Teaching online courses is no different than teaching courses in the classroom. If you have been struggling with create an online college course and you are doing it from scratch, there are some helpful suggestions you can follow that will make the process much easier. Building an online college course from scratch can be a difficult process, but if you have a plan in place to begin with, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort.
1. Set a time budget. Because teaching online is no different than in the classroom, an instructor teaching from home must be a good classroom manager. Many of the same procedures for classroom teachers apply to teaching online; it is simply a matter of taking those steps and translating them into an online format. You will be communicating with your students on a daily basis, so determine how much time you have each day to devote to every class and stick to it. This will make the rest of the class creation process go much smoother.
2. Divide course material into manageable units. Use your textbook as your guide. Because students will spend a significant amount of time with the textbook, make it the basis for structuring your course. For example, a course that is fifteen weeks long could be divided up into a five three-week sections of material. If you have a textbook that is fifteen chapters in length, the process is easy–one chapter per week! More chapters require more reading on the part of the students. Determine which chapters you will be using and when and incorporate this material into your course syllabus.
3. Give your students assignments that require them to do research on their own. At the beginning of the semester when you are creating your course, determine which types of assignments to give your class. Having the class write a three-to-five page essay on a major issue that is covered in several chapters of the book is a good way to do this. Require the students to do additional research and set a minimum number of sources you will require them to use besides the textbook. This also serves as a great way to prepare your students for their exams.
4. Create audio and video lectures if possible. Here you will need a digital video camera of some type or an audio voice recording device. Create your first four or five lectures ahead of time so that you can have them uploaded and ready to go before starting the semester. This will give you time to continue working on new ones as the semester goes along and it will keep your students from having to wait for new lectures. Make sure you are familiar with the memory limits of the online platform you are using. There is nothing more frustrating than creating an hour long lecture only to find that it is too large to upload to your server.
5. Create reading quizzes and exams at least three to four weeks in advance of the due dates. Most online platforms allow for multiple exam formats, including objective and essay-type exams. If you are creating a course from scratch, you should stick to the objective exams for the first semester so that the answers can be automatically graded. This will save you significant time and effort so that you can focus on lectures, grading and other writing assignments.
6. Utilize as many communication tools as you can in order to keep your class running smoothly. Your students will be used to using various instant message programs like yahoo and other programs like Skype. Choose one or two of these to set up an account and have these on when working at your computer so that you can quickly and easily answer questions for your students when issues arise.