You are about to take over a class that has been developed and designed by someone else: This is often an alien situation for faculty, but it is common in an online program environment.
To be successful as an instructor in this course, it is essential that you set aside the fact that you would have done some things differently. Think of the course as a broader version of the textbook. It is the starting point, incomplete in itself. What you do in the day-to-day teaching of the class will lead to learning.
Student evaluations overall suggest that the most successful online courses have teachers who are prepared and involved. To help assure that your students will perceive you in that light, here are some tips of what you SHOULD do and what NOT to do:
What NOT to do
What you SHOULD do…
|Do NOT wing it. The students will know.||Even though you are an expert in the subject matter, familiarize yourself with the online course ASAP. Read through all parts of the class. Recognize that everyone does things differently; see where you feel you are going to want to use Announcements or Discussions to clarify, define, provide an additional example, add an additional (not better) approach or point of view.|
|DO NOT delete anything from the Canvas class.||If there are materials that are outdated or no longer accurate, check with your instructional designer about how to handle them. Your instructional designer will help you hide any instructor-specific items such as biographies and replace them with your own.|
|DO NOT ignore the textbook or other materials. This is a sure way to alienate students who have invested in those materials.||If the course has an assigned textbook and/or other materials, please reference them. The students have paid for them in one way or another.|
|DO NOT take a “hands off; this is already a good course” approach. No matter how good the course is, your additions right here, right now are valuable.||You can give the course your own touch. Make use of the Announcements Area to welcome your students, to direct them to relevant materials in the news or on the web, to remind them of assignments, to provide “hints” for tests or projects, to praise and summarize their work. Announcements, Discussions, and Grade Item Feedback are great methods of communication|
|DO NOT take tests for granted. If there are tests in your course, they will have been set up in a way that promotes academic honesty and supports accurate assessment of the course contents and objectives.||Become familiar with testing protocol. Tests are randomized and draw from pools associated with the appropriate learning objectives. Multiple choice questions are almost always auto-graded, but many tests also include short answer or essay questions that you will need to grade yourself, and you may also need to manually publish these to the gradebook. If you have questions about the way tests are set up in your class (not all classes have tests) or if you have questions regarding the approach to providing text feedback, please contact your instructional designer.|
|DO NOT be silent. Students want to learn from each other, but you are the expert that confirms what they and their classmates are saying.||Make use of the Announcements and Discussions areas to provide your students with your expertise and your input. Monitor the discussion area to answer their questions, provide direction. Use individual and whole class feedback on their assignments and discussions as another means of “live” instruction.|
|DO NOT criticize the course. Students will not appreciate this type of “honesty” on your part.||Be honest with the students. It’s OK to let them know you are not the creator of the course if the subject comes up and that the course was developed by one of your colleagues in this program. But do not volunteer this information. Instead, emphasize that you are the instructor and “are very familiar with the course and its content, that you will provide guidance, add detail, and answer questions throughout the course.” Students generally want answers to questions and solutions to issues. They do not want excuses.|
|DO NOT be afraid to ask questions.||Ask questions. Feel free to contact any of the online program administrators or the iDocs team with any questions or concerns you may have.|