Begin with the End in Mind
For many faculty teaching online, course creation is iterative: write and organize, teach, and re-write and re-organize based on formative and summative assessments. In many ways, this process may not vary from your face-to-face teaching experiences.
A good axiom to follow when creating an online course is to begin with the end in mind. Your course goals and learning objectives should guide your decisions as you develop instructional events to help students successfully achieve the desired course outcomes. In general, developing an effective online course requires identifying and creating both activities and core content.
Although you can begin development by creating either the activities or content first, many faculty find developing the activities first helps them to more effectively construct the core content (e.g., what conditions, knowledge, and information the students will need to complete the activity successfully). Best practices in online teaching and learning promote activities which are learner-centered, practical, and relevant.
Again, your course goals and learning objectives help guide your design of instructional activities. Look at the learning objectives you drafted for your course. What type of activities would enable students to demonstrate mastery of learning objectives? Can you think of one activity which would enable students to demonstrate mastery of the course goals? If so, such an activity may make an effective final course project. When employing a culminating activity, you may want to design other activities throughout the course to help students develop the knowledge and skills needed to complete this final project successfully.
Webcourses@UCF offers a wide selection of technology tools to develop a variety of activities. Remember to select the most effective tool to meet the learning objectives. Essentials of Webcourses@UCF is a self-paced online course you might consider taking to learn more about your options.
If you approached development of your online course by identifying the activities first, then ask yourself, “What knowledge and skills do students need to successfully complete the activity?” The information you identify when addressing this question comprises the core content.
Core content can include written lectures, presentations, printed materials, secondary sources, as well as audio and video resources.
- Storytelling: Embed real-world situations into course concepts to help students understand the relevance of course information.
- Short sentences: Compress your sentences into subject-predicate to emphasize the content and make reading online easier.
- Motivate: Use your content to inspire students to continue and complete the course.
After developing your course with activities and core content, you are ready to deliver or implement it.