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Online Course Design Quick Start Guide

Welcome!

The components below have been organized to give you a quick overview of actions you can take to get your fall course up and running. Each item has additional links to resources and live workshops where available. For your convenience, a PDF of this information is available for download HERE.

 

Organization

Provide a “roadmap” for each week or module of the course. The roadmap is a document that gives the learning outcomes, instructional materials, readings, assignments, due dates, study tips, office hours and estimated times for each component. This is the #1 thing you can do to help students successfully navigate your course!

Resource Guides:

Hands-on Workshop:

 

Content Delivery

Chunk content into shorter segments with pauses for reflection or response interspersed. Use synchronous meetings for more interactive sessions and utilize video, text and other resources for more one-way, asynchronous content delivery. Look for open source educational videos that can help supplement your content delivery. If you are making your own videos, you can use Zoom or Camtasia to capture a video of yourself and/or your computer screen. Note: If you want to draw, write equations, highlight things, use CRTL “p” on a PPT slide when in presentation mode to let you write on the screen. An ipad and stylus cam also be used for ease.

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Assessment

Try to provide frequent low-stakes assessment when possible. Focus on assessing the major learning objectives essential to the course. Consider opportunities to use alternatives to traditional proctored exams, if appropriate. Allow for opportunities to practice using any technologies prior to major assessments. Be understanding with student internet disruptions. Be explicit about formats for submitted work. For FERPA protection, do not email student grades or graded work. Instead use the CatCourses platform for all grade related communications.

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Feedback

Aim to provide students as much timely, individual feedback as you comfortably can. Consider using peer review for assignments to have students see the work of peers and get extra feedback on their work. Consider having a deadline for students to submit work for peer review before the actual deadline so they can revise. Consider recording audio feedback rather than written. Consider recording a video after a major assignment or exam for the entire class where you discuss solutions and comment on common errors. You can utilize CatCourses tools to reach out to students with common characteristics to acknowledge successes (like quickly email all the students who did well on a quiz or who improved). Reach out individually to students who are not engaging or who may be struggling.

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Office Hours

Provide regular online meeting times for students to ask questions. Zoom works well for this. Consider using a shared Zoom whiteboard, if appropriate for your discipline. Provide clear instructions to students on how to utilize office hours, both technically but also what office hours are for and what sorts of things students could bring to discuss.

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Engagement

Provide multiple structured mechanisms for students to interact. Examples include active learning strategies, prompted discussion forums, forums for students to self-organize study groups, group assignments, breakout discussions/activities during synchronous Zoom sessions, etc. Provide expectations for “netiquette” in the course.

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Community and Communication

Your presence online is the most important part in building an online community. Provide communications to the class at least weekly, particularly if you are not using synchronous sessions. Remind students of activities for the week (i.e. reinforce the roadmap). Provide motivation for the content or activities. Include an introductory video of yourself at the start of the course. Include “Norms for Communication” into the syllabus and begin building community even before the class begins using a welcoming video and introductions assignment in discussion board. Ask students to post short introductory videos.

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Accessibility

Work with Student Accessibility Services to provide accommodations when requested. Upload any recorded videos to Kaltura and use the auto-captioning feature (for this semester only, you do not need to edit the captions, unless requested). Be mindful of using standard file formats for ease of use with screen readers. Use high contrast colors in slides and webpages.

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