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Are you teaching online for the first time?

If this is the first time you are going online, or the first time you are putting a course online, do not feel pressure to include all the educational technology available. Start simple and consider the first run of the course as version 1.0. The next time you teach the course, you can upgrade the course. If you are teaching the class in-person the next time it runs, you can always integrate technology upgrades.

One of the most important parts of having an online class is to make sure the course materials are easily accessible. Learning management systems (LMSs) are not always straightforward and it’s easy for material to get buried in different sections of the course so we recommend the following:

  • Put the most important information on page one/main page of the course and then include specific sections on how to access the other important information like Zoom lectures, syllabus, readings etc.
  • Expect students to have a day or two of orientation as to where to find the course material and know that you will have students asking questions as to where a course resource is located.
  • If you find that you are getting a lot of questions about where to find a particular resource, it is a good idea to be more specific as to where it is located or change its location to the main page of the course.

Your students might be new to online learning. You might also be new to teaching online. We all started somewhere and it is an iterative process to learn one’s style of online education. I suggest providing introductory resources and guides to help students who are new to online learning. For example, technical guides that are brief and helpful are always a good addition to an online course. 

About This Resource

This site has a list of sections that you might find useful when putting your course online, and I invite you to browse through these resources and pick the items that are most meaningful and helpful to your specific situation. I encourage you to get to know your instructional designer, or a staff member in a similar role, and schedule a quick meeting to discuss some of the items you are reading on this site as well as share your ideas for what you would like to do with your class.

Putting a class online for the first time is a challenge; however, if you find the right help, such as an instructional designer, the process is much more manageable and you will also learn more about your own teaching style, how your course content is interconnected, and how you can use technology to make your course more engaging.