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Amount of content for online courses  

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Vivie Sinou
(@vivie-sinou)
Estimable Member Admin

This is a great question, and I hope those of you who have been teaching online can offer some advice or resources on the topic that you may have found useful.

I am designing a class for online instruction only - no in person meetings.  My questions is how do we know how much content to create for the course?  When working in person, I obviously know that I have to fill X number of classes over the course of the semester.  But when a course is entirely online, are there any guidelines detailing how many hours, etc. need to be fulfilled? And is it up to me to estimate how many hours I think an assignment will take?  

If there is a resource I do not know of, that would be great, too. 

Quote
Posted : May 26, 2020 3:45 pm
Deanna de Azevedo
(@deanna-de-azevedo)
Eminent Member Moderator

My approach (for past 5 years) is to keep it really simple:

First:

Align face-to-face material and online material: same lectures, same exams, same coursework; same projects; different delivery mechanism.

Second:

Add any additional requirements specifically related to online delivery —and— regular and effective contact, for example: discussions.

Doing this means I know I am delivering 18-week(ish) worth of material. Hope this helps!

Deanna

This post was modified 2 months ago by Deanna de Azevedo
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Posted : May 26, 2020 5:10 pm
Aaron Garner
(@aaron-garner)
Estimable Member Moderator

I couldn't agree more with Deanna.  Keeping it simple is good, and yes, face-to-face materials should align with online materials.

Keep in mind that online courses will have differences compared to face-to-face classes.  I found this document very helpful in organizing my online courses.  I actually need to revisit this again for my own online classes - it is such a great resource.

Here is a link for the "Online Education Initiative." It's a very helpful tool for designing your courses - especially in regards to "regular effective contact" as Deanna mentioned in her post.

One tip I'm going to give you for free - I usually charge $10 by for this one by the way -  lol.  Okay just kidding.  If you do videos, keep them short if possible.  From my experience, students don't like long video lectures and probably tune out.  I know I tend to do the same thing.  I am finding that four separate 5 minute videos works better than a 20 minute video if you can do that.  It may not always be practical, but something to keep in mind.

Please let us know if you have more specific questions about design aspects or how to create your materials.  There is a wealth of knowledge among our faculty and staff and you'll get quick answers.

Best,

Aaron

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Posted : May 26, 2020 8:25 pm
Lynn Hawley
(@lynn-hawley)
Active Member Moderator

I noticed over the semesters that I've pared down on some of the content - I had A LOT when I started online. When I linked outcomes to various assignments in the course, it did make me evaluate what I had in the modules. Material that I really liked but wasn't relevant to the course outcomes was eventually winnowed out of the course to help students focus on the material they would need to know for exams and assignments.

If you are having students read a lot in the modules then read more in the textbook then write discussion posts and submit written assignments and take quizzes...it does start to pile up for them. It takes them longer to get through all of this than it would if they were taking the class face-to-face, talking to you and each other in that format, and taking notes in lecture.

I think there is a tendency for some online instructors to pile it on so the class won't be too easy but keep in mind that the whole format of online instruction can make it more difficult for students. What Deanna and Aaron have posted already are good pieces of advice - mine would be to evaluate what you are putting in your course based on the outcomes of the class. Will this reading/writing/assessment help students meet the course outcomes?

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Posted : May 27, 2020 1:09 pm
Deanna de Azevedo
(@deanna-de-azevedo)
Eminent Member Moderator
Posted by: @lynn-hawley

I think there is a tendency for some online instructors to pile it on so the class won't be too easy but keep in mind that the whole format of online instruction can make it more difficult for students. What Deanna and Aaron have posted already are good pieces of advice - mine would be to evaluate what you are putting in your course based on the outcomes of the class. Will this reading/writing/assessment help students meet the course outcomes?

This is really thought-provoking advice! 

As faculty, we can spend our time pondering and creating busy work that "piles it on" —or— we can focus our efforts on creating streamlined and objective-driven coursework, for example:

  • Rubric-driven written assignments; and
  • Exam questions that require thoughtful application of course material while developing critical thinking skills.

The later approach is a win-win for both students and faculty!

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Posted : May 27, 2020 1:18 pm
Lynn Hawley
(@lynn-hawley)
Active Member Moderator

@deanna-de-azevedo -

 

Yes, students seem to particularly hate "busy work" in the online environment and are not shy to tell you about it! I have experimented quite a bit with different kinds of assignments - some have worked out well, others have bombed. The ones that have worked better all have one thing in common - it is clear to all of the students why they are doing the assessment/assignment. They might not like discussions, for example, but if the topic is clearly connected to the course outcomes they see the point of doing them.

 

It's also a question I ask in the final anonymous survey - were all of the assignments clearly connected to course content? I ask them to point out any assignments they felt were not worth doing in that survey. That gives you a lot of feedback you can use to modify your next semester's class. They will let you know what is not working. 😀

ReplyQuote
Posted : May 27, 2020 1:25 pm

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