A Wake Up Call on Course Design (Week 3)
“If you simply post your lectures and syllabus on the Web, you haven’t necessarily created a viable tool for your students” (Ko & Rossen, 2010, p.52).
This quote from our text hit me like a ton of bricks this week. I do have more than “just” lectures and a syllabus posted in my online course, but I really had to think about what my goals and objectives for my online students are. My syllabus is just a pdf file posted in Blackboard, and my lectures are just powerpoint slides posted without any type of narrative. Are my students really looking at these items posted in their class? I doubt it. I have recently started using Wimba Voice for my weekly annoucements and other important tips students need to complete projects instead of everything being so “text based.” I’d like to eventually see that I progress to video annoucements as well.
The Student Learning Outcomes for both my on-site and online students are as follows:
- Access, evaluate and use valid information to create and apply behavior change strategies and concepts to enhance health.
- Differentiate between drug use, abuse, msuse and be able to identfy types for drugs and their potential hazardous effects.
- Prepare and design an individual program for good nutrition, weight control, and concepts of fitness.
What I’m losing in my online class is the student interaction my on-site class has with regards to social support when developing their behavior change strategies for themselves. I group my students together in the classroom based on what behavior change they are trying to accomplish for the class (diet, exercise, time management, etc….). I haven’t done this with my online class and I feel that they are losing out on that support from fellow students. I could create discussion boards for different behavior change topics and have students interact that way, but I feel like even that may not be enough to draw students into the conversation.
Something else I found interesting was an article from the Illinois Online Network which talks about Instructional Strategies for Online Courses. You can read the article here. As metioned before, my students already do a weekly discussion board post and response to a fellow student, but I like the idea of “small group work” as presented in this link. And this link really gets into the details of what effective group work looks like.
When looking at the tutorials this week, I think that my current online course looks similar to the screencase of Janeen’s course. I have weekly folders for my students & all material for that week (lectures, videos, assignments, and discussion) are all located in the same place. The folders roll out to students as a “Unit” and students can only access the current unit’s material. There are 4 Units in the course and the chapters for each unit are based on similar health topics. (For example, Unit 2 in my course is all related to realationships, communication, sexual health, STDs, and pregnancy). I do find that I like the ease of this set-up and students are not wondering where to go for different activities in the course.
I think I’m starting to understand a bit more on the “why” of course design, and now I need to get working on the “how.”