Navigating the Journey to Teaching and Learning Online

Step 2: Rapid Development of Online Content 

notebook action planWhat Will You Teach?

At the core of every course is content. Depending on what you teach, this may also include academic standards. Start with the plan of what you intended to teach and go through each lesson. As you look through your materials, ask yourself these questions: 

  • What can be delivered online as-is and where are there gaps for lessons that would have done face-to-face that now needs to change? 
  • Do you need more time to teach the topic to get students to the same learning outcomes?
  • What learning outcomes are “nice-to-haves” that you can reduce to focus on the“must-have” outcomes?

Don’t recreate the wheel. Many institutions have been successfully teaching online long before this crisis. Do not hesitate to reconstruct what others have built. There are other countries, such as China, who have had to make this rapid shift already and are sharing what they learned.

What Resources Can You Add?

Finding good online resources can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Right now, you may be bombarded by resources and free offers for products. Take stock of the tools you already have and determine where you need to add resources. When considering other resources or tools, be sure they are straightforward and simple to use. Your teachers (and students) should be able to focus on content, not learning a new tool. Ideally, additional online tools will connect to what you already have using LTI or Single Sign On. The need to download applications or install additional software could be an obstacle or point of frustration for parents and students. Below are some resources we recommend:

Developing Online Content

building blocks of educationIn our previous post, we talked about rallying together and creating teams to “divide and conquer.” For efficiency, we recommended implementing the following roles, Instructional Designer, Resource Curator, Subject Matter Experts (SME), and Content Reviewer. Here is a closer look at these roles and how workflow is managed:

  • Instructional Designer: The instructional designer creates templates and boilerplate (more on these below) that can be used by cross-disciplinary teams. They support the Subject Matter Experts and provide assistance in the course content development process.
  • Resource Curator: This person finds resources for the Subject Matter Experts. They might identify images that are copyright friendly, websites, worksheets, etc. 
  • Subject Matter Experts (SME): These are the content experts who are responsible for providing the course content and building it out in your online course using templates.
  • Content Reviewer: The content reviewer vets the work of the Subject Matter Experts and provides constructive feedback.

When creating content, consider if the lesson will occur synchronously or asynchronously. Keep in mind that some students may encounter bandwidth issues. Make sure to have a back-up plan in place to email assignments or provide printed copies. Using new tools may generate an influx of questions and emails from students and parents, so providing links to FAQs or creating your own quick video tutorials using your phone or webcam can help save time while providing adequate support to first-time users. 

Synchronous Teaching and Learning Tips

  • Consider including questions or a survey based on the content to help you prepare appropriate questions and materials.
  • Email your students objectives prior to synchronous sessions in order to prepare them for class discussion participation and to let them know what to expect.
  • When starting out, consider asking a team member to sit in on your class sessions to help monitor chat or Q&A.
  • Use the live session for interaction, dialogue, chat, modeling, and demonstration. Keep the content fresh and avoid duplicating what has been covered asynchronously.

Asynchronous Teaching and Learning Tips

  • “Chunk” your eLearning content into bite-sized modules. Less can be more!
  • Incorporate a variety of activities to boost engagement.
  • Include periodic assessments, summaries and overviews for students to recap what they have learned.
  • Use discussion boards to encourage a collaborative learning environment.
  • Quality Matters has a set of K-12 and Higher Ed standards you can use to evaluate your online content.

How to Speed Up Development

two heads transferring information

There’s no way around it. Moving content between digital development tools will require some short-term heavy lifting. One way to speed up this process is to outsource this task to get your existing content moved into your digital platform. CourseArc’s professional services teams provide this service. Learn more here

In addition, instructional designers can speed up the development process by creating lesson templates. Templates should include elements that can be used by anyone when creating online content. Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction is the most widely used foundation for structuring online courses. Given the current circumstances, we suggest using a shortened version that includes the following design structure:

  • Gain Attention
  • Inform Learner of Objectives
  • Prior Learning
  • Present Content
  • Practice
  • Assessment

For example, here is a lesson template that has been built in CourseArc using a shortened version of Gagne’s Nine Events. To learn more about best practices in Instructional Design, see CourseArc’s Top Ten Instructional Design Tips.

Our next post will discuss the importance of offering ongoing support to students and parents as they adjust to online learning.

Missed the other steps or need a refresher in the Navigating the Journey to Teaching and Learning Online series? Check out the other steps below:

Step 1
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5

CourseArc was built as a tool and team to support organizations as they build online content. Check out our resource site to see how we can help your team. Check back to our blog and social media feeds for additional resources and case studies on how our clients are using CourseArc to move their classrooms online.

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