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Ten Tips for Better Online Course Design

Online course design student


Looking for ways to improve online course design? Experienced online educators at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater have compiled a list of 10 practical tips, covering both design and the nitty-gritty of online course management.

Online business instructors Richard J. Wagner, Jeff P. Vanevenhoven, and James W. Bronson based their online course design and management tips on personal experience, research, and information from other online faculty.

Their tips include:

* “Begin each module with a roadmap.”

Students who may be new to online learning need to have clear guidelines: how to use the texts, how grading works, how the course will be structured. One way to do this, suggests Wagner and his colleagues, is to open parts of the online course several weeks early, so that students can virtually explore and become familiar with areas such as the course bulletin board and syllabus.

* Require students to complete at least one assignment per week, to keep students engaged. Make the first assignment relatively easy to allow time to deal with technical problems or other questions from students new to the course management system.

* Contact students who have not participated in the first week of class to make sure everything is OK.

The full list of online course design and management tips can be found in the Journal of Online Teaching and Learning’s free June 2010 issue.

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