Select a Course Format

A primary challenge in moving your course online is figuring out how to divide up class time and out-of-class time. Making this decision requires balancing of College constraints (on total class hours for students, for instance), personal constraints (like uncertainty with respect to childcare and time available to work on the course this summer), the needs of students (both based on time zone and necessary curriculum), and what makes the most sense for your course material and teaching style. 

If your on-campus activities have simple online analogs, you might be asking yourself why you need to change anything at all. Several other characteristics of online teaching and learning should be considered. 

  • Activities take longer online. Many class activities will take longer longer online. Additionally, whenever you add interactivity to a lesson, it will require more time. It is better to remove some material from your class sessions than to try to squeeze in too much. You may find that you can eliminate some topics or activities or alternatively, you can convert them into asynchronous or peer group activities. 

  • Your online course format necessitates change. If you're shortening class sessions so you can hold an extra session for students in distant time zones, you'll need to plan what to keep in class and how you'll deliver what no longer fits. If you're allowing students to watch recordings of your lecture instead of attending, you'll need to think about the experience of the students who can't attend live. Even if you're sticking with a traditional format, you'll need to allocate synchronous time for peer-to-peer activities in the 2-4 hours of synchronous time students spend weekly. Every course will have to adjust activities to move online. 

  • In online class sessions, interactivity keeps students engaged. Even though lectures may work well for you in your on campus course, when you move online adding interactivity will keep students engaged. Modify minimally interactive activities to ensure students are interacting with you and their peers during class time. 

  • Asynchronous delivery works really well for some activities. Some activities you previously did in class, including lecture, may work as well or even better as interactive out-of-class work.

There are various course formats to choose from, as well as some constraints on your choice based on College guidelines