What will you do if your hardware malfunctions? Do you have a back-up copy of your course? Will your course be backed up regularly during the delivery phase? What will you do if your software malfunctions? What will you do if the network is down? How will your students enroll and get course access? When will your course be available to your students? What are the start and end dates for your course? What is the census date for your course? What are your institutional or departmental policies regarding online courses? How will you respond to students that contact you with technology questions? How will students get help if they need it? What will you do about students that start late? Is cross-platform compatibility an issue for activities in your online course? How will you accommodate students with disabilities or special needs? How will you deal with students who do not complete the course within the allotted time frame (incompletes)?
Designing an Online Course and Becoming an Online Educator 104 Tips on getting off to a good start! Your students will need to register, enroll, and then actually enter your course, depending on the nature of your course or program. Student services may be provided, or you may have to deal with how your students will know what to do, when, and how to access your course. No matter what your situation, you should NOT expect to see all your students arrive in your course on the first day of the term. Problems with access, awareness, hardware, software, the Internet, connections, the phone/modem, the network, registration/enrollment, account creation, and so on will inevitably occur for your students. At the beginning of the semester, encourage ALL of your students to get familiar with the specific learning management system environment for your course. Have a few warm-up activities designed to get everyone to know each other and to practice using the features specific to your online course environment. These activities will not only have them practice doing the kind of things they will be doing in your course, but can be designed to introduce the course and begin to support the development of a sense of class community. Getting Started Post an "ice breaker" discussion in the first module. Using the mechanisms for conducting an online discussion in your course, ask students why they took the course, what they know about the topic, what expectations they have, one thing they really hope to learn, etc. This will help everyone get to know each other, and you maygain insight into prior knowledge and expectations. You can practice and model a good online discussion, and students who enroll late, or have technical difficulties, will not be so far behind. Consider creating a pre-welcome email message that you can forward to students as they appear in your course over the course of the first week.
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- Fall '09