10 Proven Steps to Accelerate Your Online Course, Part 2
In part one of this two-part post, we discussed the first five steps (and offered tips) to accelerate your online course. Remember: Many online learners are non-traditional students who have full time jobs and responsibilities in the home—to best set them up for success, we accelerate courses to provide them a feasible track towards a degree.
Here are the remaining six steps (don’t skip the first five!):
Step 6: Include multiple options for media. Students in 21st century online courses are accustomed to multi-sensory inputs via computers, tablets, and cell phones— these students tend to be adept at finding resources and media on any subject. Enhance your online course by offering multiple forms of media instead of simply posting “talking head” videos of the professor. More importantly, instructors can save time by using existing open-licensed videos, such as TEDx and YouTube. Multimedia examples:
- Introduction video—sets the tone for the course, clearly defines expectations, and allows the students to connect with and have insight into your personality. View a sample introduction video.
- Micro-lectures—chunk information into short (7 minutes or less) video clips to keep students’ attention.
- Avoid discussing assignment due dates or similar information that will date the video.
- Interject a closing question or activity for the student to think about or complete before they view the next video.
Step 7: Design opportunities for discussions. When you provide ways for students to discuss and reflect on course content, you increase student engagement, interaction, and learning. You could use the LMS’s tradition threaded discussions, or other discussion formats like wikis or blogs. Tips for designing and managing discussions:
- Provide examples of an exemplary, mediocre, and poorly written discussion post.
- Use the discussion board as a platform to incorporate current events in the media, since the course is developed in advance.
- Use the discussion board to address early warning signs, gaps in learning, and to recap the weekly successes via a group announcement.
- Utilize the randomized groups function in the LMS to create small group discussions.
- Follow these 9 Strategies to Ensure Successful Course Discussions.
Step 8: Incorporate a wide-range of readings. By offering students a variety of readings, you create a rich, robust learning environment that introduces students to varying author and expert perspectives. Reading formats could include articles, books, e-books, self-authored materials, or blogs from field experts.
Step 9: Meaningfully incorporate technology. When used purposefully, technology is a crucial component to engage students, connect with students, and address learning preferences. Technology could include Web 2.0 tools and social media.
- Resources for understanding available technologies: Faculty eCommons; Teaching Without Walls; Resources You Need: Top Picks for June
Step 10: Incorporate feedback from course reviews. When reviewing your course’s effectiveness and planning improvements, incorporate student feedback and course data. Also consider the teaching experience.
- Tips for improving course quality: Review the Quality Matters standards and Sloan Consortium scorecard, and check for ADA compliance, and reflexive redesign.
You Turn! Accelerating a course can be a challenging process. Has our 10-step process helped you or inspired you to look a course acceleration in a different light? What steps or advice would you add to the ones above?