Planning a new online course

My initial thought is how do I tie in the methods of constructing a course to meet the competencies required in the curriculum by the ministry and link all these requirements with a manageable, engaging online community. My biggest challenge at this point is not knowing anything about the host sites like Moodle or Blackboard. It seems easy when I read about creating a discussion forum, or using automated feedback in a quiz, but how is this done? I feel that missing this link is really making all the technology applications that I have learned just seem theoretical at this point because I fear the process of building a course on the LMS. From what I have read I do believe any course can be adapted to the online environment if You Know How.

The three main factors that come to mind are; instructor presence, course objectives and assessment. I chose these three because I believe all the other components, even though they are equally important, will fall into place if the three listed are well established.

Teacher presence: this begins with the construction of the course, establishing a community of learners, supporting the students throughout the course, facilitating learning and guiding the learning journey, building student confidence, adapting content for engagement, offering and requesting feedback, and being available for questions and support and basically just being present for the duration of the course.

Course Objectives: these are often regulated by curriculum requirements but will lay the foundation for all teaching and learning activities that follow. Concepts that must be learned will require different activities and assessments than concepts that require practical application. The whole purpose of the course is to achieve the objectives. They are the driving force of the course or the heartbeat. Everything revolves around the achievement of these objectives

Assessment: How can you know if students have met the course objectives if you have no method of measurement. Assessment is critical throughout all the stages of the course. It starts with finding out what students already know, what life experiences are they bringing in to the course, what is their level of proficiency with technology and language skills, what are students’ expectations. It continues within the course to measure knowledge acquisition along the way. It highlights areas that are not clear and what students can and can’t do. Assessment provides the opportunity too make adaptations to the course to ensure success. Final assessments demonstrate if students have met the objectives and if their learning was successful. Designing assessment based on the identified learning objectives provides the blueprint for the design of content and activities, choice of media and delivery options and basically forms the foundation for the development of the course.

To sum up my learning experience this far I can identify with Phil Jupitus in the video below when he discovers what seems like the sun is not the sun, just a mirage. “It’s just not there!” I feel that all my years of teaching “are just not there” when I look at creating and facilitating an online course. What seemed second nature to me “just like seeing the sun” is now a mirage and I need to discover where the sun really is. Where are my learners and how can I connect with them in a meaningful way through cyber connections?

Enjoy the video

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About Karin Potgieter

Originally from South Africa, I have been privileged to enjoy the beautiful lifestyle of Canada. My career in Early Childhood Education has been motivating, ranging from the endearing relationships with the children and families of the Preschool that I owned to the inspirational interactions with my students as instructor of the Early Childhood Education Certificate Program. My qualifications include a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, Early Childhood Education Certificate, Provincial Instructors Diploma and en route to completing the Certificate in Online/eLearning Instruction.
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