Course Design

Designing an online course, or adapting a traditional course to an online setting will look much the same as designing any other course (See Planning).  However, the different nature and structure of online courses will require some extra considerations.

  • Online activities take more time than face-to-face activities.1  Students will be reading, posting, and responding at different times, and technology difficulties can cause delays.  Allocate enough time for discussions and group activities that require responses, and give notice early of assignment deadlines and posting requirements.
  • Use technology to enrich your class.  When designing activities, think of which tools will best complement your learning objectives.  Use videos, links, and interactive sites such as Google Docs to create an engaging, active learning environment.2
  • Online courses require more structure than equivalent activities in face-to-face courses.  Prepare and communicate participation requirements, group work and discussion expectations, and be sure to acknowledge student posts with comments and questions.1
  • Cheating is easier in online classes.  When preparing assessment, try to prevent cheating by having timed tests, using plagiarism tools (See Plagiarism), and having creative assessments such as video presentations.1