any particular course may be familiar to the online environment or it may be their first experience. With this in mind it is important that you communicate clear expectations in regard to many topics they will need to understand. This includes elements they will need to become successful at in navigating the CMS site. Instructional StrategiesYou will need to have a course syllabus, weekly discussions and rubrics, assignments and rubrics, forums for posting bios, contacting the instructor, links for school policies, and instructions on how to access course resources via the school library or other web links (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). Much of the course expectations will be outlined in the course syllabus and rubrics. The syllabus should include an overview of the course, learning objectives and outcomes, what resources and materials the student will need, course technology requirements and some information on support if they encounter any difficulties (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). By clearly outlining the expectations and requirements of the learners, enables learners to plan their other responsibilities around their course work and provide them with a level of comfort in meeting the objectives.

As a new online instructor, there are a lot of different things to consider, to prepare, to design. One of the items that must be kept in mind throughout all of the preparation is “who is your learner audience” (Morrison, Ross, Kalman, & Kemp, 2013). You will need to ask questions regarding your audience and their prior knowledge regarding technology you want to use. You will need to keep an open mind about how you have constructed your course, continually looking for ways to improve the course materials, rubrics, syllabus, and other aspects. As you get questions from the learners you will see where perhaps there is confusion, you may not have been specific enough, or you did not provide enough direction for a new learner to understand the technology. SuccessYou will revise your course a minimum of three times before you get something that truly works for you and your learners (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). Be willing to change up if you see something that is not working. A high level of interaction (presence) on your part during the first couple of weeks will show your students you are interested in their learning and will ensure they have what they need to be successful.

References

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

Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., Kalman, H. K., & Kemp, J. E. (2013). Designing effective instruction (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2008). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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Comments
  1. Robin Ricket says:

    Hi Jordyn,
    Your blog looks fantastic! I enjoyed your post on adapting technology to the online classroom. A quick question: Where can I find the passage you reference here: “You will revise your course a minimum of three times before you get something that truly works for you and your learners (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).” I could not find it in the referenced text and wanted to read up on the subject in greater detail.

    TIA,
    Rob

  2. jordynheche says:

    Rob,

    Thank you for your response. The reference I referred to is found on page 63 of the textbook. In my experience course revision is an ongoing process. In the curriculum I am currently involved in developing, I am already looking to make revisions to what we have already finished, based on knowledge learned in this course. And probably will have additional revisions after we completed the project of the portions we have not even completed. Appreciate your response.

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