The purpose of this unit is to help you realize how to create your first weekly module/unit for your online course.
Structured Course Modules/Units
Getting lost within an online course is one of the most common frustrations for online learners. To help learners easily navigate and understand how content is presented, a typical online course is structured week-to-week, just like a traditional classroom course. To help you establish a repeating pattern, use a template to create your weekly modules for your online course.
Example: Introduction to Social Media
Chunk your content
First, break down the content that must be delivered and decide how this can best be done online. What is NOT a good way to deliver content over the Internet is through recorded lectures.
Studying online is often done in short bursts of study, and providing materials in a modular form provides greater flexibility and more manageable learning ‘chunks’ to digest.
With online presentation you can include material that is more ‘authentic’ than students would get in a classroom lecture. Thus it is important to think through the content of a course and how best it can be delivered online. In most cases, content delivery will not be a major problem. It just needs to be presented through the best media available and properly organized.
Developing skills online can be more of a challenge, particularly if it requires manipulation of equipment and a ‘feel’ for how equipment works, or similar skills that require tactile sense.
Ask: if I can move most of my teaching online, what are the unique benefits of the campus experience that I need to bring into my face-to-face teaching? Why do students have to be here in front of me, and when they are here, am I using the time to best advantage?
Integrating digital literacy
Integrating digital literacy is ‘the ability to use digital technology, communication tools or networks to locate, evaluate and create information and to understand and use this information in multiple formats. It includes the ability to read and interpret media, to reproduce data and images through digital manipulation, and to evaluate and apply new knowledge gained from digital environments’.
It is often assumed that since the ‘Net Generation’ of students have grown up with ready access to technology, and are familiar with social networking, that they are comfortable and proficient in using technology in their learning.
However, this is often not true for many students. While many students use social media such as Facebook, many are less familiar with the use of other Web 2.0 technologies such as Twitter, Flickr, and Blogger for example, and often have minimal experience of using these in a learning (as opposed to social) context
The importance of supporting and training your students
While many students are aware of the benefits of using technology in their daily lives for communication, socializing, banking, shopping and so forth, they may not always be as familiar or comfortable with using it for learning. As an online teacher, it is important for you to:
- Explain why you have introduced an online activity.
- At the beginning of the semester describe the purpose of the technology, your reasons for selecting it, how it will benefit their learning, and what the expected learning outcomes are from using it.
- Provide briefing sessions and supporting material.
- Don’t assume that students are familiar with the technology. Provide training sessions at the start for students and any additional teachers, as well as supporting documentation that they can refer to when they need help.
- Support students throughout the semester.
- Answer any technical questions promptly, introduce a Q&A thread online, provide a list of FAQ, and respond to any queries promptly to ensure that the technology does not hinder or frustrate the students’ learning.
- Ask students to help one another.
- Where appropriate, allow students to respond to one another’s questions, and to share their technical expertise with the class. This can greatly cut down on the time a student has to wait to get help from their teacher.
Unit 7- Practice
Create one weekly module for your online course
Unit 7- Reflection & Badge
Complete the following Unit 7 self-assessment: Created a module/unit for your course