There are many reasons why an instructor might wish to teach an online or blended course. The Teaching Modes page includes some of the benefits of each mode. This page focuses on two of the most significant reasons LSA faculty may want to develop an online or blended course. In either case, it’s a good idea to speak with a consultant from the LTC or LRC, who can help you with planning and development.
You may wish to have an online version, or even some online sections, of an existing course in order to give students greater access to the topic. Perhaps there is a segment of our students who have not been sufficiently included or served by existing, on-site course offerings. There may be students who have not been able to take a course at the time or place it’s usually offered; or students who are traveling or away from campus who want to participate. (Be prepared to articulate who these students are and why they are not sufficiently included and served, when proposing the new format.)
In this case, the focus of your course development should be on finding equivalents for the on-site version of the course. If students cannot attend lectures, the lectures need to be recorded, and interactions like pop quizzes and reflection pauses built into the videos. If students cannot attend discussions, the discussions need to be moved into an asynchronous format using one of LSA’s various discussion and collaboration tools. If students cannot attend hands-on labs or practicum sessions, are there other activities that would allow them to build and demonstrate their own knowledge and expertise in similar ways? Alternatively, can the course be taught in a blended format, and all the in-person on-site time be given over to hands-on work with any analysis or reflection happening during the online asynchronous portion of the class?
At the core, students must not lose anything by choosing a course or section in the online or blended mode. The online or blended version should be equally rigorous and engaging.
On the other hand, you might wish to teach an online or blended course because you wish to do something innovative with those modes. A course developed for this reason should do something that could not be done as well in on-site form. (Be prepared to articulate what you are doing differently, and what increased engagement the online or blended mode will provide.)
In this case, the focus of your course development should be on building the course from first principles, as if it were an entirely new course:
What are the learning objectives?
What materials and activities will help students reach those objectives?
How will you assess whether they have done so?
At each stage of answering those questions, consider what affordances of online or blended learning you want to make use of. Do you want to move your materials and lectures into collaborative and interactive platforms like Hypothesis and Playposit, so that students engage with it more deeply? (If this is the case, consider flipping the course.) Do you want to make use of Zoom breakout rooms in a large course, to allow small-group activities to take place with a different set of random classmates each time? Do you want to teach a blended course so that the half of discussion that takes place online can be deeply reflective and researched, to prepare for more than usually in-depth discussion during on-site classes?
At the core, students should gain something by taking this course in the online or blended mode.