Steps for moving your course online

From Redefining/E-Defining Brock: A Symposium on e-Learning

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How is this accomplished at Brock University?

We are trying to create a list of all the questions that need to be answered, decisions that need to be made, and steps that have to be taken before a course is delivered entirely on-line.

This is a work in progress that has been complied primarily by members of the CTLET. Members of the CTLET are happy to consult on the development of any course or program at Brock University from an instructional design or educational technologies perspective.


[edit] Planning

Some of the initial steps, questions that will need answering, and parties that need to get involved.

  1. Someone in an academic department at Brock University wants to put a course online that is either a new offering or based on an existing offering.
    • This represents a major format change.
    • The Chair and/or Dean need to be informed.
    • A course description and title need to be created.
    • Budget needs to be created. The parties need to be clear about how much this can or cannot mirror a conventional course.
    • A targeted first delivery date/term should be identified. Spring/Summer is an excellent term to "pilot" courses in.
    • Intellectual Property issues & rewards (faculty compensation) should be identified and an agreement, or initial understanding, made.
    • Support issues (PD, tech support, multimedia support) should be identified.
    • The proposal needs to be approved by department/faculty as is appropriate in each department/faculty.
  2. Submit to the proposal to Office of the Registrar and Undergraduate Program Committee (UPC)
    • Academic Consultation - If this course affects any other departments, like cross listings, or if it includes a component delivery by student services, they should be contacted.
    • IT/ET Consultation - ITS, CTLET consultation: IT/ET Consultation form signed by CTLET, ITS
    • Library consultation - Library form signed by library

[edit] Design & Development

The course will need to be developed entirely if it is new or if it is based on an existing course which is to be adapted to be online it will require considerable changes for the online delivery.

    • Instructional Design: Things to generally consider when developing an on-line course:
      • The CTLET recommends following The Concord Consortium's approach to delivering quality e-Learning [1].
        1. Asynchronous collaboration. Participants don't have to be logged on to the course simultaneously; they work in an asynchronous environment in which text-based, threaded discussion and collaborative problem solving form the core learning strategy.
        2. Explicit schedules. Instructors of online courses that rely on collaborative discussions schedule lessons within a specific timeframe so participants can share similar experiences and insights.
        3. Expert facilitation. Online courses are led by a qualified person specifically trained in online facilitation.
        4. Inquiry pedagogy. Designers create effective online courses -- with many specific elements that contribute to sound pedagogy for inquiry learning.
        5. Community building. Course designers and instructors are proactive in designing and nurturing a community culture in which participants are supportive, honest, and willing to take intellectual risks.
        6. Limited enrollment. There are between 12 and 25 participants in a class to keep collaborative learning manageable.
        7. High-quality materials. Course designers include the widest feasible range of media and activities to appeal to different styles of learning.
        8. Purposeful virtual spaces. Online, course designers create explicit structures so the community gets what it needs without interrupting the flow of content-based discussions. Typically included are a "Student Lounge," a "Questions about Assignments," a "Technical Questions," and a "Class Meeting" discussion space for debriefing course experiences.
        9. Ongoing assessment. Online assessment is a continuous, ongoing process. Instructors find evidence of achievement in participants' daily contributions to online discussions. They learn each student's unique voice and approach to solving problems through their postings.
      • Seven Principles of Universal Instructional Design (UID) - UID is a process that involves considering the potential needs of all learners when designing and delivering instruction. The Seven Principles of UID describe how instructional materials and activities should:
        1. be accessible and fair,
        2. be flexible,
        3. be straightforward and consistent and,
        4. be explicit and readily perceived
        5. provide a supportive learning environment,
        6. minimize unnecessary physical effort, and
        7. ensure a learning space that accommodate students and instructional methods.
  1. Assessment
    • Assessments that will be conducted on-line/at-a-distance need to be completed without supervision and without assurances that there is no student collaboration when independent work is required.
    • Assessments that do need to be invigilated can be proctored remotely or on campus. Pat Cane in scheduling has developed a policy outlining how students can retain a proctor for an exam at a remote location. Brock University is also a member of the eLearn Network which provides this service at its locations across Ontario. Student should be aware of their options before the drop date.
  2. Resources and readings for students
    • Electronic Resources
      • What needs to be developed or adapted?
      • Will a publisher's web site/resources be utilized. How will students be given access?
    • Physical Resources
      • Textbooks: Students can buy textbooks online, and the Brock University Campus Store can ship the textbooks to them if they reside outside St. Catharines.
  3. Schedule format - ie; single "LEC" or a "LEC" with secondaries (SEM, LAB, TUT), or will all learning be in small groups?
    • This may have been done during the proposal phase, however there is a good chance the it needs revisiting.
    • Will this course be delivered through one large section of students? Will the instructor/coordinator be then subdividing into small groups?
    • Will this course have a secondary component (SEM, LAB, TUT) with a consistent small group of learners? What size will it be?
    • Will this course consist of only small groups of learners? What size will they be?
    • How will this be coded with the registrar/scheduling?
      • Course delivery coding
        • WWW (replaces the LEC or SEM coding referring to an entirely online course)
        • WEB (replaces the LEC or SEM coding referring to a partially online course with face-to-face components)
        • FLD (often used in special circumstances, created for a select cohort of learners and usually hosted off-site for at least one face-to-face meeting)
        • CLI (clinic course- taken off-campus, may/may not have online component)
      • Location coding
        • VTL (often used as the location for an online course)
        • OC101 (refers to off-campus location, used often in blended courses where there is at least one site-based face-to-face meeting
      • etc....
  4. Roles required
    • Instructor
      • Is this the original course developer as well?
      • Faculty, contract instructor -- mixes and multiples?
  5. TAs/Markers
    • How many are needed?
    • What duties are they performing and can they be assumed to have them or should they contact the CTLET for professional development?

[edit] Delivery

  1. Hire Roles
    • Appoint faculty member or contract instructor (and update scheduling if needed)
    • Hire TAs/Markers
    • Do all Instructors/TAs/Markers have active Brock University CAMPUS IDs? (You'd be surprised how long it takes to get one)
  2. Deliver
    • That simple.
  3. Evaluation
  4. Review
    • As reflective practitioners, all involved should ensure they have a moment to reflect on the experience and record important elements for future delivery of the course. -- The CTLET can facilitate reflection sessions.
    • The department chair should review the course evaluations.
  5. Repeat

[edit] Notes, References and other Resources

  1. The Concord Consortium e-Learning Model for Online Courses, 2002

You can see the discussion from this session in the "talk" area Talk:Steps_for_moving_your_course_online

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