This six-week course is designed to give professors the tools and experience they need to be more effective online instructors. We use an evidence-based approach to explore topics such as student engagement, technology tools, and assessment strategies with the goal of helping participants understand the unique challenges and opportunities afforded by online education.
Much of the class involves the use of an online discussion board wherein participants discuss prompts generated by their fellow classmates. My colleague Kristi and I maintain an active presence in the discussion board throughout the class, as a way of not only helping keep our students engaged but demonstrating discussion board best practices as well. By the end of the six weeks, participants often report in their self-reflections that the class had a transformative effect not only on how they view online education, but their own face-to-face instruction as well.
POI Syllabus (PDF) The syllabus for the October 2015 session.
Course Activity: Create a Self-Introduction PowerPoint (PDF) One of the first assignments our participants receive, which helps everyone in class get to know each other as well as help us make sure all our students are properly following instructions. Students post these on our discussion board which often leads to many different social connections being made in class as well.
Four Key Components of Online Instruction (PDF)A set of principles I wrote to help course designers create an online course that is effective for them as well as their students.
We use tools such as Diigo to help participants organize information in class as well as in their own professional lives.
We present every assignment using two forms of media: print and video. This helps make sure we are addressing the unique learning style of each of our students, and it also helps our students know that we are invested in the class enough to take the time to do these sorts of videos.
The following reflection is an example of what our students produce at the end of their six weeks in our POI class.