Organizational and procedural measures to keep a class to move along.
I post my selection of the tips from Ko & Rossen, Chapter 11: Classroom Management and Facilitation combined with tips from my own experience. Is my intention to recommend these tips to the online courses I’m managing.
1. Record Keeping and File Management
- On your own computer, create folders that reflect your course structure with subfolders for course content, Lectures, readings, videos, exercises.
- Make sure your students specify how to identify the assignments files and mail subject, for example: first name + last initial + assignment name/number.
- Set up folders for student assignment and messages in your email program and filter incoming messages to any folder automatically.
- Take notes on the contribution of individual students
- Create a shared spread sheet on Google docs with other teachers to record students participation.
2. Manage Communication and Manage Your Workload
- The course primary announcement area will be Twitter
- A good habit is to make regular announcements on a weekly basis.
- Ask students to first post a question in the appropriate discussion forum and wait 24 hours for a replay before attempting to email the instructor
3. Encourage Student Participation
- Create smaller groups of 5-6 students for the purposes of discussion topics and projects.
- Specify a number of participation activities as required and graded.
- Use online testing with automatic grading for at least one-third of your assessments.
- Make at least one individual assignment with a small project group. Consider students use a peer-review rubric to evaluate themselves and other group’s members.
- One third of the participation grade will be based on the student participation in the discussion forums.
- Maintain a pattern of frequent visits to the online classroom (at least 2-3 times/week).
- Prepare a FAQ of questions based on your experience.
4. Balance between Student and Instructor Centered Activities
- Use Web 2.0 tools to allow students to generate content (Concept Maps, diagrams, short videos or podcast, etc.)
5. Foster Asynchronous Discussion
- Start the major topic threads yourself
- Address students by name and encourage students to signal topics and clarify responses.
- Establish a pattern of frequent response to at least 2-3 times/week (best short but frequently activity)
- Don’t try to respond to every posting. Encourage students to interact with each other, not only with you.
- Provide feedback that stimulates higher-level thinking, like “What are the implications of your statement?”, “Does anyone want to add to/dispute/verify that?”.
6. Establish Instructor Facilitated Synchronous Communication
- Limit each session to a maximum of 1 hour (20-30 minutes of the topic presentation, 20-30 minutes of discussion). Announce the time limit at the start.
- Post the topics or agenda in advance.
7. Planning Team Teaching Online
- Team teaching online requires even more advance planning than the face-to-face option.
- Ask students to send any emailed queries to both instructors.