There is an explosion of online course opportunities. Some universities even offer programs that are solely online. As educators it is important to make the best learning experiences for each participant. Moore (1993) offers three tips/suggestions for successful online education.
1. Learner-content interaction
2. Learner-instructor interaction
3. Learner-learner interaction
This seems pretty simple but how would you integrate that into your own course? Learner-content is pretty straightforward you could assign readings, research, PowerPoint. Learner-instructor could be accomplished through email, Skype or videos. I had an instructor for a class for my masters that would video tape himself giving lectures and send it to the students. I would not recommend this because it does not facilitate interaction. Learner-learner interaction may be a little trickier. There is always email, blogs, message boards, phone calls but you really do (in my opinion) miss out on the face-to-face time with fellow students. Peters (1993) would agree, he believes online lacks the human dimension of group interaction, and alienates learners from teachers.
Just like any class that you would teach there is a lot of planning that is needed to make an online course successful. There are classes that do lend themselves better to online courses than others. Classes that are more research based or text heavy would do well as an online course but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make those courses more interesting and interactive. Just because a course is online doesn’t automatically make it cutting edge and interactive, be creative and try new ideas, like Skype or conference calls or I-chatting to encourage a face-to-face feel without actually being face-to-face.
I have included a few resources that may help you out when planning an online course.
An introduction to teaching online
Instructional strategies for online courses
Moore, M. 1993. "Three Types of Interaction." Distance Education: New Perspectives, eds. K. Harry , M. Hohn and D. Keegan. London: Routledge.
Peters, O. 1993. "Understanding Distance Education." Distance Education: New Perspectives, eds. K. Harry , M. Hohn and D. Keegan. London: Routledge.