For many instructors, the online teaching experience will involve pedagogical methods that are very different from those that we are accustomed to using in the face-to-face class. Online pedagogy offers both opportunities as well as challenges. Ironically, the student experience can involve a more active role than they may be accustomed to, particularly in large lecture courses. From the instructor’s perspective, this requires a more explicit identification of learning goals, and at a time scale that is typically much finer grained time scale (e.g., specific learning outcomes for 5-10 minute ‘chunks’ of materials) than is the case in many traditional classes.
Instructors may have different goals in their use of online materials. At one extreme, a course may be fully online. This is the case for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and many SPOCs (Small Private Online Courses). At the other extreme, instructors may selectively include online materials that are used to provide supplementary materials in a face-to-face class, playing a similar role to reading assignments but without substantially altering the way the course is taught. In between these extremes lie hybrid courses. In those classes, the majority of the material that is typically delivered in lecture is moved to an online platform, and students view that material out of class. The in person class time is then used for activities that allow the students to increase the depth of their mastery of the material, through group discussion, problem solving activities, working on projects, etc. This is the so-called ‘flipped class.’ This is an approach that can be very rewarding to both instructor and students. In this case, the pedagogical challenges involve not only development of the online materials, but also developing the activities for the flipped portion of the class.
The goal of the Online Office is to provide guidance to instructors who are interested in any of these approaches. They do involve a significant investment of instructor time and effort, but they can lead to significantly enhanced educational experiences for both students and instructors.
Links to the left will lead to pages that address Getting Started, Preparing an Online Course, Using Copyright Material, Resources, and Frequently Asked Questions. These are good starting points for information if you are considering using online materials in existing classes, or developing a free-standing MOOC or SPOC. If you have additional questions about how to proceed, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a consultation meeting.