Teaching in the online environment is quite different from teaching in the classroom and as such has a number of unique characteristics and limitations. The following guide (based on my experience as an online facilitator and learner) is designed to help you before, during and after an online teaching event.
Before the Online Course Starts:
- Familiarise yourself with the course delivery structure and the site/platform
- Develop an online delivery plan/schedule
- Check that all resources, activities and links work (i.e. they open in a new window), are current and relevant to the learning experience
- Update your contact information
- Contact learners, welcome them to the course and provide clear log-in instructions
At the Beginning of the Online Course:
- Check that learners can log-in and provide support and troubleshoot as needed
- Facilitate introductions and community-building activities at beginning of the course e.g. have everyone introduce themselves in a café style forum
- Set clear expectations
- Confirm contact/turnaround times
- Emphasise the importance of interactions and that online communication between participants is key to building community and contributes to the course outcomes, profiles, forums, chats etc.
- Encourage sharing of experiences
During the Online Course:
- Be a positive online role model
- Send some sort of meaningful weekly communication, but, don’t overwhelm learners
- Ideally respond to learner’s communication within a reasonable time frame to resolve any difficulties/queries to ensure their learning is not interrupted e.g. phone calls, email, messaging, and forum posts
- Provide guidance and direction to learners when needed
- Encourage online communication between participants
- Relate to learner experiences and ask thought-provoking questions
- Promote learner independence/responsibility and learner collaboration
- Provide technical and other learner support as required
- Online learning can be isolated and lonely so provide positive encouragement and feedback
- Monitor learner progress, participation in activities and completion of assessment tasks and follow-up as required
- Provide informative developmental feedback
After the Online Course Finishes:
- Wrap-up the course, thank learners for their participation
- Review learner feedback and make recommendations for improvement
- Engage in your own self-reflection for improvement and consolidation
What are your tips for successful online course facilitation?
My list of tips was originally posted on the eLearning Industry website a few weeks ago. It’s had over 4,600 views so I thought I’d post it here as well.