- Create a
course that is easy to navigate and provide easy access to
- Provide students with
thorough information and training on the communication tools they will
be required to use.
- Provide simple rules for
- Use Blackboard
Announcement area to post regular weekly communication and special
changes and updates, to clarify the syllabus and schedules, to remind
students about due dates and special events, to note computer access
problems. Be redundant by using email and discussion board to
distribute important news.
- Set rules for email to
prevent a deluge of messages – There is no need to respond to
the same question over and over. Students should use email for personal
and confidential communication only; other messages should be posted to
the common classroom space.
- Set up a separate
discussion forum for asking questions about the class – Ask
students to wait 24 hours before following up with email.
a separate forum for peer support and networking activities.
class discussion forums by topic or week and consider limiting time
students can add comments to the forum.
- Use chat
for online office hours or a question and answer session.
students to use the digital drop box to submit assignments.
How much of your course material should
you actually make available to students at one time? Should students
have access to all course content? Or will you release content
Providing access to all content upfront
has advantages and disadvantages that you should consider before making
- Promotes better understanding
of what the course involves.
- Students can work
- All materials and assignments must be ready
- Instructor’s workload is heavier
as all areas must be monitored at the same time.
class cohesiveness and detracts from the sense that the class as a
whole moves and learns together.
Online learning takes more time due
to technical reasons such as network congestion and the so-called click
time students spend accessing online material. Online courses must be
as rigorous as onsite classes, so provide adequate time for students to
delve deeply into the material - don’t overwhelm students
with materials and tasks with limited payoff.
Student Behavior Online
Raises issues only tangentially related to the topic, begins new discussion threads unnecessarily, etc.
- Email this person, but treat the problem as a technical one reminding the student of the guidelines for participation
- Provide the student with some personal attention through email, but encourage sharing in the student lounge.
- In the chat room, have clear rules and if needed block the noisy student
- Require a minimum level of participation
- Use Blackboard tracking tools to assess participation
- Use email to gently urge quiet students to participate
- Check if any technical problems exist or unclear procedures
- Ask them to share something worthy of note they submitted to you
- Encourage them to ask a question
Takes over discussion, questions the course design, contradicts the instructor, may be abusive, etc.
- Post code of conduct at the beginning of the class
- Provide a link to the institution’s honor code
- Assert your authority
- Don’t be provoked
Teaching Online: A
Practical Guide by Susan Ko and Steve Rossen
Print this page