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The Prudent Professor's Guide to Online Course Design The Prudent Professor's Guide to Online Course Design Presentation Transcript

  • The Prudent Professor’s Guide to Online Course Design Janette Becerra University of Puerto Rico at Cayey [email_address]
  • This presentation provides a checklist of things you never had to worry about in the traditional classroom in terms of…
    • Pre-work
    • Online environment
    • Course content
    • Assessment
    • Legal aspects
  • PRE-WORK
    • Are you qualified (certified and/or trained) to be an online instructor?
    • What is your timeline for developing this course?
    • Do you need to schedule ongoing consultations with an instructional designer or with technological staff at your institution’s Office of Information Technology?
  • PRE-WORK
    • How many students will you have? How will that affect the amount and type of assignments you plan for the course, and your ability to provide thorough, timely feedback?
  • PRE-WORK
    • What teaching strategies do you use in the traditional classroom? How will you do this in an online environment?
    • Will your students be technologically literate?
  • ONLINE ENVIRONMENT
    • Is your site visually attractive, with simple, clean lines ?
      • Good example
      • Bad example
    • Is the site easy to navigate (“intuitive navigation”)?
    • Are font styles and content  layout consistent throughout the course?
    • Does the site clearly state the course code, title, department and name of the instructor?
  • ONLINE ENVIRONMENT
    • Does the site clearly explain the minimum hardware and software requirements (compatible operating systems, browsers, plug-ins, broadband speed, etc.), or better yet: does it have a “browser check” button?
  • ONLINE ENVIRONMENT
    • Does the site link to an introductory tutorial on the learning system (Moodle, Web CT or Blackboard, etc.)?
    • Does the site link to technical support and other course-relevant support services for students (e.g., Library, Disability Office, Writing Assistance, Computer Lab Assistance, Counseling, Ombuds, etc.)?
  • ONLINE ENVIRONMENT
    • “ The first day of class”: tone, rapport, student engagement.
      • Have you provided a personal welcome message that includes a variety of media (e.g., image, audio, video, text, etc.)?
      • Are you giving students the opportunity to introduce themselves to you and their classmates?
  • ONLINE ENVIRONMENT
    • How does the site use both verbal and non-verbal language?
    • Are graphics used wisely in your site?
    • Does every folder in your site have content?
    • Are all links active?
    • Does every hypertext link connect to a body of material, not just to another button, folder, or link?
  • ONLINE ENVIRONMENT
    • Do all external links open in a new window?
    • If using multimedia, is it stored on an
    •   appropriate server (e.g., podcasts, blogs, etc.) rather than uploaded to the LMS?
  • COURSE CONTENT
    • Is the course organized in modules or teaching units that are clearly identified, described and connected?
    • Is the first module or unit titled “Introduction” (or equivalent term) and does it contain the course syllabus, schedule, etc.?
  • COURSE CONTENT
    • Does the syllabus comply with all institutional and departmental requirements AND also lists clear expectations in terms of:
      • Students’ participation standards
      • Due dates of assignments
      • Instructor response time and availability (turn around time for email, grade posting, virtual office hours, etc.)
      • Netiquette rules? (See model provided with this presentation)
  • COURSE CONTENT
    • Is your syllabus clear on how you will handle students’ non-compliance with certain online tasks when they allege unexpected power outages, connection problems or computer malfunction?
  • COURSE CONTENT
    • Are all textbooks and other reading materials available for purchase online or through electronic retrieval?
    • Is each unit or module designed on the basis of clearly expressed learning objectives? Are those objectives  measureable ? 
  • COURSE CONTENT
    • Are learning objectives and guidelines given to students at the beginning of each new module or topic, instead of giving them all guidelines at the beginning of the course?
      • checklists, rubrics, practice tests, sample documents
    • Are subsequent modules kept hidden or locked until a certain date?
  • COURSE CONTENT
    • Is content presented in a way that supports learning objectives, is engaging, understandable, and caters to multiple learning styles?
  • COURSE CONTENT
    • Do you use file-naming conventions that help you and your students easily recognize the file at a glance?
      • In these examples, the "M" stands for Module.
