My thoughts on the checklist provided in Ko and Rossen page 123-124:
• General Course details – yes
• Instructor contact details – yes; also like the idea of including ‘office hours’ and turnaround time
• Course description – yes; not sure about the pre-requisites being online at all times (maybe could include everything in the Syllabus in a separate area/document but highlight some of the important bits on the home screen for certain periods of time; maybe use an ‘important information for the next couple of weeks’ section which could change as time goes on
• Course objectives – yes; probably with each week’s section as well as part of overview
• Required texts and materials – yes with link(s) to where can be obtained (physical and/or online)
• Assessment criteria – yes; part of important bits area as well in time due in
• Participation criteria – I think it is important for the tutor to comment somewhere as well so that students feel their comments are worthwhile; not sure about minimum number of postings a week as that will depend on what someone has to contribute – if there is a minimum, some may just add something to get the numbers up
• Course geography – no as it should be fairly self-evident
• Week-by-week schedule – yes; should state required and optional activities
• Institution policies – yes via a link to appropriate area
My overall thoughts:
Having been involved with an Online Course as a student, I used to get frustrated at the lack of tutor comments on the discussions set up made it feel like a worthless activity and as the course progressed, fewer discussions were undertaken by students.
The clearer the better is always important and repetition is golden because then at least the students shouldn’t be able to say ‘but I didn’t know’.
An area at the start of the course should be set aside for the important bits like:
- do you have the following pre-requisites
- have you read the course syllabus
- Assignment 1 is due on …… etc
Having seen the Blackboard presentation, I’m glad our institution uses Moodle (as frustrating as that can be at times, it doesn’t look as frustrating as the Blackboard set up).
My comments on the Pedagogy First! course set up:
- I like the ‘tabs’ at the top of the page – one of the first things I did was to have a look at the syllabus. I would have liked to have printed it out straight from the course page (preferably via a print option) but that didn’t seem to work too well so I copied and pasted it into a Word document and printed it from there. I like to see what is happening next without having to go to the website all the time.
- I like the ‘Welcome’ section – it gives a nice feel to the course
- I think having just the current week’s content showing removes the clutter I have with my Moodle courses where a weekly structure can be useful but the students sometimes complain they have to do too much scrolling (maybe a reverse week structure maybe best so the current week is at the top),