In The Online Teaching Survival Guide, Judith Boettcher and Rita-Marie Conrad list 10 (plus 4) best practices for teaching online. I have considered each and here is how I plan to incorporate each one in my upcoming course.

  1. Be present at the course site. One way I am going to be socially present in my upcoming course is to create an introductory post that connects our regular content to the current coronavirus pandemic, and be transparent in describing my own transition to providing the class online.
  2. Create a supportive online course community. In addition to my frequent posts, and short concept videos, one assignment in particular, the Art in Quarantine image recreation project will help create a supportive online course community. Students will be posting these pictures and sharing the process with each other.
  3. Develop a set of explicit expectations for your learners and yourself as to how you will communicate and how much time students should be working on the course each week. This best practice is particularly important during this unprecedented time. Many students will be self-isolating and social distancing. It will help for all of us to have boundaries set by “available times” and expectations around response times. Additionally the next course I teach will be tricky because it is scheduled in a compressed semester over a six-week period. Students and myself will be challenged to spend roughly 20 hours per week on this course.
  4. Use a variety of large group, small group, and individual work experiences. In addition to individual assignments, and small group discussions, I could see Zoom conference calls being helpful for this semester. Many students might be feeling lonely and could use more socialization than in a typical course.
  5. Use synchronous and asynchronous activities. The majority of this course with be asynchronous, but I could see hosting check-ins or office hours synchronously.
  6. Ask for informal feedback early in the term. In the second week of class I will survey the students to see how they are progressing and how I can support their learning. This check-in will be especially important for me as it will be my first time teaching online.
  7. Prepare discussion posts that invite responses, questions, discussions, and reflections. I have some creative discussion questions that will accompany each unit.
  8. Search out and use content resources that are available in digital format. Fortunately for me the course I will be teaching is a first year survey with many open resources available.
  9. Combine core concept learning with customized and personalized learning. Similar to what I would do in a face to face course, I am giving students as Choose your own Adventure assignment that enhances the meaningfulness of the learning.
  10. Plan a good closing and wrap activity for the course. I need to really think about this one, but I might ask students to give advice to future students taking the course.
  11. Assess as you go by gathering evidences of learning. In order to do this I am going to have weekly due dates, and scaffolded assignments.
  12. Rigorously connect content to core concepts and learning outcomes. As part of the introductory survey, I have the opportunity to ask students about one of the learning outcomes they most identify with and answer the question “How do I want to be different in my person, in my mind after this course?” (loc 1938).
  13. Develop and use a content frame for your course. I think in some ways the chronological nature of this course helps create a frame, but I think sharing a visual of the units and how they fit together will be helpful.
  14. Design experiences to help learners make progress on their novice-to expert journey. This is a best practice I really need to consider, and think more about how I will incorporate it.

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