1. Understand the time involved with prepping an online course and time you will need to spend per week–Setting up online course is very time intensive. It will take you longer than you think so plan accordingly. Try to get all material prepped early so a department chair or colleague can take a look for you so you are being consistent with the goals of the institution. Make sure to schedule in your time each week to review student material and post to forums.
2. Use a website (one site for texting) to text students/families withouth giving out your phone number. Many families have texting capabilities and it is a good, immediate way to pass on information on assignments or classroom organizaion.
3. Screencastomatic-is a way to narrate (and/or video too) over a screen capture. You can narrate a powerpoint or any other application to give students more direction or provide information to students who have been absent.
4. twitter-Create a course twitter account for announcements and perhaps “shout out” for things well done. If you have a smartphone, you can simply tweet announcements without having to log into a computer.
5. Be able to use a snipping tool- an application to capture information in picture form. Capturing images is important for helping students with what they are dealing with on their personal computers or tablets. One can also use captured images to explain how to do things or provide examples of what is expected. (On windows 7 use the Snipping tool, on a mac use Shift+Apple+4 or use Jing )
6. Documentation-Use the tools for images and screen capture to provide technical documentation for students. This documentation should be step by step directions for how to use any equipment or any application students are required to use. Many institutions and many students use the google apps so here is a link for help with google apps.
7. Provide links for technical support for both hardware and software. youtube has many, many helpful videos or if your institutions subscribes to lynda.com make sure students know how to access the site and search the site for help.
8. Make sure you and students know where to go for help. Most every institution has a Help Desk that is available via phone, email or chat programs and getting help with connectivity or hardware issues can save a student a lot of time and help avoid a lot of frustration.
9. Understand the world of tablets. There are many free apps that can be used to demonstrate and explain concepts to students. If you have access or are comfortable with an ipad, you can check out many online resources to help with using the ipad.
10. Be comfortable with collaborations tools like Blackboard Collaborate or gotomeeting. In addition, WizIQ can be used for free for one year and is a tool to hold synchronous sessions that can be recorded.
11. Blogs are an appropriate tool for education in both instruction and assessment. Know and be comfortable creating and consistently updating a blog. A site like wordpress.com is a great site to host a blog for free and to follow other bloggers.
12. Videos are an important tool for students online too…youtube, TED Talk videos and other instructional videos are available online and from local and college libraries.
13. There is more to searching than google. There is google scholar and most college libraries are online to help with research and with evaluating information. I teach online for Prescott College and the library has a search box right on the library home page.
14. There are sites to search that have varied and multimedia content that can be integrated into course content and that can be used by students as resources. MERLOT is one site and as it states on the home page, “MERLOT is a free and open peer reviewed collection of online teaching and learning materials and faculty-developed services contributed and used by an international education community.”
15. Creating content that is accessible easily and can be updated and still contain a consistent link is important. Audio content can be updated regularly in a podcast format. Podbean is a site where one can host podcasts.
16. Survey tools are an important piece to gaining information from students for constantly evaluating course materials during and at the end of the course. There are survey tools in the moodle learning management system and others such as surveymonkey and google forms.
17. Quizzing software is often available in learning management systems such as moodle and Blackboard. Many publishers provide testbanks for use electronically. In addition, there is Quia which is a website that teachers and students can use to interact with quizzes and surveys.
18. As an online instructor, grade early and grade often. It is important to check the site daily and to keep forum posts moving along. Make sure to state in the syllabus the frequency the site will be checked and what the expectation is for students to check in to the course.
19. Understand all deadlines you set for the course and understand the deadlines for the institution for midterms, finals and when students can withdraw without penalty. Label the dates in the course or use something like quia or google calendar.
20. Create a comprehensive course content structure that is easy to navigate and that allows many reminders and descriptions of course assignments and course expectations. Make sure to align all assignments and quizzes with course expectations and provide ways for students to have input on course structure and on their experiences with the course.
21. To organize web searches and provide libraries of websites on specific topics, use a tool such as diigo. This type of tool is a wonderful and efficient way to organize websites logically and makes sure you don’t lose the good ones in a long list of bookmarks.
22. Many applications to create content are free or have a free version. Sometimes things do follow “you get what you pay for”. Evaluate your tools constantly and do not be afraid to try new things and to let students try new things even if you as the instructor are not comfortable with the tools. Learn and grow and evaluate constantly.
23. We have a large poster in the Faculty Teaching and Learning Center at Carl Sandburg College that reads, “Who Dares to Teach must Never Cease to learn” –John Cotton Dana. I believe this to be true and am reminded of it every day…be open, work hard and embrace this way to reach students who are working to do their best to grow and learn!