Transitioning to Online

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Transitioning to Online Learning

Often the most difficult part of transitioning is figuring out where to start. The first step is some thoughtful pre-planning to understand where you are now, and where you want to be. This happens before you start your ADDIE workflow (coming up next.)

Reference your current course outline. Think about how you deliver your classes now.

Pre-Planning your online course

Shift your mindset from “How do I put my course online,” to “How do I make the best online learning experience.” These topics will help get your mindset in the right place. Select the headings to reveal the things to think carefully about when designing online learning: 

Learning Design Over Technology
Get the learning design right, and then find the technology to best express it.
  • Technology will not automatically bring benefits and solve any existing curriculum problems for teachers (e.g. lack of student engagement) without needing to rethink the learning design.
  • Existing face-to-face content and teaching strategies will usually not work equally successfully in an online context without any adjustment or planning.
  • The introduction of an online component won’t automatically make a class or program more relevant to today’s students and is not a guarantee of increasing student engagement.
  • Students are not always familiar with using technology in their learning process, despite many having grown up as part of the “net” generation.
  • In situations where a class is put online due to necessity (public health,) there will be some negativity and skepticism over losing the classroom components, that needs to be addressed. (Morrison 2012)
Assess your Learners! Align Assessments with Learning Outcomes

How else will you, or your learners, know if they are learning anything? How else do you measure? Sure, a course that makes people feel loved and wanted and supported is great, and you will get great reviews, but if they can’t do what they came to learn, then your course will not gain traction, and your goals will not be accomplished.

Constructive alignment means that all aspects of your class—from learning outcomes, talks, resources, activities, and assessable projects—are all directly related to each other and support a progressive (or scaffolded) system of learning throughout the duration of your course. (Biggs 2011)

Integration of Digital Literacy

This generation of learners has a lot of technical expertise when it comes to Facebook, Twitter and email, but they may never have taken an online course before or used a learning management system. Integrate “learning the technology” with a tiered approach to help them learn as they go. You can also provide mini-tech courses to help fill in technology gaps.

This course uses a tiered approach—you are learning about the learning environment in small doses while becoming an online Facilitator and Course designer.

Strategic Evaluation

What works online? 

  • Blended class: which components of the class are better suited to the online environment 
  • Blended and fully online: how to provide the best online learning experience for each outcome of your course (A.W. Bates 2003)

Each stage of the learning process can benefit from different online tools. When evaluating the tools, it’s helpful to consider “Blooms Taxonomy”. More about Bloom’s in the next section.

For example, Bloom’s has several levels of learning. The first level of learning:

Remembering

Identifying, recognizing, listing, naming, retrieving, etc
– Online self-tests
– Flash cards
 Social bookmarking
– Searching for facts

(McIntyre and Watson 2016)

Recommended Resources

Constructive alignment (Biggs 2011)

Social bookmarking (McIntyre and Watson 2016)

Frequently Asked Questions

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