10 Key Suggestions for Online Instruction

Here’s my suggestion given my readings and workings with teachers developing and teaching online courses.

1.    Teachers should provide regular effective feedback and guidance to students
a.    Some course tools such as the assessment tool can provide immediate feedback on individual student performance
b.    Students can give feedback to each other on performance
c.    Some publisher site activities are designed to provide instant feedback on performance
2.    Course design should include authentic activities that are designed so that students learn to apply what they have learned to real world scenarios, i.e., anchored instruction/active learning
3.    Teachers should design activities that connect new content to be learned with students’ existing knowledge structures
a.    Pre-test students on material to be learned by creating an assessment or asking all students to answer a series of questions.  Content presented by the teacher is dependent on students’ answers
b.    Teacher summarizes what was learned in module one and explains relationship of it with material to be learned in module two
4.    Class should include a variety of collaborative (paired or small group) activities so that students develop awareness of diverse perspectives and to promote classroom community
5.    Provide course resources (scaffolds) for under-prepared students
a.    Prepare materials or locate resources to help those under-prepared students
6.    Make use of time management techniques and course tools to keep students organized and on task
a.    Create a course check-in routine that students follow every time they log into the course
b.    Make use of course tools like the calendar and get students used to checking it to alert them of pending deadlines and assessments
c.    Hide/Reveal course content to focus students’ attention on current and upcoming course activtities
7.    Online course materials should be designed to work in tandem with on ground materials, e.g., textbooks
a.    Course materials in books, textbooks, and handouts do not necessarily  need to be converted to present in your course
b.    Online course materials can act as an advance organizer to students’ on ground materials, i.e., textbooks, etc.
c.    If online materials are a duplicate of paper handouts, then students will likely read one or the other but not both
8.    Class activities should require students to make use of multiple sources of information including the Internet, library databases, etc., in completing assignments.
9.    Course should be designed so that students can easily find what work they’re supposed to be doing, when it’s due, where in the course they have to do the work, and how they’re going to be assessed on their work.
a.    See time management technqiues in number six
b.    Create a table/matrix that displays time  period, activity, due date, toolset being utilized, and method of assessment.
10.    Course should include pre-course (before course begins) and during course assessments to help students assess their readiness prior to instruction and graded activities
a.    Make use of college pre-course readiness assessment so students can determine their level of preparedness to begin the class
b.    Create readiness assessments prior to grade assessments to help students check their understanding

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Some times it seems like we’re…

Some times it seems like we’re better at technology integration than people interoperability. But we humans are the original mashups, right?

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Authentic educational activities and Twitter…

Here’s an interesting museum blog article from about a year and a half ago on the lessons that museums can learn from Twitter as well as an article at Mashable on using Twitter in journalism.  I’m glad that the latter article’s resources have largely been compiled by journalists.  Teachers might be able to use some of these resources to connect with journalists with the hopes that students can vicariously follow and communicate with the journalists  through the process of their developing a news article.  The museum blog looks at Twitter’s functionality and how it affects communication stream and subsequently people’s thinking  and action through Twitter use.

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Twitter still too new for most faculty

Both the Chronicle of Higher Ed and Campus Technology magazine cited a national survey of faculty re Twitter use and as you might expect the majority of faculty don’t use Twitter on any regular basis.  Clearly, this like Facebook is a new tool and faculty are already inundated with other work so unless they’ve got some time to experiment, Twitter may seem like another layer of work.

My two cents…  Most new technologies require some experimentation and sharing of results with colleagues at both your school and others before you really reap the benefits of your time and results with your students.  Fortunately, most of these new technologies require little “mechanics’ time” to learn.   Most time is spent researching trying to find out what other colleagues have done with Twitter and how they’re using it in the classroom.  Here’s to more organized sharing!

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Keep hoping that browsers stay…

Keep hoping that browsers stay speedy but look at Firefox. With every revision it moves like a turtle than a fox. Remember Word 5. Whats up?

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Can’t believe school is starti…

Can’t believe school is starting already again. School really reminds how cyclical life is…

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