Almost 5 years ago, Elizabeth St. Germain summarized 5 most common pitfalls of course design when faculty teach online. This story does not get old as we still encounter similar problems with some online classes. You can read her summary if you click on the link above. Here, I will list the five things she described as the things you SHOULD NOT do in an online course:
- You should not Upload your course materials, then call it a day (to fix it, you can: Rework that hand-out on tedious lab procedures into a colorful, animated slideshow. Bring a historic context to life through links to period paintings, historic sites, or even contemporary Google street views).
- You should not Let the course management system drive your thinking (to fix it, you can: Start by thinking about the kinds of learning experiences you want to create rather than letting the CMS define a more limited view of putting your course online. Then, work with an instructional designer/lead course developer from our team to help you transfer this to D2L).
- You should not Insist on being the “sage on the stage” (to fix it: Your course should be a place where students come to participate in the connections that can be made between your subject and the outside world. Build these bridges into your online course materials, and become a facilitator of these important connections).
- You should not Expect your students to consume knowledge rather than create it (to fix it: Develop content that asks students to recall and apply what they have learned. In an online course, this could mean peppering your online content with quick test-your-comprehension questions or developing exercises that ask students to generate data, capture and upload photos of evidence, research connections to real-world conditions, or create explanatory slideshows).
- You should not Ignore the ways students learn from each other (to fix it, you can: Include assignments that require students to share ideas and resources, present topics to each other, and critique each other’s work. Use online communication tools and collaborative spaces to foster a class-wide web of supportive contact rather than settling into multiple parallel channels between you and each student).