Module 5 Online Teaching Plan

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Return to: ETAP_623_Spring_2014 | Donna Kiesel portfolio |Designing an Online Course | Module 1 Needs Assessment of the Student | Module 2 Goals of the Course | Module 3 Developing Learning Objectives | Module 4 Lesson Plans | Module 5 Online Teaching Plan

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Learning Objectives

  • What does teacher need to do so that the students can master the subject?
  • What kind of learner and needs the student have for how to study?
  • Compose a course syllabus with instructions students need for their success in an online learning environment
  • Explain the strengths and weaknesses of live classroom learning
  • Explain the strengths and weaknesses of online instructional design

Online Instruction

In this Module we look at how to help students learn online. First, we consider how to present information to students and how to help them take control of learning.'

There are many ways to incorporate text into an online course:

Books and articles.

Make sure you tell them what pages to read of any books required for the course and be sure that they can find :a complete version of assigned articles online. If you have a university account and they don’t then you might be able to access :articles for free through the university library like you can, so remember that the outside student may have to pay to view the same :article.

Web resources.

The internet offers many sources of articles, blogs, videos and instant access to information by professional organizations and advanced information about any subject. Just ask the question and a thousand people will answer it. But as a teacher it is best to inform the students of exactly which website to look. You can add a link from the course home page that goes directly to the webpage.


The content of the material you would present in a regular classroom are the same online, but the way you organize the delivery of lectures, slide presentations, demonstrations, and readings is just different. There is also another way to have the students work through concepts and learn new skills. We will discuss these technique after this review of basic venues of online presentations.

Lecture Notes

Make sure that your students can copy or download your lecture notes for the lesson. Lay out the lecture like you would for an in-class handout. Just pay attention to how it looks online as it might need larger fonts or other editing for easier reading online. The lecture for an online Module is the anchor for the lesson, so all the instruction for how to handle the learning is on that same page with the lecture. For an in-class version, when you would assign reading and put students into discussion groups or have the class watch a video, all that is the same online except the students click on the links to those document and videos from the homepage of the Module. The difference is that the students look at it at different times.

Narrated Slides

We are all familiar with Power Point presentations that are one of the most common formats for lecturing these days. There are many things we can do to improve a PP presentation, like adding notes, videos, and recording our verbal lecture with the slides. If you have a Mac computer, iPhone, or iPad then you can use Keynote, which lets you record your narration as you click through your existing slides, and then compress the file so that it can travel easily over the web. Apple’s Garage Band program can edit a Keynote presentation. If you are a PC owner then you have Microsoft Power Point or you can download a free presentations


Here you're using a traditional communication medium -- your voice -- through a modern digital device -- the iPod -- to get your points across. For most teachers, the podcast seems unfamiliar. But it's really just another form of the traditional lecture or slide show, a form in which you are corporeally absent but intellectually present. In fact, most of the interchange in a classroom-based course occurs through voice, so the podcast is in some ways the easiest tool in the kit to employ. And since a podcast can contain images and text as well as your voice, it can carry your slide shows as well as your talks. And students don't need an iPod to hear or see your podcasts -- they'll play on any computer as well.


New digital cameras and video-equipped computers make it easier than ever to present ideas to your online students through moving images with sound. Videos can be live or recorded; you can make them yourself or use videos created by others:

Live video

You could if you wanted schedule a live video broadcast to your students once each week for three hours and require them to watch it. Technically, this is very easy to do: you just sit down in front of your computer, look into the camera, and speak into the microphone. Your students can talk back through text, voice, or video. The synchronicity of live video can help to keep the class together as a group, but it may not match the work style and schedule of your students.

Recorded video

Short video clips can be very useful in communicating certain ideas. You can record yourself speaking directly and personally to your students, or provide clips of evidence, recorded by others, that you might your students to wrestle with.

Personal video

"Welcome to the online version of Child Development 101. I'm Professor Piaget and I'll be your teacher for this semester..." might be a good way to introduce yourself to your students. Or to explain a key concept. Or to stress the importance of a certain idea. Students like knowing there's a real teacher behind their online course, and a personal video helps to make this point.

