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10 Things to Know - Online Course Creation
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10 Things to Know - Online Course Creation

Moving your face-to-face course online to your college Learning Management System (LMS) can be an intense task.  What will you have to change in your course?  How can you keep your learners engaged? Thinking and planning ahead can make the process easier and less error-prone.

Ideally, you know something about the functions of your LMS. All systems will have some way to facilitate group discussion, upload assignments, link to external websites,  administer tests, present video and download documents. You may also have options for games, flashcards, and interactive 3D images.

Knowing what your LMS can do and your college policies will help you determine what you can or must change from your face-to-face course1.

  1. What kinds of files can your LMS display?  All systems will display .pdf files, but there are differences in how they are displayed and how learners navigate those documents.
     
  2. Does your college allow you to link to outside services?  That death-by-PowerPoint presentation you love so much may not display next/back navigation in your LMS.  You can convert the presentation to Google Slides, but before you take that path, be sure your college and LMS support that type of display.
     
  3. Does your college limit the amount of data in each course?  That could determine if you upload your video to the LMS, or if you put it on a streaming service and link to it instead.
     
  4. How will you build and proctor assessments? Creating test banks is notoriously slow in an LMS. Find out if your college has licenses for software (e.g. Respondus) that makes test creation easier. How many tries will learners get on a quiz? Do they need a passing score to proceed in the rest of the course? What kind of feedback will you provide?
     
  5. How will learners navigate the course? Can they look at any part of the course at any time? Or will you force a sequence on access to course content?
     
  6. What kinds of records will you keep on learner activities? Are you only looking at tests and uploaded assignments? How much time are learners spending in your course?
     
  7. What is your privacy policy? Can a learner contact another learner outside of the LMS?  Are their emails exposed?
     
  8. How will you keep your learners engaged? Do you break up the cognitive load of reading and video lectures with discussion, worksheets, polls, or self-assessments?  How will you engage learners who are struggling?
     
  9. Do learners have a syllabus? This should be one of the first things in your course. Are deadlines for assignments clear? How will you handle missed assignments or quizzes?
     
  10. How will you test your course?  Ideally, you’ll create yourself as an actual student and have at least one person unfamiliar with the content check all of it before you go live. The “student view” in most LMSs doesn’t always fully capture what your students will experience in your course.

Read more:  Make Online Teaching Mean Online Learning

Register for Designing Online Learning with WIDS.

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