Thursday, July 23, 2009

12 Time-Saving Tips for Teaching Online

PLANTATION, FL- NOVEMBER 02:  Howie Brown adju...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Online learning saves time for students. Students in online courses have 24/7 access to their course materials, other students, and their instructor. For working students, this is an incredible benefit. But we often hear that online learning takes a lot of an instructor’s time. I have found that it can be, but when a course is set up in advance to take advantage of a learning management system’s features, a lot of time can be saved. Many of these techniques make for a more engaging experience for the students and less stress for the instructor.

Here are some of my favorite time-saving tips. Please add to them!

1. Create a comprehensive syllabus.
  • Utilize a "Week Zero," a module that explains to new students how to be an online student and use the learning management system (LMS).
  • Direct students to tech support and the help desk as much as possible.
  • Create a course “scavenger hunt.”
2. Use a syllabus quiz.
3. Make your course easy to navigate.
  • Keep as much content as you can no more than two clicks away.
  • Use a consistent format week-to-week or module-to-module.
4. Schedule your time.
  • Do not work on your online course because you can; work on it because you have scheduled the time.
  • Let the students know your schedule.
  • Access your course consistently (e.g. three times a week) and respond to email promptly (with-in 48 hours).
5. Automate your course as much as possible.
  • Take advantage of the time-release feature of announcements.
  • Record and reuse lectures.
  • Let the LMS handle as much of the grading as you can.
6. Distributing and exchanging documents.
  • Use the assignment feature of your LMS instead of e-mail.
  • Have the students attach documents to a forum posting.
7. Centralize question and answers.
  • Use a discussion forum for “Frequently Asked Questions.”
  • Create a FAQ page.
  • Ask students to ask questions in the forum rather than e-mail.
8. Use online groups with a deliverable
  • Let the students do the work.
  • Do not respond to every posting, respond to the group deliverable.
9. Use a "common responses" file to quickly paste in answers to common questions.
10. Allow students to facilitate online discussions.
11. Use a detailed grading rubric to help answer questions in advance.
12. Encourage student-student interaction and study groups.
  • Give them the space to solve problems.
What about you? How do you streamline your online teaching process? Leave a comment below if you have any time saving tips.
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1 comment:

  1. From the Twitterverse
    drkimber: @geoffcain I would add: 13. Communicate to entire class in general terms using audio and/or video on a regular basis.

    drkimber: @geoffcain and 14. Be strict about forms of communication. E.g. ONLY take assignmnts in drop box; only accept e-mail in 1 acct. etc.