The underlying theme for the Sloan Consortium International Symposium on Emerging Technologies for Online Learning (ET4Online) was on how instructors can refresh their online course to keep it interesting for students.
In an Online Colleges blog post about the symposium, Dr. Melissa Venable writes,
The primary goal of keeping an online course current or fresh is improving the experience and environment for all involved. This effort can include content and assignments, as well as social interaction and technology upgrades, and it doesn’t have to mean a large-scale initiative. Small changes and modifications can make a positive difference for both students and instructors.
Dr. Venable posted a few ideas from the symposium to help instructors refresh their online course. Those ideas are:
- Include student generated discussion questions.
- Vary your comments and replies.
- Use the HTML Editor to format a text-based response (e.g., bold and italics, bullets) and add embedded links, images, and multimedia.
- Build a community with audio.
- Increase your presence with video.
- Use the HTML Editor…MORE! Audio and video options are integrated into the Content Editor, allowing you and your students to record from within the course.
Assignments and Activities
- Consider assignments that foster student interaction with each other.
- Give students choices for assignment completion (i.e., choosing between writing a paper and creating a video.)
- Integrate “active learning" breaks.
For suggestions on setting up a successful online course, read the “Strategies for Creating a Successful Online Classroom” article.