Online Course Content
Online course instructors are responsible for the creation of the content. As you build your course for an online, asynchronous learning environment, please keep in mind:
- Clarity is much more important in the online environment than in a traditional class, since students cannot easily raise a hand if they don’t understand something. If you write learning objectives in terms of what you expect students to know at the end of class, you can create activities and assessments that are clearly tied to those objectives.
- It is essential to interact regularly with students. By creating and maintaining a presence in the online classroom and including activities that promote interaction among the students, you can reduce the feeling of isolation that can otherwise occur online.
- Online courses should be as rigorous as their on-campus equivalents with equivalent outcomes. Students often think that online learning will be easier and take less time than face-to-face classes. Informing students up front that your online class will hold them to the same academic standards as traditional classes allows students to make an educated decision about whether they should learn online.
A number of excellent resources are available to help you build your course.
eCampus Quality Instruction Program (eQIP)
The eCampus Quality Instruction Program (eQIP), a program collaboratively built and facilitated by the eCampus Center and Academic Technologies, offers a comprehensive way for faculty to design courses for the online environment, with support from their colleagues and experienced instructional designers. Please contact Kelley Brandt (208) 426-5962 for more information.
As a subject matter expert in your academic specialty, your own materials developed for face-to-face classes are a rich resource for online course content. Assignments, lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations, and other materials can be adapted for your online course. The eCampus Center’s instructional designers can help with ideas about how to adapt materials to suitable formats for online learning.
Textbooks often come bundled with lessons, assessment instruments, content demonstrations, etc. that can be plugged directly into Blackboard through a course cartridge. Here are some of the major publishers:
- Higher Education
Find a representative for your academic discipline at: http://catalogs.mhhe.com/mhhe/
- WebTutor on Blackboard
Find Blackboard course cartridges to jump-start your content at: http://www.delmarlearning.com/webtutor/index.asp
- Pearson Prentice Hall
- OneKey Blackboard
Find Blackboard course cartridges to jump-start your content at: http://vig.prenhall.com/catalog/
- Pearson Allyn & Bacon
- Texts and Technology
Find Blackboard course cartridges to jump-start your content at: http://www.ablongman.com
- Norton Resource Library
- Find instructor resources to plug right into your online course at: http://www.wwnorton.com/nrl/index_2.htm
- Open Resource Repositories
- You may also consider MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching), which has ready-made content that can be linked to from your Blackboard course site. MERLOT is a “free and open resource designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education.” Here, you can search for reusable instructional materials directly or browse according to discipline. When considering MERLOT materials, please check carefully for the “Cost Involved with Use” and “Copyright and/or Other Restrictions” specifications. While MERLOT is free to use, contributors of specific materials may have attached costs and/or other restrictions. MERLOT is located at merlot.org.
As with all resources available on the Web, it is important to carefully review all content before making a decision to include it in your course. Especially with free resources, not all content is kept updated, and some information may be unreliable.