Evidence-based video

The video clips you may already be using in the classroom can be posted easily to the web and be made part of your online course. Online video annotation and analysis tools can turn these clips into opportunities for students to wrestle with the ideas they illustrate.

How to Teach Online with Assignments

Seeing and hearing ideas is only the beginning of the online experience for students, and should consume less than one-third of their weekly time allotment. Your job here is to design interesting and creative assignments for students that get them to engage with the key concepts of your course. The big difference is that you're not there with them as they try to figure things out. You've got a good choice of tools to build these assignments with:

Analytic Exercise

Using a conceptual framework that you provide, students analyze a reading, a case study, a video, or any other evidence you assign. They fill in the fields with their explanation of how the evidence fits with each element of the framework. An education student might analyze a classroom video, for instance, on the basis of teacher talk time vs. student response time.


A microeconomics course provides an online simulation of a bakery to help students wrestle with the balance between costs, prices, supply, and demand. Students buy flour, hire bakers, set prices, monitor sales, and computer profits online. A physics course lets students vary wavelength and see its effect on frequency, with visual and auditory feedback.


Here you make students search online to confront, explore, and collect evidence related to a key idea in your course. Students in a literature course might be sent off to find three different interpretations of an important passage, and to compare and contrast them.


You have many tools for conducting a discussion among your students online, using text alone (the easiest, technically, and most flexible), or with voice, and also video. Your discussion can take place with everyone present at the same time, or serially over time.


Here you set up an online chat room, and require all of the students to sign in at a pre-arranged time, perhaps once a week. You lead the discussion as you would in the classroom, posing questions and waiting for students to respond, to you and to each other. Seasoned online educators have found that the effective class size limit for such a discussion is about 15. A synchronous discussion can be set up as a:

Text Chat

Where participants type their comments into a window on their computer, and see the comments of others as they are typed. A text chat is similar to instant messaging, with which most of are students are familiar, and requires little technical support. The discussion scrolls up as the minutes pass, and all can be archived as part of the course.

Voice or video chat

Where everyone connects to the discussion with microphone or camera. This requires more technical support, and the audio is difficult to manage with more than a half-dozen participants. But it comes the closest to mimicking the in-the-classroom experience.


Many experienced online educators prefer the text chat to the voice or video chat, because the act of putting your ideas into writing seems to improve their quality. In fact, one of the biggest differences between classroom-based and online courses is the shift from oral to written interchange: a typical classroom course might be 90% spoken and 10% written; a typical online course reverses this proportion.


In this type of discussion, you pose the question that gets things started, and the students contribute their thoughts whenever they want. They go to the discussion board at their leisure, read what's there, and then add their comments. As with the text chat, all comments are labeled with the name of the contributor. Online teachers have found that unless students are required to make a contribution, and graded on its quality, they seldom participate. And while it is possible to use voice or video in an asynchronous discussion, text seems the best medium for this type.

Group Project

In most online courses, students seldom get to see or communicate with one another, so assigning a group project takes advantage of the social aspect of learning. You form students into small groups (two to four seems to work best), give them a clearly-defined task that force them to wrestle with the key ideas of the course, and require from them a product at the end. Depending on where your students live and work, they may be able to meet together with their mates face-to-face; otherwise they can meet online through text or video chat to get their work done.


A self-correcting online quiz, if designed well, can force students to grapple with the content of your course, especially when you provide explanations for each right and wrong answer, and allow multiple tries. We are not using this quiz to evaluate students’ performance, but to form their thinking about the topic, so it might best be called a formative quiz.

Post & Comment

Very similar to an asynchronous discussion, this common assignment asks students to respond in writing to a prompt or question that you pose, then to read the postings of three or four other students, and comment individually on those. It imposes a structure on a discussion, and seems to result in longer and more thoughtful contributions. But unless it’s required and evaluated, such an assignment may not receive the attention it deserves from your students.