Transitioning to an online learning environment presents both opportunities and challenges for faculty. To assist faculty in leveraging the opportunities and meeting the challenges as they move to an online teaching and learning environment, the Center offers a 4-week Online Course Design Orientation & Consultation Program, now available in an asynchronous format online. The program is the first phase of support for faculty as they begin to think about the courses they teach onsite at Northeastern University in an online environment. While this program is offered once a month for the entire university community, should departments or colleges/school have a cohort of three or more faculty who will be transitioning courses online, we will offer a customized program that specifically meet the needs of the group. This program is aimed at:
- Providing faculty with a solid foundation for online teaching that provides an evidence-based understanding of how learning works, particularly in an online environment
- Acknowledging the existence of a mindset that an online course is just an onsite course offered remotely and moving beyond it by highlighting the opportunity for concept-based courses that highlight the complex knowledge structure of courses in an online learning environment
- Developing courses that are more scalable because their design is driven by a conceptual, network-based approach rather than a lecture-based linear approach
Led by learning scientists who have extensive knowledge of the literature on teaching and learning in general as well as a specific understanding of how these learning principles are manifested online, the program focuses on taking a learner-centered approach to:
- Understand how students learn most effectively online
- Analyze the goals, content, activities and assessments of the course and ensure alignment among them
- Evaluate what elements of the course might naturally benefit from being taught in an online environment (due to tools that transcend onsite instruction) and which ones might need some creative problem solving to be successfully taught online
- Design online learning and practice activities as well as formative and summative assessment activities that take advantage of the online learning environment
Following the program, faculty will have:
- Developed a concrete understanding of how learning works and its relevance when designing online courses
- Designed a syllabus that represents the course, its objectives, activities and forms of assessment from a conceptual basis, highlighting the knowledge structure underlying the course material
- Developed a course map that emphasizes the topics, activities and forms of assessment that will be covered in each of the modules for the course and how they will support the course objectives
- Identified topics that will benefit from an online environment and begun to research ways to leverage this environment to maximize impact
- Identified and started problem-solving around how to teach topics that might be resistant to online instruction by using the myriad tools available for online instruction
- Identified which modules might be conceptually more time-consuming to produce
Following the program, faculty will start formal development and production. A learning scientist will aid in the transition to development by arranging a meeting with the faculty member and instructional designer to discuss all aspects of the course development process as a team. During this meeting, the instructional designer will be provided with background about the course and the way that the faculty member would like it developed for online instruction. After this meeting, faculty members will work independently with the instructional designers and production team to develop the course. Learning scientists will be available throughout the development process as needed to provide feedback and support (i.e., specific teaching and learning concerns in modules; incorporating future assessment and evaluations of the course into the maintenance and revision of the course).
Online Course Design Orientation Program Online Schedule:
Monday, August 4 through Friday, August 29
Addressing the same content and outcomes as our face-to-face programming, the online version also offers faculty the opportunity of an online learning experience with peers. The program will be offered to a cohort group each month. It will begin and end with an hour-long in-person session, with most content delivery and workshop activities occurring through synchronous communication with weekly topics and expectations.
If you’re interested in participating in our inaugural August session, contact Laurie Poklop at email@example.com by Friday, August 1.