Principles of Teaching Online Composition
Principles of Teaching Online Composition avatar

Hi everyone, 

Sorry I’m a bit late to this.  There was an administrative/technological issue and my own procrastination. 

Here are some key elements for an online course that I think are important: 

  1. Clear and organized navigation and design – Personally, I think this is important because through taking online classes as a student to teaching online as an instructor, I’ve seen so many variations of how a course is designed and organized, from horribly simple and confusing, to remarkably artistic. I always believe you should design your course for the lowest common denominator of student, the ones that have never used a computer or the internet.  After keeping it clear and simple, you can then add elements to it for the more technologically savvy and design oriented students. 
  2. Accessibility: This kind of overlaps with the previous element.  I only mention this one because I had no clue about accessibility and 508 standards when I first started getting Distance Ed certified.  There are some simple things to accessibility that your pdf/adobe software will help you with, but some things can get more complex and tricky as there are A LOT of things within content to course design that need to be 508 compliant. 
  3. Support, Scaffolding, and Feedback: Often times, students think online classes are easier, but as we all know, online classes, especially writing/English ones, can be that much harder.  I don’t necessarily want to make my support and scaffolding easier for them compared to a physical classroom, like spoon feeding them, but I do want to give them that extra support, more stream-lined and connective scaffolding, while still challenging them.  Feedback is of course always essential, and even more so in an online environment.  This means constant and continual feedback and being on top of that.  This is something that I sometimes have difficulty with and drop the ball at times because online classes can easily be forgotten or put on the back burner.  Nuances to feedback is also important to keep in mind.  Since my students don’t have those visual cues, I have to be mindful of creating a more positive tone to my feedback, so that they don’t feel I’m attacking them or being overly serious.  Using different kinds of feedback can help in this regard.  Besides the typical written feedback, I often utilize the audio feedback option as well.  
  4. Using different tools and content: I think it is important to utilize the different mediums to learn besides just a textbook.  This includes blogs, youtube, ted talk links, and as much supplemental instruction as possible.  This is something that I personally would like to improve upon.  I feel weird on camera, so I need to do a better job at posting videos and implementing more personalized touches.  I also such at graphic design, and I need to work on making things more aesthetically interesting.  It would be really cool to have my course as a video game quest one day…
  5. From the book: Some things that I annotated or found helpful so far from the book is the difference between a different approach vs. a progressive approach in the way we translate classroom to online.  I thought it was interesting when he talked about the preference for online composition in “textualizing the class” and that discussion now becomes “writing to interact with others.” Some of the things that I found interesting to be present to is the concept of “hivemind” and the idea that we should be mindful of those “periodic moments of malaise during which (we) suspect that everything (we) are doing is wrong…” Lastly, I really love the idea of being exposed and vulnerable and the idea of the “real” voice may be completely different from the voice we use in a physical classroom than the voice we use online.  This made me think of being a different avatar in different settings vs trying to be my most authentic self everywhere. 

I apologize for not using screencast like most of you. I used youtube instead for my little Canvas overview vid.