Instructional Designers' Lens
Design Develop Teach Evaluate
Once the course content has been developed, it is time to deliver the course content to the students and teach the course. During this phase, the efficacy of your course design will be assessed and established.
The Successful Online Teacher
While effective face-to-face teaching and management strategies may be familiar to you, the online learning environment presents different challenges and benefits that will require you to adapt those familiar strategies and add new approaches. Teaching in an online environment demands a distinct set of skills since many of the approaches and methods linked with best teaching practices are impacted by the online environment. To effectively deliver an online course it is important to understand the skills needed to be a successful online teacher.
The Faculty Focus article, Guidelines for Online Teaching Success by Mary Bart, describes a set of requirements for being a successful online instructor that provide a useful starting point for self-reflection.
When teaching your online course, you should always consider your students’ perspective as they engage with your course content. It is best practice to try to view your course as a student would. This will help prevent confusion on the part of your students. To learn more about instructor presence in an online course, check out the resources below.
Facilitating Your Course
Devising a plan in advance for managing the delivery of your online course will allow you to focus attention on interaction with students during the course delivery. Developing a course facilitation plan will help you organize the workload associated with facilitating your online course. A course facilitation plan is a schedule of tasks the instructor must complete throughout the duration of the course to ensure the students are engaged with the content, informed about pertinent events, and provided with effective and timely feedback. Listed below are some resources that will assist you in facilitating your online course.
Until you have surveyed your students concerning your online course, what do you really know? We know that frequent and useful feedback to students can serve to reinforce learning goals and foster a positive learning community, but that’s just one side of the coin. On the other side, students also need opportunities to provide feedback to their instructors. Anonymous student surveys serve this purpose very effectively. Ultimately, if your goal for teaching online is to provide students with a valuable learning environment, then you should consider implementing student surveys in your course to solicit feedback, and then you should also also have some plan for utilizing that feedback.
Here are some sample questions you could include in a midterm survey:
- On a scale of 1-5 (1-easy to 5-difficult) how would you rate your overall experience with navigating the course and completing the assignments?
- The organization of the course is consistent making it easy to locate course materials and assignments. (Agree or Disagree)
- The course schedule was easy to locate and clearly outlines all the assignments and when they are due. (Agree or Disagree)
- The announcements help me to stay on track in the course? (Agree or Disagree)
- The criteria used to evaluate my participation in online discussions are clearly stated. (Agree or Disagree)
- On a scale of 1-3 (1-relevant to 3-not relevant) how would you rate the discussion topics so far?
- So far the instructor has given sufficient feedback on graded assignments and progress in the course. (Agree or Disagree)
- The grading criteria used to evaluate the course assignments are clearly stated. (Agree or Disagree)
- The grades I have received accurately match my achievement of the grading criteria? (Agree or Disagree)
- On a scale of 1-3 (1-relevant to 3-not relevant) how would you rate the relevance of the assignments in this course?
- I have been given sufficient opportunities to interact with the instructor and my peers in the course>? (Agree or Disagree)
- I received sufficient support when I needed assistance with technology or had questions about course assignments. Or, if I need such assistance in the future, it’s clear where to find it? (Agree or Disagree)
- The instructional media (images, videos, text) presented in the course were useful in preparing for the assignments and quizzes? (Agree or Disagree)
- If you were the instructor of this course what would you want to change immediately?
- If you were the instructor of this course what could you do to be more accommodating to students?
- What is the most difficult aspect of this course?
- Type in additional comments concerning this course in text box below.
If you want honest answers to those questions you may need to provide students with some incentives for completing the survey. Giving extra credit points can be a good incentive. In addition, you also need to be clear on the expectations. You can start by doing the following:
- State that the survey is anonymous. Make sure this is clearly stated somewhere outside the survey.
- Include some questions in the survey that address the confidentiality of the survey.
- Clearly state how you will use the responses to improve the course. Don’t just say, ”thanks here are your points” or “thanks I look over that later.” Instead, include some of the not so favorable statistics in the next announcement to students and discuss how you which modifications you can make in the course now to accommodate their needs.
- For those unfavorable statistics that can’t easily be dealt with in the current semester, provide some explanation to students as to why and offer some outlet for further discussions, such as, a new discussion forum or additional office hours where they may continue to share their concerns with you.
Contact CIRT if you would like a copy of the standard midterm survey added to your course.
At the end of most courses taught at UNF, students complete the Instructional Satisfaction Questionnaire (ISQ). The ISQ measures students’ perceptions of their learning experience. The information you receive from students in the ISQ can assist you in reviewing your course before the next iteration. Teaching is a reflective process. Each time you teach your online course, you will learn strategies that you can use to improve your course in the future.
The article Reflective Teaching gives some insight into this process.
The article Reflective Teaching gives some insight into this process.
Ending Your Course
Congratulations you have successfully facilitated your online course! Having a plan for how to effectively end your course will help you and your students reach the end on a positive note.
Tips for Ending Your Online Course
- If you have a final exam in your course, set up a study session (online through Collaborate). You can do a pre-recorded session, or have it open for question/answer.
- Let students know when all of the grades will be entered in Bb (or let them know when they are entered if you don't have a timeline). Be sure to also submit grades in MyWings.
- Remind students to complete their ISQs - remind them when they become available, and once more before the window closes. It is effective to communicate to students why the ISQ is important and how the information is used, both by you as the instructor, and by the institution as a whole. For more information about effective strategies to increase response rates, see Response Rates and the Online ISQ Process.