The Office of Instructional Development encourages a collaborative approach to the creation and production of hybrid and online courses. Coming from the perspective that there is no "one-size-fits-all" model to any instruction, we work with faculty to not merely translate a course into a new medium, but rather redesign the course utilizing the best pedagogical practices and technology that matches the learning objectives and teaching style of the faculty. At OID, faculty develop courses in consultation with a team comprised of instructional designers, instructional technologists, assessment specialists, and media production professionals. Offer flexibility for non-traditional students who balance job- and family-related responsibilities. In your course, consider providing students a handout of tips for succeeding in an online course. Is the potential market reinforced by local industry or other commercial support (i.e., will employers pay for employees to take the course or program)? What is the demography of the students in your course in terms of age, race, gender and ethnicity?
What percentage of students in your course have high-speed internet access or personal computers outside campus computing centers? Are you the default technology troubleshooter for the course, or do students have technical support staff for computer problems related to the course? What cognitive skills or abilities should students master to achieve course goals (what should they gain from the course)? Expected learning outcomes are usually articulated in between three and ten formal statements.  Set goals that are concrete and measurable, and provide clear guidance for course design.
After developing course goals, consider other ancillary skills that facilitate larger content- and skill-based goals in the online environment. What technologies are available and best suited to present the content to facilitate learning? After considering the context of the course and choosing learning and ancillary skills objectives, you can begin to develop specific content and assignments. Encourages contact between students and faculty, especially contact focused on academic content. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning and fosters respect of intellectual diversity. Includes a well-organized course, the structure of which is clearly communicated to students. This means that the entirety of course planning should take place prior to the start of the quarter.  Although expectations, due-dates and methods of student assessment should be clearly marked in the syllabus, leave time in your schedule to trouble-shoot unexpected technological issues and address student difficulties.
Consider providing students a handout of tips for succeeding in an online course, as prepared by the Office of Instructional Development.
Because online courses lack the imposed rhythm of lecture sessions or immediate peer communication, students require clear organizational frameworks in the online environment.
Modules provide a framework for both the students and instructor to gauge progress toward learning objectives.
Modules may also be more comprehensive, such as this example from the University of South Florida. Educational research suggests that online students – like students in the face-to-face classroom – learn best by completing frequent assignments throughout the course rather than preparing for a small number of “high-stakes” assignments (such as a midterm and final exam). In designing assignments and other student assessment activities, consider your learning objectives and how best to “scaffold” skills and knowledge in the course.
If you are designing a hybrid or partially-online course, consider which elements of the course can happen outside the class.
Before the course begins, consider how you will communicate with students about course goals and expectations, and how students will interact with their peers.  Develop specific frameworks for this communication and provide clear guidance for students in the syllabus.
Post and discuss with students course policies and rules of conduct for email communication and threaded messageboards, if included in your course.  Some faculty also find it useful to include a FAQ section that answers common technological and organizational questions. If an emergency occurs on a day that an assignment is due, which of the following is required in order to receive consideration from your instructor? You must email your instructor before the due-date and be prepared to provide official and verifiable documentation. A syllabus quiz may also include scenarios that require students to apply course policies to hypothetical situations.


