50 tips to develop and run your online courses

Before the course begins:

1. Make certain you are familiar with all the software and hardware you intend to use in your online content or course

2. Create the projects you expect your students to create to determine the difficulties they may face when trying to execute certain tasks.

3. If not using a school-adopted learning management system or course management system, create a wiki or class webpage complete with areas for faculty contact, sharing news, and resources.

4. Create an FAQ board for questions and answers about the course

In the beginning:

5. When addressing students, learn to use the global command that is common in most LMS to personalize messages by adding a student’s name. For example, create your course welcome by writing, “Welcome to our class together {firstname},“ which then appears as “Welcome to our class together, Joe.”

6. Introduce yourself as the instructor, offering both professional and (some) personal information to personalize your online presence for your students’ future learning experience and request that students do the same. Provide an instructor image and optionally request that students do so as well. This introductory period is also a great time to discuss students’ reasons/purposes for participating in the content or course and what they are hoping to gain from the experience.

7. Offer a detailed syllabus so students have an outlined understanding of the content/course objectives, course expectations, calendar due dates, grade points/percentages for each assignment, office hour information and overall grading system.

8. Foster a community of good digital citizenship with a set of online guidelines, expectations and procedures. For example, with regard to online student discussions, state how many words you expect (e.g. 200-250 words per response), and explain any request to respond to other students’ responses.

9. Arrange for times to meet with students as a group outside of the online environment incorporating hands-on lessons, especially when using unfamiliar technology and with younger age groups. You may also want to meet as a group at the beginning of the class and at the end of the class for more personalization, if possible.

During the course

10. Use case studies, current events, and videos as materials for discussions, in addition to text.

Next page: How to be a supportive, responsive instructor


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