This orientation is organized into four stages of teaching an online class. To download a printable copy of the complete checklist, click here.
During the first week of the online course . . .
Contact Missing Students and Draw in Participants
- Watch out for non-participants during the first week of class and contact them by phone to see if they have login/access difficulties.
- Inform Students about Withdrawal Timeline
- Be acutely aware of the refund policy and withdrawal deadlines. If the student is unable to gain access to course materials or decides this is not the right class, inform the student about the deadline and how to contact the registrar, as the decision needs to be made promptly.
- Minimize Delays
- If students are late adds, contact them promptly with support information about how to gain access to course materials, login to the course management system.
- Set the Climate for Learning
- Communicate regularly through announcement or news area. Nothing makes an online student feel more isolated or alienated than the sense that the instructor is rarely present.
- Create an Icebreaker to Build the Sense of Community
- Facilitate an icebreaker activity related to a course key objective or content and give your students the opportunity to show their human side as well as their academic prowess. Encourage students to share background info, personal interests, perhaps a "what makes me unique," to encourage participation as three-dimensional people.
- Encourage students to post a photo or other representation (avatar) on their student profile.
- Invite Students to the Student Lounge
- Create a "student lounge" discussion area. This gives students a forum to exchange ideas casually and off-topic. Such a discussion area can be designated to eliminate casual chat out in the academic discussions.
Pedagogical / Instructional Design Expectations
- Communicate with Students Daily to Build a Positive Rapport
- Model discussion response behavior and tone. Use a conversational tone that is inviting, personal, friendly, and encouraging.
- Monitor the discussion area daily. Reinforce student discussion board contributions and provide positive explanatory feedback (personally) to those who make the discussion area a better place through their participation. Watch for laggards who sit out the forum and flamers who use personal put-downs or attacks to impress or sound authoritative. Intervene, reference the discussion rubric, and provide a safe learning environment before it poisons the discussion area for all.
- Contact Non-participants
- Watch for laggards who sit out the forum, and contact them privately to see if they need help or encouragement to participate.
- Ask the Class Questions
- Challenge your students by asking questions that apply to the readings and communicate high expectations.