The instructor knows and understands current effective practices for online teaching that support student success, and can apply that knowledge to the design and implementation of his/her course.
- The instructor can cogently discuss barriers to and support of student success within the online environment.
- The syllabus and/or course materials include explicit policies and procedures, such as a communication policy, that address and support regular and effective contact;
- The instructor incorporates tools and/or strategies to assess student readiness.
Each @ONE Online Teaching Certification course provided valuable information about effective practices for online teaching. With each @ONE course, I was able to enhance the courses I was teaching along the way. I also began developing a sample course, using the @ONE principles, in order to submit an online course for approval at one of the colleges where I teach.
One practice that I applied to my courses was the overall course design. I organized my content into weekly folders and provided a weekly outline with Resources and Activities. I made each weekly outline have a consistent organization so that students knew what to expect each week.
Another area of improvement involved communication and engagement. I established two deadlines each week: one for studying resources and submitting original discussion posts, and a second one for completing assignments, collaborative projects, and discussion responses. Some activities also encouraged daily participation from the students.
In addition to preparing and setting up students for success, I also found a strategy for helping students “in trouble.” Even with a straight-forward navigation, clear explanations, and multiple channels for communication, some students struggle in the online environment. When a student contacted me by email distraught with confusion, I decided to respond with a screencasting video privately and directly to that student. She responded with “Now, I get it” and did just fine in the remainder of the course. Although she had watched the Course Tour video already, it seemed that she felt more engaged when I spoke to her directly, using her name. The class then became more personalized for her.
Please see my reflections in the remaining standards for in-depth information about the effective practices explored in the @ONE Online Teaching Certification program.
The following artifacts provide examples of how I’ve applied the standards in the @ONE program.
Sometimes online students can feel isolated–from fellow students and from the instructor. With this barrier in mind, I have increased the channels in which students can communicate with me: by email, online office hour chatting, social media (such as the Google Community), the LMS “ping,” the LMS Discussion Board, during collaborative projects, and phone. I let my students know that the best way to contact me is by email and that I respond within 24 hours during the weekday–longer on weekends. The following artifact shows the Communication Policy in my Syllabus.
- See the Course Ground Rules section of my Syllabus
In addition to all the channels of communication, I provide an outline each week that provides a video announcement (that further enforces “instructor presence”), information about the week’s resources and activities, and links to everything. Students have a clear understanding about what to do each week.
- Visit a Weekly Outline
During the first week, students view a Course Tour video that explains the navigation and location of course features. My hope is that students get setup for a successful semester during the first week of the course. The following video shows the Course Tour for a Plain English class in Desire2Learn:
- Visit the Course Tour video on YouTube
Online Readiness Content Page
To help students assess their own “online readiness,” I send out a Welcome Letter a week before the course begins that provides a link to an Online Readiness Quiz. I also provide this quiz within the course and show a video that helps establish what the students should expect.
- Visit the Online Readiness content page