Chapter 8 Design of Creative Online Learning Spaces
Chapter Outline • It’s All In The Delivery: How to Effectively Package Instructional Content • Putting It to the Test: Adding Assessments to Your Online Classes • Let’s Chat: Creating Discussion Posting Areas • Tell Me About It: Creating an Announcement Posting Area in Your Online Course • Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Creating a Question-and-Answer Discussion Forum • Adding Those Creative Personal Touches • The Rules of the Road: Your Online Course • So How Do I Make This Happen? Converting Class Notes and Other Learning Activities Into Online Instructional Materials
Chapter Questions • How can leaders convey to others that individualizing online course design is feasible and doable? • How can leaders work with others to understand one does not have to be a computer programmer to design a successful online course? • How can leaders provide professional training in creating online instructional materials? • What are the differences between an online course syllabus and a typical syllabus for a face-to-face course?
It’s All in the Delivery Successfully translating instructional lectures to the visual online classroom format may take some careful planning. It’s important to keep in mind the primarily visual medium of the online classroom. This means packaging what you have to say in a way that is appealing and understandable to your students. So, just like an architect sketches out the layout of a house before beginning to build it, you should also take some time to lay out the structure and flow of your online course before putting it up as Web pages in your online course area.
(1) Break up your instructional materials into modules, or units of content in an online course that are equivalent to a cluster of chapters in a textbook, and topics. (2) Begin with how to be a successful online student. (3) Break up the text in each module and topic into short paragraphs and lists with spacing in between. (4) Add embedded hyperlinks throughout your online reading material. (5) Add Web-based games and other creative learning activities throughout your online lectures. (6) Add graphics and animations to help break up the text and also add interest. (7) Add audios to your online class lessons. (8) Add PowerPoint files to your text-based online lecture notes. How to Teach Online (COI)
Adding Assessments to Your Online Classes • Ungraded Self-Quizzes • One-Minute Papers • Web-Based Open-Book, Open-Notes Tests • Papers and Case Studies
Creating Discussion Posting Areas Peer-to-peer interaction enhances the learning experience overall. In particular, a successful online learning community helps dispel the sense of isolation that an online student can sometimes feel. One way to encourage such peer-to-peer interaction is by the creation of discussion questions. Many online teachers create at least one discussion question per course topic. They require students to post their own thoughts on each question as well as provide a minimum number of responses to peers. Teachers should also engage in these discussions.
Creating an Announcement Posting Area in Online Courses A typical face-to-face course may start with the teacher making some quick announcements before launching into the topic discussion of the day. These announcements may include late-breaking developments, as well as reminders of upcoming due dates for assignments and tests. You can create a similar announcement posting area in your online course. It serves as a convenient equivalent of a bulletin board for students.
Creating a Question-and-Answer Discussion Forum Have you ever sat in a live and in-person class where one student asks a question and not only do you realize you have the exact same question but you also benefit from hearing the teacher give an answer? It’s the same principle with a question-and-answer discussion forum (posting area). Sure, you could respond to student questions via e-mail. But doing so can quickly become unwieldy and inefficient if you happen to get the same question by e-mail multiple times from different students…With the question-and-answer posting area, you can answer the question only one time for all students to see.
Adding Those Creative Personal Touches The image of online instruction as a cold, impersonal correspondence school can be debunked with some creative thinking on your part. There are an infinite number of ways in which you can add your individual touches to your online classroom.
The Rules of the Road: Your Online Course In a typical face-to-face course, the instructor may spend all or part of the first class meeting going over the class expectations. Attention to detail is even more important in the online classroom where you won’t see your students’ faces and be able to talk them through the parts of the syllabus in such a live and in-person class meeting. You will want to try to spell everything out to leave as little room for doubt or confusion as possible. Your contact information, accessibility, due dates for readings and assignments, and the grading and lateness policy are especially important.
Converting Class Notes and Other LearningActivities into Online Instructional Materials Online teachers need to make sure they know what the large conceptual knowledge is for learning. This means beginning with the end in mind. Lessons that introduce concepts should include activators with ways to build on prior/background knowledge and lesson reviews or summarizers at the end of the lesson to provide for some practice of key vocabulary and give the teacher formative conceptual assessment.
Key Principles for Leaders to Know • It is possible to convey your creative individual touches in online course design. 2. You do not have to be a computer programmer to design a successful online course. 3. Online instructional materials should be visually appealing. 4. Online instructional materials can be enhanced with graphic and audio elements.
Key Principles for Leaders to Know, con’t 5. Online instructional materials should be divided into modules and topics. 6. An announcements posting area creates a convenient visual bulletin board for students to find late-breaking developments and course reminders. 7. A question-and-answer posting area is an efficient way to respond to student questions. 8. An online course syllabus should be more detailed than a typical syllabus for a face-to-face course.