This is going to be part one of a three part series: the planning, delivering and wrapping up a web-supported course.
With some simple planning, you can reduce the basic administration associated with the classroom and connect with students. Alternative texts, video or audio can provide depth or context to student learning. Extending the classroom discussion to an online environment or reinforce concepts with regular assessments and feedback. How might this save you time in basic tasks, help you connect with students, recognize diverse ways of teaching and learning, and increase student learning?
part one: planning and setup
To start, get some inspiration by looking at other web-based courses (http://www.webct.com/exemplary), attending a workshop or asking colleagues.
Advance planning will help you set your objectives, manage expectations and prioritize your time. What do you want your students take away from this course? What materials, approach and assessments can help you reach these objectives? Incorporate ideas that you’ve seen in other web-supported courses or that your colleagues have told you about. Which administrative tasks take up time in the classroom? How can a web-supported course help?
Write a list of the content, links, resources, and media that you currently use or would like to use for a course. Use this content to reinforce concepts, use different learning and teaching styles or to provide alternative resources and viewpoints. Review the tools available – is there anything new you’d like to try? Take the content, the communications and the assessment and put it in a logical order.
Write a welcome message using the announcements tool or the discussion forum to state your expectations, and what students can expect from you in this environment. Describe to your students the learning path this course will take and how the combination of the web-supported and face to face classrooms will support their learning.
When you are ready, request an online course section using the form at http://webct.sfu.ca∞
Your course container is yours to customize. Start by adding the tools you want to use. Add your syllabus and any course material – you can hide it or set release date to manage student access. Using the assessments described in the syllabus, setup the gradebook, and give your “demo student” some grades. Use the student view tab to see how the content appears, which grade columns are visible and which tools are available. Reinforce the prerequisites needed for your course by creating a low-stakes quiz to bring students up to speed, and help connect your course with the prerequisites.
Students are added to your web-supported course section automatically at SFU, as they register in SIMS. By default, students will be able to access the online materials in WebCT on the first day of classes.