In courses where students and instructors do not meet in the face-to-face environment (or meet rarely, such as in a hybrid course), developing a positive and interactive community is extremely important to successful learning.
Allow students to post student-to-student communication (as well as student-to-teacher) to get answers to questions:  Encourage students to discuss among themselves.
Pair each student with a “buddy” in the course: The buddy system gives students a source of support in the online classroom.
Encourage peer response: Post student papers online and ask each student to select a partner to critique each other’s work.
Structure opportunities for personal interaction: Incorporate opportunities for students to tell you something about themselves in a "student lounge” or meeting place. Assign discussion group leaders or project team leaders to facilitate group work: Assigning team leaders is one way to ensure that students receive ample feedback. Experienced instructors note that dividing students into small groups or “discussion sections” encourages communication in online threaded discussions (much like in face-to-face discussion sections). The tone and content of student interaction is an important consideration in fostering productive dialogue and meeting learning goals. Students may also feel more comfortable in online interaction if they are provided general information on their peers in the course. FERPA does not prevent you from assigning students to create or post content on public social media platforms outside UCLA CCLE - Common Collaboration and Learning Environment.
A second key aspect of positive interactions in the online course is the faculty-student relationship.  Faculty often struggle with developing and maintaining what experts call an active “instructor presence” in students’ online learning experience.
Instructors may also consider posting an electronic portfolio (eportfolio), which presents a collection of documents, images and files.  This can introduce students to a sample of your scholarship as well as personal interests.
Understanding the demography of your class allows you to develop more effective instructor-student relationships. In the second segment of the pre-course survey, the instructor may prompt students to respond to open-ended questions on topics relevant to the course.  It may be useful to learn more about students’ background or personal investment in course topics, or their starting knowledge level.
For informational videos on course design, see the UCOE Webinar Series sponsored by the University of California Online Education. Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University. Course assessment is valuable to the teaching process because it allows you to identify what is “working” in the classroom, make informed revisions in future courses and record success for funding agencies and other actors. Effective teaching can be measured through different types of direct and indirect assessment. The following matrix [Table A: Learning Outcome Assessment Matrix] will guide you in the process of aligning over-arching goals, desired learning outcomes, teaching methods and assessment strategies for your course. When developing measurable learning outcomes, consider including a combination of lower- and higher-order thinking skills.
Table D provides a sample of pre- and post-test assessment content aligned with the overarching goals, desired learning outcomes and teaching methods in a learning outcome assessment matrix.
Other types of indirect assessment include informal feedback strategies (incorporating specific questions into a lesson or through the online course forum) focus groups, self-reflection assignments and individual student interviews. Both Senate and non-Senate faculty have participated in this process in order to provide online courses during the regular academic year, Summer Session, and as part of System-wide Initiatives. For more information on instructional technologies and course development, contact the Office of Instructional Development. In online or hybrid course design, it is important to take into account external factors such as student demography, the context of the course and infrastructure or support structure.
For more information, see, among many online resources, the samples collected by Carnegie Mellon. Rather than attempting to "cover everything," choose content topics which support the overarching learning goals of the course. In other words, think about how to order assignments so that they build skills in a logical sequence and incrementally. Often, faculty chose to move content to online modalities and devote face-to-face sessions to collaborative exercises.  This type of instruction follows the model of the flipped classroom increasingly popular higher education.
Instructors can use a variety of methods to create community and peer-based dialogue in virtual learning environments.


You can use particular strategies to develop and monitor a respectful learning environment throughout the quarter. A “student lounge” can also be a place where students can share with each other, meet each other virtually, and learn more about each other without your presence. If students are automatically assigned discussion sections and a corresponding teaching assistant when they register for the online class, you may consider further subdivisions within these groups.
You may do this by assigning a student a color or number at the start of class and using this to assign discussion groups (for example, you could group students with odd numbers from 1-30 into group 1 during the first two weeks of the course, and numbers 1-10 and 30-40 into group 1 during the third and fourth weeks). All opinions and experiences, no matter how different or controversial they may be perceived, must be respected in the tolerant spirit of academic discourse. You may consider either encouraging or requiring students to post short biographies or introductory videos on the course website.
When doing so, however, inform students that their material may be viewed by others and, while not explicitly required by law, acquire parental consent from students under the age of 18.  Many instructors require students to post information under pseudonyms or aliases that are tracked throughout the course to protect privacy. At the beginning of each unit, consider posting a video which provides an overview of the coming week and responds to student concerns and questions.  Instructors can also consider virtual office hours using Skype, Google Hangout or a 3-D program such as Second Life and Active Worlds.
This series is designed to engage UC faculty, staff and administrators in sharing expertise on key aspects of online education. Since measuring teaching is clearly not an exact science, the more varied the data sources, the more useful the measurement is likely to be. Table B is an example of a completed, yet simplified matrix [Table B] for a statistics course organized according to these principles. Student A, while not achieving the same level as Student B, actually showed greater improvement as a result of teaching strategies and course instruction.
These types of exercises offer instructors the opportunity to gauge comprehension of material and achievement of specific learning goals. You may want to organize topics to build increasingly-complex skills, ideas and applications throughout the quarter. Using a Table of Contents layout design help students access materials and understand the structure of the course. In “flipped” learning, students view lecture material at home (in pre-recorded videos) and participate in interactive activities and coursework during face-to-face lecture sessions.
Part of the responsibility of the team leader should be to report to you frequently on the progress of the team. Depending on the size of your course and your teaching support team as well as your learning outcomes, you may also choose to require that students rotate as “discussion leaders” in online discussion.
You are encouraged to comment, question, or critique an idea but you are not to attack an individual. Our differences, some of which are outlined in the University's nondiscrimination statement below, will add richness to this learning experience. Free video programs such as Animoto or Flixtime allow students to mix images, music and text in a short video. This includes items such as the student's name, names of family members, addresses, personal identifiers such as social security numbers, and personal characteristics or other information that make the student's identity easily traceable. Guidelines for developing and assessing student learning outcomes for undergraduate majors.
The online learning idea book: Proven ways to enhance technology-based and blended learning.
Please consider that sarcasm and humor can be misconstrued in online interactions and generate unintended disruptions. Continuing to engage the online learner: Activities and resources for creative instruction.
In all cases, however, be sure that you or the teaching team provides a consistent presence in the forum.



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