Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Thoughts on Creating an Online Course

I am building an online course that will serve enrolled students in the Master of Arts in Teaching: Educational Technology program at Madonna U.  I am not exactly starting from scratch.  I taught the "Leadership in Technology" course last year in a hybrid form.  I also have received guidance and resources from my colleague, Anne Morris.

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Normally, when one discusses the difference between and online and bricks and mortar course, the immediate issue raised concerns what gets lost when there is no face-to-face contact at a physical location.  In this particular case the "loss" has been minimized by the nature of the hybrid version of the course which preceded it. Last year we met in the evening four times for four hours at a high school. Three of these meetings occurred following a full day's work for each of us.  Needless to say, after a couple of hours of class folks really started to drag.

Despite that fact that I created considerable materials for the online portion of the course last year, I have been facing a number of challenges in moving to an entirely online experience:

1) Though I am experienced in with the Blackboard Learn LMS, I am new to its chat and "virtual room" features.

2) Making a presentation and receiving a critique of a professional development plan was a key feature last year and I wish to maintain it through some kind of webinar experience (suggestions?).

3) I need to make our Discussion Board robust and with Anne's assistance have set up some guidelines for making class online discussion an ongoing part of the class.

4) Though the four hour sessions were challenging, I knew we would have class meetings every couple of weeks where I could explain assignments, sort out logistics and make presentations.  Consequently, I have found myself making lots of screen casts and frankly not every sort of presentation can be replicated easily.  For instance, last year the class requested a presentation on Evernote. So, I accessed an slide deck about Evernote on Slideshare and selected about fifteen of the fifty-one slides for class to accompany my comments.  It was quick and easy.  Replicating this would be fairly cumbersome.

Nevertheless, I am pretty excited about this new experience.  Wish me luck, and if you have any suggestions, please pass them along.

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