From Syllabus to Final Exam: Taking the Pain out of Moving your Face-to-Face Class to an Online Platform
We all know that simplicity is the art of decreasing the number of tasks that we must do. But we also know that such sweet simplicity is hard to find, especially when we are challenged with creating online versions of our courses. How do you inject personality and interactivity into a course syllabus for future students whom you will never meet? How can you guarantee that students will be engaged and challenged? More importantly, how can you verify that online students are mastering the material that you have spent months, years, and possibly a lifetime developing?
Educational research routinely shows that adding emotional content and sensory stimuli to a course creates powerful learning experiences. Carefully crafted simulations, enriching field experiences, passionate classroom discussions—all these produce memories that live on in students’ minds long after the course ends. How can you transfer these effective methods from your classroom to an e-learning environment so that the online course pulses with the immediacy that fuels face-to- face instruction?
Learning to Cut the Right Corners
For starters, college instructors need to find short-cuts to move their courses online without sacrificing time and quality. One solution is partnering with instructional designers, professional educators well-versed in what works in online education. Created by veteran instructional designers, ClearAlignment software offers a simple solution that addresses learners’ engagement by producing student-centered, online versions of traditional courses. Much like Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe’s principle of backwards design (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005), ClearAlignment focuses curriculum design around the instructor’s learning objectives (LO’s). An experienced instructional designer then creates web-based activities that support each learning objective. Instructors simply enter their syllabus, course goals, assessments, assignment and textbooks into the software application, and their course materials are treated by an instructional designer who produces the online version of the class. The vertical columns in this image illustrate how the ClearAlignment treatment precisely aligns learning goals with the other elements of course design.