Online Pedagogy

Classroom Management and Facilitation

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.


By Jaime Oyarzo Espinosa

Jaime Oyarzo Espinosa -
Honorary Professor of Research University of Alcalá, Spain
Cátedra UNESCO de Educación Científica para América Latina y El Caribe EDUCALYC
Professor, Master in Experimental Sciences and Technology, National University of Córdoba, Argentina
Boletín de noticias eLearning
Blog (Spanish):
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Awards for educational innovation, member of research groups and scientific councils of conferences and scientific journals.
Instructional design experience, advisor in virtual universities, curricular redesign and university online strategy.
European Union and European Universities projects for Ethiopia and Latin America. Coordination of workshops and courses in instructional design and digital teacher competencies.
I am passionate about the integration of technology and the contribution to a paradigm shift in education.
I maintain a network of contacts with specialists in different areas and countries. I consider education as a key factor for the economic development of developing countries and regions.

3 replies on “Classroom Management and Facilitation”

Wow! Great list! I am definitely going to be using some of these tips in my next class.

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Good luck for the next!

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