Gadsden State eLearning Quick Steps
Steps To Create Your Online Course
Taking your course online may seem like an overwhelming task, but it can be as easy as 1, 2, 3. Just follow the easy steps below and you will be well on your way to creating a successful online course.
1. Prepare Yourself
Educate yourself by reading articles about online learning, instructional design, and technology education. Visit the eLearning Office collection of articles.
Test yourself by taking the Technology Skills Self-Assessment Survey from Florida Gulf Coast University.
Understand hardware and software specifications. Make sure your computer is set up with the correct requirements.
2. Prepare Your Materials
Gather your course materials and content in a central location. Include items such as handouts, slide shows, syllabus, overheads, lecture notes, projects, assessments, and discussion topics. Keep in mind, almost any medium available for use in a classroom or other setting can be used online.
- Determine what formats your materials exist in. Take note of items already in electronic formats such as word processing documents, spreadsheets, and slides.
- Accommodate different learning styles. Make sure visual learners have graphics and text they can see to foster learning. Provide narration and text for verbal learners.
- Identify measurable course objectives. These should incorporate materials delivered both in class and online. Determine what core competencies and knowledge students will need to meet these objectives.
3. Make an Outline
- Make an outline that matches each course component with associated date, lecture materials, labs, assignments and corresponding items. This comprehensive outline can be very helpful in Step 5 - Building a Course Skeleton.
4. Determine How To Deliver Materials
- Determine which materials should be delivered in the face-to-face component of your course (if your course has one) and which items can be delivered online. Select items that are relevant to course objectives and student learning outcomes.
- Prepare the materials for electronic delivery. This may include scanning graphics, creating files in a word processor, developing web pages in a web authoring tool, or creating slides in presentation software. Again, contact the eLearning Office if assistance is needed.
- Avoid delivering materials that will distract the student from the course objectives. Do not add irrelevant information to "fill-up" your course.
5. Build a Course Skeleton
- Create the organizational (or skeleton) structure of your course. This involves creating a series of clearly labeled folders that will hold course materials.
- Make a folder for every item in your outline (from Step 3) or mimic the structure of your syllabus.
- Enter the Course Information area (or the Begin Class Here area) and add the documents for the Syllabus, Grading Policies, and other basic items relating to course management.
- Enter the Course Documents
- area (or Course Content area) and create folders that correspond to the main topics or sections of your course. Create sub-folders for sub-topics as necessary. For example:
- Week 1: Introduction to English Grammar, (folder)
- Week 2: Working with Nouns (folder)
- Week 3: Mastering Verb Tenses (folder)
- a. Regular Verbs, (sub-folder of Week 3)
- b. Irregular Verbs (sub-folder of Week 3)
- Enter the Assignments area, and create folders that correspond with your assignments.
6. Add Staff Information
- Enter the Staff Information content area and create an entry for yourself. Be sure to add a picture of yourself!
7. Fill in the Content
- Enter each folder created and add the content.
- Include a short description for each item. Indicate what the item is and how it is relevant to the lesson. This description helps students understand how to associate (frame/attend to) this item in relation to rest of the course materials.
8. Incorporate the Tools into Other Course Components
- Enter the Discussion Board, create a Forum, and post an introductory assignment. For example, you might ask each student to write one to three paragraphs explaining who they are and why they took your course. Require students to read entries from other students. You might also encourage them to respond to each other. This is the first step in creating an "online community" for your course.
- Plan on adding at least one new topic to the Discussion Board Forum each week. Make sure this topic requires students to formulate an answer and back it up with facts to demonstrate their understanding. Monitor and respond to student threads and encourage students to do the same.
- Locate at least three external websites that relate to information you are teaching. Place these in the External Links area and recommend students explore these sites on "virtual fieldtrips." Optionally, structure an assignment that incorporates researching and reporting information from these fieldtrips. Also, consider placing links to the download pages of any plug-ins, players, readers, or viewers that are necessary to access the various kinds of files or multimedia you are using in your course or refer students to the eLearning page for this.
9. Create an Introductory Announcement
- Post an introductory message in the announcements area. Welcome the students to your course, direct them to the Course Information area (or the Begin Class Here area) to obtain the syllabus, and indicate the location of the first class assignment or reading.
10. Complete the Process
- Preview course materials by checking each link, proofreading descriptions, and viewing the course from a student perspective.
- Enjoy teaching your online class!