Unit 4- What online activities will you choose and create?


  • The purpose of this unit is to help you to begin to realize what online activities will you choose and create for your online course.


Choosing and creating activities is the most critical part of the online design process. Regular learners activities are critical for helping students improve through connection to; other learners, the teacher, and the activities.

Research examples

Online teaching technologies can be overwhelming. Where do you begin? Begin by asking your colleagues how they use technologies and strategies to create authentic online activities.

Take it easy

If you are new to teaching online, take it easy. Begin slowly and gradually build up your experience and confidence. Introduce one online activity, use it, evaluate it, and change it to improve. Then repeat the process with another online activity. Use technologies that you are comfortable with: Select technologies that you are already using, that are easy use , or that the EMC provides training and support for.

Choosing online activities

When you begin to decide on an online activity your purpose is to align the the outcome of your online activity with one of your course or unit/module outcomes. Ask yourself, is this the best the technology to use to help learners reach the  chosen learning outcome? Keep the following in mind when you are beginning to crate online activities:

  • The intended learning outcomes for the course
  • The student situation (location, access to internet, number of students in the class, etc)
  • The learning experiences or technical requirements of the course content (eg inclusion of large graphic files, collaborative tools, live chat features, external guest lecturer access, file sharing, discussions, etc)
  • The breadth and depth of the teacher’s previous online experience

Activities need to be regularly spaced and have an estimate of the time learners will need to complete the activities. This will vary wildly based on each persons prior experience. Use less content (be concise) and more authentic activities.

Carefully monitor how much time each learner needs to do the activities each week. Focus on improvement over deadlines. Most important, provide learners TIMELY (like now) feedback and comments on their activities- from the instructor and from other students.  

Pedagogy before technology

It is important to examine the reasons for choosing an online activity– using it purely as a gadget because the technology will not lead to a successful learning experience. Students value technology when it adds to their learning, not when it is used with no apparent relationship or benefit to how they learn. It is important therefore to consider the following issues:

  •  Establish the key pedagogical principles and then decide how technology can support activities that explore them: For example, what are the learning outcomes, what do you want to achieve, what skills do you want students to learn? Ask these questions and then decide how best you can integrate the technology in order to achieve or support these outcomes.
  • Technology is just a means to an end: When you teach online you can select from multiple technologies, however the technology is just a facilitator of the learning process – you still need to have sound teaching strategies in place to support the learning.
  • Activities should remain relevant to the learning process: Be discerning – don’t be caught up in allure of technology and its many features. Ensure that activities, tasks, etc have an educational purpose and stimulate learning.
  • Online learners complete activities that include points toward their final grade.  Learners very rarely complete activities without points.

Authentic Activities

  1. The purpose of an authentic activity is not to measure how much information learners acquire but instead to help them improve by using using the information
  2. With authentic activities, there is no one right answer, learners construct new knowledge that differs from other students.  It’s very difficult to cheat. 

Critical Thinking Activities

Close Reading

If you can read a paragraph well, you can read a chapter well, because a chapter is nothing more than a collection of paragraphs. If you can read a chapter well, you can read a book well, because a book is nothing more than a collection of chapters.

Skilled readers do not read blindly, but purposely. They have an agenda, goal, or objective. Their purpose, together with the nature of what they are reading, determines how they read. They read in different ways for different purposes in different situations. Of course, reading has a nearly universal purpose: to figure out what an author has to say on a given subject. The Critical Thinking Foundation

The Critical Thinking Foundation

Intellectual Journaling

The Critical Thinking Foundation

Relate activities to your students lives

From The Critical Thinking Foundation

SEEI Activity

This is an excellent thinking tool for creating activities that help us know how well we know something. We start with a term or concept—in this case, the concept is essential question for a course.

  1. S is a STATEMENT: A clear, concise, correct definition of the term.
  2. E is an ELABORATION: Another way of saying it, using your own words.
  3. E is an EXAMPLE: A good one, one that is correct and actually works.
  4. I is an ILLUSTRATION: A metaphor, image, or comparison, e.g., the term is like a … The Critical Thinking Foundation

Unit 4- Practice

Create one weekly module for your online course

Unit 4 – Self Assessment & Badge

Complete the following self-assessment: