How to design an online class

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I am designing my first online class and it is quite the challenge. There are many positives to the online format but also negatives. In addition, I am a student in a doctoral program for teaching and curriculum in education and my goal is to stay away from lecture and PP format because I hope to make the group discussions the central learning piece in this class. So, this class has weekly readings and discussions via the BalckBoard discussion forums. Does any one else have experience with designing online learning and what have you found to be most or least effective?

I completely agree with moving away from “lecture and PP”, but I would caution against removing them completely unless you don’t mind student complaints. Some of my students really want to see these types of things, so I include them as optional resources.

I highly recommend the Quality Matters rubric (if you can find it) as a guide to course development. You can ignore a few things if they are not appropriate to the particular course, but I find that easily 90% of the things on their rubric are reasonable guidelines.

With online classes, it is especially important to provide incentives (points) for doing activities you think are worthwhile. If you want them to read, then give them points for passing a reading quiz. If you want them to post to the discussion board, then develop a rubric and give students points accordingly. On campus, you can often have activities that aren’t tied to grades; students are present and they will generally engage if you have an interesting activity regardless of incentives. That cannot be assumed for online.

Best of luck to you.

In my experience, most students will do the absolute minimum in online discussions.  So be explicit about what you expect them to do (post on multiple days, how often to post, what to post, etc) and be sure to point out to them in feedback just what they did wrong.  I've found this is the best way to work with my first-year students without giving myself a concussion or hurling the computer through the window.

You asked the exact same question in the "Do you 'lecture' in your online class?" thread, and I've answered you there.



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