Getting Started Teaching Online
by Sharon A. Taylor
According to The Sloan Consortium's Class Differences: Online Education in the United States, 2010 survey report:
- Online enrollments continue to increase substantially (Allen & Seaman, 2010, p. 2), as nearly one third (30%) of higher education students take at least one online course (Allen & Seaman, 2010, p. 2).
- Increase in demand is greater for online courses than for the corresponding face-to-face (f2f) courses (Allen & Seaman, 2010, p. 3).
- Online learning is perceived positively by nearly two-thirds (66%) of academic leaders who view online learning outcomes as superior to, somewhat superior to, or the same as comparable f2f courses (Allen & Seaman, 2010, p. 10).
- Sixty-three percent of all reporting institutions noted that online learning was a critical part of their institution’s long term strategy and strategic plan (Allen & Seaman, 2010, p. 2).
These data revealed that online learning has been adopted in the mainstream of higher education with trends indicating continued growth. Unfortunately, however, institutions often require instructors to design/develop online courses and/or transition into teaching in the online learning environment sans an understanding of the fundamental pedagogical/andragogical differences among face-to-face (f2f), blended/hybrid, and online learning environments.
From an instructional design perspective, there's more to designing and developing an online learning course than repurposing an exact replica of a f2f course into a web-based environment. For instance, in a traditional course, instructors can handout a multi-page course Syllabus and discuss each segment to emphasize the important elements with students in a f2f classroom. However, in the online learning environment, the course Syllabus should be structured differently, such as by chunking the content into several small, manageable segments. Why? Content chunking puts Cognitive Load Theory into practice by helping to diminish students' cognitive load (i.e. mental burden) as a result of reading content in smaller segments. By contrast, reading an entire syllabus from one continuously long page on a computer monitor/handheld device screen may result in cognitive overload (e.g., excessive mental burden, disorientation). Moreover, chunking syllabus content adheres to best practices in web-based design.
- In The Sloan Consortium's (Sloan-C's) Getting Started: The First Step Toward Online Teaching, you will learn why and how to create an effective online syllabus while having the opportunity to view a chunked online syllabus in an exemplar online course.
From a teaching perspective, instructors in the traditional f2f classroom can promote participation, have students engage in peer-to-peer dialogue, reinforce concepts, and more, during in-class discussions. Although the delivery modality is different, the same objectives can be achieved in the online learning environment either asynchronously (occurring in non-real time; occurring over time) and/or synchronously (occurring in real-time).
- In The Sloan Consortium's (Sloan-C's) Getting Started: The First Step Toward Online Teaching, you will learn best practices and learning strategies for promoting participation asynchronously and synchronously.
I invite you to join me, while interacting with other like-minded participants who are interested in learning how to transition into the online and/or blended learning/hybrid environment, during Sloan-C's Getting Started: The First Step Toward Online Teaching. In this introductory workshop, you will discuss important concepts for online learning and use technologies to gain practical "hands-on" experience. In the following course objectives, you will:
- Recognize and learn how to employ Sloan-C's Quality Framework that focuses on Five Pillars that support quality learning environments.
- Compare and contrast face-to-face (f2f) and online teaching, including course conversion, creating an effective online Syllabus, expectations, role adjustments, and course design
- Identify what constitutes Blended/Hybrid Learning
- Apply the principles of effective discussion participation using asynchronous and synchronous technologies
- Evaluate the benefits of using Rubrics for assessments
- Examine Web 2.0 technologies and determine how to effectively incorporate Web 2.0 technologies in the online learning environment
Sloan-C's Getting Started: The First Step Toward Online Teaching is a prerequisite to the Online Teaching Certificate program and to the Blended Teaching Certificate program. Getting Started workshops are offered frequently throughout the year. I look forward to sharing my knowledge, experiences, resources, and design and learning strategies with you in an upcoming Getting Started workshop!
Sharon A. Taylor
Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2010). Class Differences: Online Education in the United States, 2010. Retrieved December 15, 2010 from http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/class_differences and http://sloanconsortium.org/sites/default/files/class_differences.pdf