Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Adapting Your Course Materials for Online Instruction

When adapting your course materials from a face-to-face course to an online course:

1. Ensure that all course documents are in accessible formats. Adobe's PDF is universal, meaning students can download PDF files regardless of which software they have on their personal computer or what type of computer they are using.

2. Limit file formats which use color for contrast, such as maps. These types of files may not be readable for people with disabilities.

3. Use PowerPoint files sparingly. Usually these files are costly for students to print (many student like to print all course materials) and do not convey that much information in terms of course content. Consider using a program such as SlideRocket that allows the instructor to record audio for each slide. Believe it or not, students do enjoy hearing their instructor's voice and it enhances the value of the slide content. Click here for more information about SlideRocket.

4. Investigate the Web for course content that may already be available. Most likely there are materials already created about your topic in the form of e-books, Web pages, scholarly articles and resources, e-libraries, government sources, YouTube and Khan Academy videos, etc. Providing a link to these materials is a simple way to take advantage of the rich resources available on the Web to supplement your existing course content.

5. Work with the disability services department to ensure that the files and materials you are providing are accessible to people with disabilities.

Information adapted from: online learning insights: A Blog about Open and Online Education.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Adapting Your Assignments for Online Instruction

When adapting your course assignments from a face-to-face course to an online course:

1. Provide detailed instructions in the course assignment description. Think about the detailed instructions you would have provided to your face-to-face students and write out these details in the link to the assignment in the online course. Quality work from students is guided by clear, well-defined instructions.

2. It is more effective to have smaller assignments due throughout the course and perhaps one cumulative assignment due at the end of the course than to have just one significant assignment required for the entire course.

3. Consider using rubrics for grading, which are excellent tools for outlining expectations, requirements, and standards. Click here for documentation on Using the Rubric Grading Method.

4. Outline the purpose of the assignment - explain to students how the assignment relates to the material they are learning and what objectives will be met. Learners (especially adult learners) want to know how the assignments and learning activities contribute to the big picture and the learning objectives of the course.

5. Utilize the best options for assignment submission.

       a. Moodle provides the option for online text submission. With this option students type text directly into an online text box. This type of assignment submission works well for journal type writing activities or essay questions.

      b. Another option is to require students to type their assignment in a word processing  software, save the file, and upload it in the assignment link. This type of submission allows the instructor to download the student file and using tools such as "track changes" or "comments", give the student feedback on their assignment.

      c. Click here for documentation on Adding Assignments to Moodle ISU 2.

Information adapted from: online learning insights: A Blog about Open and Online Education.

Coming next: Adapting Your Course Materials for Online Instruction