So you want to teach an online course? Whether you have taught professionally or have never taught before, this kit will help you plan, create, implement, and launch your course. Creating and launching a successful online course can be done in four basic steps:
Before you get into the details of creating your course, take some time (30 minutes or so) to think about the following areas and write down your answers. Use those answers to guide the rest of your planning and content creation; they can save you a lot of time in the end.
- Define the problem statement and high-level goal of the course.
- Identify your audience and your assumptions.
- Define the course objectives.
- Consider the course logistics.
Eventually you will spend much more than 30 minutes planning and thinking about each of these areas. But the areas are not independent of each other. For right now, the idea is to think about all of the major areas once, briefly and at a high level, so that when you get into the details for each area, you have the start of a global plan in place.
Content is the most important part of a course. It is the "stuff" that you want to teach and the ingredients that help you teach the subject. Content includes:
- Assessments (quizzes, tests, projects)
Planning your content is vital. You want to make sure your course is engaging and motivates students to learn what you're teaching. Even if you're the subject matter expert, enlisting an instructional designer to help you craft and customize your content can make it the most useful for your students.
You need a way to deliver your course online. An easily accessible, open-source platform, like Google's Course Builder, is an example of technology that can host all of your content, support your student community, and provide a way for you to get information back about how students interact with your course.
While we encourage you to use whichever platform works best for your needs, some of the benefits you receive with Course Builder include:
- Open-source code allows you to modify and customize Course Builder to suit your needs
- Low-cost, easy-to-learn tool makes it easy to get started and easy to maintain
- You can use a version of Course Builder that's free indefinitely (you won't have to pay once your course is built to keep it live)
Getting the word out about your course is the best way to inform potential students and get them to sign up. Consider posting information about your course on relevant blogs, social networking channels and advertising channels you normally use. Once the course begins, it's also very important to keep in touch with your students, answer their questions, as well as provide technical support.