Five Tips for a Successful Online Course
edited: Tuesday, January 13, 2004
By Nicole Lasher
Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2003
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In this article, you'll receive five important tips for a successful online course.
Teaching online is of course very different from teaching in a physical classroom. What many course developers forget is that it is also very different from writing a textbook.
A textbook is meant to be an assistant to classroom teaching and lectures, but an online course has to serve as both an information bank and distributor.
1. Cut to the chase.
Reading on a screen is much more difficult than reading on paper, so you've got to be as concise as possible. Students will not have time to mull over your words because every second counts towards eyestrain. Also, one of the main
reasons many take online courses is for the speed.
2. Have forums and chat.
Even if they don't get much use, forums and chat are important. Students need to be able to interact with you and other students. It increases your course's credibility exponentially, and reduces the need to repeat the same answers to the same questions.
3. Get development help.
There are both free and paid resources to help you out there. Look up educational resources or webmaster resources in any search engine. Find a community you're comfortable and stick with it. You'd be surprised what people will give away for free in exchange for a simple note and link of credit.
4. Trade links with other teachers in similar topics.
This may seem like giving your traffic away, but it isn't. One of the best things about the internet is having options. By showing that you are part of the community, you raise your own credibility, not to mention your website's relevence.
5. Remember that your students are human beings.
On the internet it is very easy to forget sometimes that there are people behind the text. A word of caring or encouragement goes along way in the cold virtual halls of cyberspace. Send a note to students that they've done a good job. Send them holiday and birthday greetings (if you know their birthday). If it's a paid course then take some of the money you make from teaching and turn it into small prizes or contests for them.
I hope that this advice is helpful to you. If you have any questions feel free to contact me through the site.