Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

Archive for March 2016

Creating Quality Online Courses: Instructional Material

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Creating Quality Online Courses: Instructional Material

There are many types of instructional material available for you to use in your online course, everything from self-developed, to publisher ready content. The following is a partial list of resources available to you:

  • Self-Created materials
  • Publisher Ready Content
  • YouTube Videos
  • Website Links
  • Textbook Materials
  • Open Source Content

It is your responsibility to choose the materials presented to your students. The instructional materials contribute to the achievement of the course learning objectives. As we learned in in the Course Overview section of this series, it is also important that you keep everyone informed of how the materials are to be used and when.

Be an example to your students and make sure all instructional materials used in the course are appropriately cited and current. Use a variety of instructional materials to reach a mixture of learning styles, and because you are using variety of materials make sure you clearly distinguish between required and optional materials.

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Creating Quality Online Courses: Assessments

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Creating Quality Online Courses: Assessments

In the previous post, we talked about learning outcomes or objectives, this session concerns assessments. As we are all aware, assessments are measurements of learning. Your job as the instructor is to assure your assessments align with your learning objectives. You are responsible to decide what evidence is acceptable as proof of knowledge, that your students have accomplished the learning outcomes. This proof reflects as much on you, the instructor, as it does on the students. Yes you will have unprepared students, but you should also view this as an opportunity to judge your course materials for effectiveness. How well your students perform on the assessments can reflect great course materials or the need to enhance or further develop your materials.

Assessments begin well before the first student takes an exam. Assessments are a part of the backbone of the course and based on your learning outcomes. A lot of consideration needs to happen in the design of the course. Assessments are not just about quizzes and essays it is about making sure learning outcomes are achieved. Make sure the assessments measure the stated learning objectives or competencies.

In addition to setting up the assessments in an online course, the course grading policy must be clearly stated, preferably in the syllabus, as well as on each activity. Make sure that criteria for completion of each assessment is available prior to the start of the assessment and make sure the assessment instruments are varied, and suited to the learner work being assessed.

Students must also be given multiple opportunities to track their learning progress. If they do not know their weakness how can they address the problems.

The online environment is very different from the traditional classroom. Much too often we want to focus on the amount of time a student sits in a seat, but if that is the case, we are focusing on the wrong end of the student. Time on task is important, but it is not everything. Our true objective is the learning. Assessments should accurately measure the learning of students as well as the materials provided in the classroom to teach the various concepts. Kept this concept in mind when designing the online classroom.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

March 21, 2016 at 9:00 am

Creating Quality Online Courses: Learning Objectives

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Creating Quality Online Courses: Learning Objectives

It is a simple concept, if you are trying to learn how to fly a plane, but your objectives talk about driving a car, how have you accomplished your goals? It is extremely difficult to get to where you are going when you do not have a road map. Learning Objectives or outcomes lay out the path for the student and the faculty. They keep you headed in the right direction and allows students to understand why they are learning each concept.

When course objectives are established, they need to be measurable. Read the Learning Objective below and describe how you would measure the students learning based on the statement.

Understand how the solar system was formed.

This statement does not contain measurable objectives. To make the objective measurable, Verbs must be used. Blooms Taxonomy contains an outstanding list of verbs that can be used to make the objective measurable, see the following http://www.apu.edu/live_data/files/333/blooms_taxonomy_action_verbs.pdf .

Now read the following Learning Objective and see how much easier it is for you to determine if students have learned the outcomes.

Students will be able to list and describe the four steps that occur in the creation of solar systems.

In addition to the course learning objectives, which is a broad overview of the course, you must make sure the module/unit learning objectives are measurable and consistent with the course-level objectives.

To keep the roadmap clear, you will need to align the module objectives with the course objectives. This goes back to the flying example given earlier. If your course objective is talking about flying, why are you telling the student about driving a car? Is there a relationship between the two objectives? You must draw clear lines to help the students understand why they are learning to drive a car especially since they signed up to learn to fly a plane.

This whole concept is the heart of course design. You are telling students what they will learn and guiding them through the process of learning the concepts. Students may not be able to correlate the relationship between course and module objectives, but you are the expert and it is your job to show them how things connect. Remember the old Karate Kid movie, wax on, wax off. It was not until Mr. Miyagi showed Daniel the correlation between wax on, wax off and karate, that he understood the concept of objectives.

Creating Quality Online Courses: Course Overview

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Creating Quality Online Courses - Course Overview

When you are learning something new sometimes it is hard to know where and how to get started, that is why it is important for instructors to give clear instructions on getting started. Even if students have taken online courses prior to enrolling in yours, each class is different. To get students off to a good start give them an overview of the purpose and structure of the course. Make it clear how to get started and where to find various course components.

It is also important to inform students of your expectations in the class. What do you expect of them in their communication with you and fellow classmate? How should they address you? How should they treat fellow classmates? You are the one setting the tone for the class; if you permit rude behavior then it will happen. Let student’s know your expectations and the consequences of not living up to those expectancies. In addition to your class policies, you need to address institutional policies. That can be as simple as putting a link to the various policies.

Another problem that needs addressing immediately is the classroom. You are not in a traditional classroom. Student know how to operate in a traditional classroom, but are they aware of the technology requirements of the online class. It is your job to make them aware of the minimum technology requirement. If you are using a Learning Management System, make sure you let the students know how to get there, any additional software needed for the class, and any hardware needs such as webcams. In addition, you should provide them with any competencies they need from a technical viewpoint to pre-requisite courses they should have completed.

In a traditional classroom, day one usually involves you introducing yourself to the class and them introducing themselves to you and the class. Learners should be ask to introduce themselves to the class using something like the discussion board. The instructor should also introduce themselves to the class. This can be in the form of discussion board or video.

Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

March 7, 2016 at 9:00 am

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