This summer, one of our new student employees with ODEE enrolled in his first online course at The Ohio State University. Having never been an online student, he was not sure exactly what to expect going in to the course.
Ross reflected on the pieces of the online course that made the transition to online easy in certain respects. “Today, online and in-person courses are going to carry a great deal of similarities. In both cases, most of the course content lives online. In my online course, assignments were still found and submitted online, the syllabus was accessed online and most of the course files, help resources and other course components lived online, just like an in-person class. I knew these things weren’t going to be a problem for me.”
Ross had one apprehension going in to the course, though. “What I was unsure about was how the information was going to be delivered. Obviously, most in-person courses have information delivered through live lectures.” Ross wasn’t sure how he would be asked to learn class material in the online course, but was happy to discover that it was pretty similar how Ross had received lecture information in his on-ground classes yet a bit different. His professor had recorded topic-based voice-over PowerPoint presentations to post in the class. “This helped me learn in the best way that I knew how, and if anything, these online lectures were a little better because they could be accessed at any time.”
“If I had one complaint about my online course, it would be the lack of collaboration present in the course. One of the best parts of an in-person course is the ability to easily work with and communicate with classmates.” Ross explained that when they had to work in small groups, they relied on email with each other to collaborate. He would have preferred having a space within the Carmen Canvas course for his group to meet and collaborate such as using the group discussion board feature. “I felt as though there should have been an easier and more effective way to communicate with other students and the professor within the online course itself. For me, this is what really separated the online course from my previous in-person classes.”
Ross reflected on his first online course. “Overall, my first experience with an online course went better than expected. Some of the collaboration and communication abilities were lost online, but it didn’t end up being too much of an issue. With the online course feeling much like an in-person class, there wasn’t too much of an initial adjustment that needed to be made.”
As we read about Ross’s inaugural online learning experience, we can reflect upon our own course designs and how we deliver content and engage with our online students. Are there opportunities for us to set up spaces in our Carmen Canvas course for students to collaborate with each other? How is our lecture content being presented online and are we following best practices for video and PowerPoint presentations? Some of these questions may be opening up unfamiliar territory of study for instructors new to teaching online. For online instructors, ODEE provides on-demand resources along with face-to-face and online trainings throughout each semester. Feel free to peruse these resources and register for the workshops and webinars most important to your needs.