Essential Question: What would you require of instructors who taught a course you designed? Why?
I would require an instructor to either take the class beforehand or to go through the class with me. This way, the instructor will be able to ask questions and get clarification from me. It will also give the instructor some sense of what the students will be experiencing and provide information on how to respond to learners’ questions. I would be careful to model the appropriate language and teaching techniques for the instructor.
Moore (2012) has some good suggestions that I would want the teacher to follow, as well:
- Humanizing- using students’ names, providing pictures, and asking for personal experiences and opinions.
- Participation- high level of interaction and dialogue; blogs and wikis are a resources for this purpose.
- Message style- good communication techniques.
- Feedback- from participants about their progress.
Boettcher (2013) mentioned 10 best practices that would be helpful of an instructor. I would be sure the teacher had these available and would hope the teacher would be willing to follow them.
Best Practice 1: Be Present at the Course. Let students know when you can respond to them. Let them know you will respond in 24 hrs or less.
Best Practice 2: Create a supportive online course community design a course with a balanced set of dialogues.
Best Practice 3: Share a set of very clear expectations for your students and for yourself as to (1) how you will communicate and (2) how much time students should be working each week and (3) expectations for how students communicate online and how they communicate with you.
Best Practice 4: Use a variety of group and individual work.
Best Practice 5: Use both synchronous and asynchronous activities.
Best Practice 6: Early in the term, ask for informal feedback on how the course is going. Ask for suggestions so corrections and modifications can be made if needed.
Best Practice 7: Prepare discussion posts that invite questions, discussions, reflections, and responses.
Best Practice 8: Focus on content resources and applications and links to current events and examples that can be easily accessed from learners’ computers.
Best Practice 9: Combine core concept learning with personalized learning. Build in options and choices in assignments.
Best Practice 10: Plan a good closing and wrap activity for the course. End-of-course experiences often include student presentations, summaries and analyses. (Boettcher 2013).
Some other management strategies are to:
Handle it once
•Email – in a specific folder before closing them.
•Discussions – make note of important contributions while reading discussion postings. Keep a gradesheet hard copy handy.
•Assignments – make notes or grade assignments as they arrive. Add to the filename so that it is immediately clear which items have been graded.
•Focused Thinking – This chart by Learning Fundamentals is helpful for all online instructors in the age of distraction.
Respond to student questions – Try to respond to students questions within 24 hours or less.
Get organized – All documents for a class should be in one folder on the computer; Create an online course calendar with due dates and deadlines. Post it in a central location in the course management system where it’s easy for students to check each day.
Stay focused – Handle email at specific times each day and don’t be tempted to check it at other times. Take breaks.
Establish email and file naming protocols and train students – Make sure student have an appropriate email address.
Use a quiz or scavenger hunt to explain class policies and make sure students understand.
Organize the discussion forums – If the class size is sixteen or more students, create groups of eight students where students can discuss and interact. This will create less reading for everyone.
Use the right tools – Use a flash drive or other portable storage to backup the hard drive, and remember to back up the flash drive as well.
Work smarter, not harder, at grading – Use rubrics to make grading easier.
Know Thyself – Each person has a daily cycle when he or she is most alert; schedule that time for online work. Record notes each week in a teaching journal identifying thoughts about revisions for the next semester.
(Lehmann & Chamberlin 2015)
I think if an instructor follows some of the above suggestions, then not only will the students have a successful term but the instructor will as well. I think every instructor who is going to teach a course should go through some type of training and have a checklist to follow, because it will be helpful to them and make things go more smoothly than not having a plan at all.
Boettcher, J. (2013). Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online. Retrieved October 23, 2016, from http://designingforlearning.info/services/writing/ecoach/tenbest.html
Lehmann, K., & Chamberlin, L. (2015). Time Management Strategies for Online Instructors. Retrieved October 23, 2016, from https://www2.uwstout.edu/content/profdev/rubrics/time_management.html