Facilitating Your Course
Today, online learning often takes a constructivist approach. Constructivism refers to students taking a more active role in their learning by collaborating with peers under the facilitated guidance of the instructor. That is why it is important to understand the difference between instructor-led learning and self-paced learning. Instructor-led learning involves continuous, active participation and feedback from the instructor to build community and promote social interaction. These collaborative experiences create opportunities for students to explore, discover, and construct meaningful learning aligned with your course outcomes.
Keep in mind that students have different learning styles, knowledge bases, backgrounds, and perspectives. These factors combine to create greater potential for collective learning in a constructivist framework. Effective facilitation structures the learning environment so knowledge is easily shared, combined, constructed, and co-constructed.
It is also important to set explicit instructions and guidelines about expectations for participation and communication at the very beginning of the course. You should provide frequent opportunities for students to demonstrate their active engagement with the course and their growing mastery of knowledge and skills. We recommend weighting online participation at 30% to 40% of the final grade.
A successful course experience for both instructors and students requires clear communication of course expectations. Students should know what is expected of them and when they are expected to complete these requirements. For example, students should know exactly how their participation in online discussions contributes to their final grade.