Transforming your Course

Teaching face to face and teaching online require different approaches.  If you are teaching your class the same way you would if it were face to face, you need to consider making some changes to be most effective. Are you interested in learning more about best practices in online learning? Take a look at the Top 10 practices for teaching online.  Want a more hands on experience with the help of instructional designers?  Request an appointment with an Instructional Technologist!

Change 1: Increase course interactivity -- infuse your presence into your course

In distance education the level of course interactivity needs to be MORE than it is in the face to face classroom. Consider these resources to help you- if you need help with any of the items below, register for training!

  • The eLearning Guild guide to increasing course interactivity
  • Create a Welcome video to put inside an annoucement or module
  • Consider using Zoom web conferencing, Google Hangouts or Hangouts On Air
  • Use screencasts and videos to vary the ways content is received by students

Change 2: Leave no doubts about communication

Discussion forums, annoucements, and email messages are the main ways you will communicate with your students. Try recording your introductory information in a presentation and doing something similar with your lectures or key points of material. Online students often feel isolated - they need to know you are there to help them every step of the way.

  • Are you nervous about or need a little help in the discussion forum area?  Try this advice.
  • Provide constant feedback -- respond to questions within 24 hours and give feedback on assignments and assessments within a week

Change 3: Syllabus - Another Communication Device

Your syllabus is the guide for your students throughout the course, give them something they can use to plan. Learn more about the Syllabus tool in Canvas in a training!

Change 4: Building your own Orientation Program

Your orientation should happen right away at the start of class (do you want to make it a presentation they can watch? You do a lot of "house keeping" that first day of class - this is your opportunity to do your own online classroom house keeping.  Make it your first assignment!  It should include the following things.

  • Introduction to the course (what is it exactly that's going to happen? What the overall goal?)
  • Teacher expectations of students
    • This can live in your syllabus, but students need to be told exactly what you expect from them and when you expect it. Everything from when they should read, to where to go for assignments, to how to address you (Dr? Professor? Mr/Mrs? Hey teacher?)
  • Make them show familiarity with Canvas
    • Take an orientation quiz
    • Post an introduction of themselves in the discussion forum (this also builds community!) Encourage posting an avatar (scroll to bottom)!

More Information on Redesigning for the Online Environment