This orientation is organized into four stages of teaching an online class. To download a printable copy of the complete checklist, click here.
Throughout the online course . . .
Provide Reminders about the Course Rubrics
- Utilize rubrics to make expectations clear and set criteria for excellent achievement.
- Open and Close Course Materials
- Open and close content or discussion forums to optimize student learning and avoid confusion.
- Update the Online Gradebook Promptly
- Keep the online gradebook current after assignment due dates. Use comments and narrative feedback as often as possible to support or explain assessments and maintain privacy of student grades and feedback.
- Encourage Use of Library Online Databases
- Provide links to the school's academic support, online tutorial for library online databases, library and help desk. Encourage students to research relevant issues and find answers to content questions.
- Monitor Attendance
- Check number of postings and frequency and follow up with missing students.
- Announce Your Absence to Students
- If the instructor must be offline for a day or more, announce the absence to students with guidance of whom to contact during the absence.
- Provide Deadline Reminders
- Remind students of upcoming deadlines. Conduct course according to the designated calendar with any deviations communicated to students in advance.
Organize Collaborative Projects
Monitor Discussions for Civil Behavior
Use Announcements to Keep Class Current
Maintain a Daily Presence in Discussion Forums
Provide Individual Messages of Encouragement
Pedagogical / Instructional Design Expectations
- Provide Supportive Information to Supplement Course Content
- Inject knowledge from diverse sources to assign student learning (references to articles, textbooks, personal experiences, or links to relevant external websites.) Use illustrations and examples to clearly explain important concepts.
- Respond to Student Questions within 24 hours.
- Provide timely feedback and practical suggestions for student to complete their work on time.
- Summarize Discussions and Seek to Reach Consensus
- Participate in discussions when appropriate. Know when to be the "guide on the side" and when to step in and redirect or supplement or summarize student participation. You're the authority, but take care to avoid stifling student expression by dominating the discussion.
- Diagnose Misconceptions in Discussion Postings
- Help students revise their thinking in a way that helps to learn by correcting misunderstandings and presenting critical thinking questions.
- Create Transitions
- Post news announcements that transition from one topic or module to the next to help students recognize time on task.
- Use the Chat Feature for Explanatory Feedback
- Use a scheduled chat room or Skype discussion so that students can hear the instructor’s voice and those of their classmates, if appropriate. When students have questions about the final paper, for example, a live discussion can save a lot of repetition of common questions. The course management system’s chat feature may be used and archived for students who are unable to participate and want to review the discussion at a later time.
- Provide Meaningful and Timely Feedback
- Evaluate student work promptly and provide meaningful feedback. Rubrics can be very effective in making expectations clear and setting criteria for excellent achievement. Encourage learning strategies which promote self-directed learning.
- Provide alternative assignments and assessments to accommodate students' individual needs when possible.
- Use the Dropbox
- Avoid using e-mail for submission and evaluation of student work, if possible. Utilize the dropbox to reduce opportunities for students to argue that they "sent it but you never acknowledged it." Using the courseware management for assignment submission provides a receipt to the student and a documented date and time of submission (or the lack of it) in the event that there is a disagreement over incomplete work. It also provides an established, predictable location for students to receive feedback from you.
- Keep a Journal
- Each week enter journal entries as the course progresses. What worked well? What needs adjustment or replacement? Are the assessments measuring the learning outcomes? Get permission and save examples of exemplary student work to use as models in future terms.