Friday, 23 March 2012 21:47

Outlining Your Course

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Teaching Professor assisting students with computers © 2012 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


You might have several great activities and assessment ideas floating around in your head, and you might also have a pretty good idea of what the intended outcomes of your course should be (especially if you’ve already visited the Outcomes section of this website) but putting it all together is often one of the greatest and most time consuming challenges course developers will face. Mapping out all of these ideas may seem even more time consuming, but in the long run it can make the course flow much more smoothly. One way to do this is to create a flow chart or mind map of the course.

Developing a Flow Chart

Preparing a flow chart is a useful exercise as it can help you reflect on the important aspects of your course. If you currently use a course map or schedule, you may already have this partially completed; however, you can develop it further in any format you choose. Some people prefer to develop outlines, while others favour a more visual representation of the course, like a mind map. With all the new Web 2.0 tools out there, there are plenty of free resources that can help get you started.

The following websites will take you to a few of our favourites:

www.mindmeister.com
http://www.bubbl.us
http://mind42.com
http://www.spiderscribe.net

Defining Module Activities and Interactions

In a face to face (f2f) learning environment, interactions happen spontaneously, whether between the instructor and the students, or just between students themselves. The instructor often facilitates the direction of these social exchanges as they unfold. In an online learning environment, however, the kinds of spontaneity between f2f and online learning environments don’t usually occur in the same way.

"Technology can deliver all kinds of great learning tools to help facilitate an active learning environment."

The class activities for an online course need to be developed in full detail, and all interactions must be well thought out before the course is even delivered. Although, this is not to say that the instructor loses all ability to guide or direct the students’ learning; in fact, there are several ways for instructors to encourage and communicate with their students to academically and socially engage in course content. If something works well in a f2f environment, don’t dismiss the idea when it comes to a course that is delivered online. Technology delivers all kinds of effective learning tools to facilitate an active learning environment.

For more information on the tools available, see the Selecting Tools section of this website.

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