        • Lecture Notes M1.ppt
        • Study Guide M1.doc
        •  
      • Assignments and forums (or discussion areas) should be similarly named:
      •  
        • Assignment 1 M1.doc
        • Assignment 2 M2.doc
        • Discussion Area M1
        • Discussion Area M2
  • COURSE CONTENT
    • Is site set up to allow instructor to provide frequent and timely feedback to students throughout the semester?
    • Are expectations regarding student-to-instructor and student-to-student interaction in the course clearly defined?
  • COURSE CONTENT
    • Does the course include multiple methods of communication to encourage student engagement, including but not limited to chat, email, discussion questions, calendar, surveys, announcements, wikis, blogs, etc.?
  • COURSE CONTENT
    • Do assignments, quizzes and exams measure the learning objectives?
    • Have you clearly stated the way in which grades on individual assessments translate to a course grade?
  • COURSE CONTENT
    • Have you designed effective tests?
    •  
      • Set of rules for online tests (open book tests, time limits, etc.)
      • Classroom tests administered by instructor or proctor
      • Indisputability of your tests
  • COURSE CONTENT
    • Are you familiar with and ready to use the electronic grade book?
    • Are content and instructional materials up-to-date?
    • Did you check all course documents and assignments for spelling and grammar?
  • ASSESSMENT (not counting toward the final grade)
    • Does the course evidence the use of summative assessment techniques?
        • Of students’ learning
        • Of each learning module or unit
        • Of students’ feedback on how to improve the course 
        • Of students’ feedback on how you can improve as an instructor
  • ASSESSMENT
    • Does the course evidence the use of formative assessment techniques?
        • Students’ self-evaluations
        • Practice tests and quizzes
  • LEGAL ASPECTS
    • Does the course site comply with the ADA Act and Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as state laws governing accessibility requirements?
        • Every content element must have a text equivalent that can be read by assistive devices, etc.
        • Consult with your institution’s technological and legal staff.
        • Visit http://www.washington.edu/accessit/webpslegal.html for details
  • LEGAL ASPECTS
    • Are synchronous activities (chat, live sessions, etc.) optional ?
  • LEGAL ASPECTS
    • Is your course in compliance with copyright legislation?
        • TEACH Act
        • For specifics, visit: http://www.copyright.com/Services/copyrightoncampus/basics/teach.html
        • Also visit:
        • http://www.usg.edu/legal/teach_act/
        • http://www.library.pitt.edu/guides/copyright/faqanswers.html
        • for detailed descriptions of possible copyright infringements regarding links to external web sources, video or audio in an online course.
  • LEGAL ASPECTS
    • Does your site clearly warn students against plagiarism?
        • Explain academic and legal consequences
        • Provide links to style manuals
        • Benefit from free plagiarism detection tools such as Plagium, Approbo, PlagiarismDetect and Doccop or purchased software such as Turnitin .
        • BEWARE: students’ legal claims have and could come up! For more information, visit:
        • http://www.immagic.com/eLibrary/ARCHIVES/GENERAL/CHRON_HE/C020517F.pdf (2002) and compare to subsequent court rulings:
        • 2004: Student wins legal battle to refuse to submit to Turnitin:
          • http://edition.cnn.com/2004/LAW/01/21/ctv.plagiarism/
        • 2008: Students lose battle:
          • http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2008/03/clickthrough_ag.htm
  • LEGAL ASPECTS
    • Have you considered the tone of your responses to students?
    • Are you using private email for sensitive communications?
  • LEGAL ASPECTS
    • Are you prepared to be evaluated, both by peers and students, in areas such as…:
      • Level of both YOU and your STUDENTS’ interaction in the course discussions and other communications
      • Response time to students assignments and communications
      • Functionality and quality of links, graphics, etc.?
      • Language use?
    • … every “day”?
  • A “prudent” professor is one who…
    • Exercises skill and good judgment in the use of resources
    • Acts with caution or circumspection as to danger or risk
    • Acts with or shows care and thought for the future
    • ONLINE TEACHING is the future.
    • Embrace it with prudence .
  • Other useful resources:
    •  
    • Vai, Marjorie, and Kristen Sosulski. Essentials of Online Course Design. A Standards-Based Guide. Routledge: New York (2011).
    •  
    • “ Best Practices in Designing Online Courses”, Las Positas College, California
    • http://lpc1.clpccd.cc.ca.us/lpc/blackboard/best_practices/