How to Put Graduate Course Work Online
As technology continues to advance, more instructors are utilizing the web to post course work online. This provides students access not only to reading materials, but also to their grades, discussion boards, and other web-based tools. When you determine how to put graduate course work online, it is important to find the right system for your class, as well as to follow copyright guidelines and suggested teaching methods for online courses.
Utilize a course management system (CMS).Also referred to as a Learning Management System (LMS) or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), these web-based systems are designed to offer instructors space to post course material online. Students and instructors are required to sign in with a username and password and are only given access to their own courses. Many universities have already partnered with a CMS company. If not, several vendors are available from which to choose.
- Learn how to use all of its features so you can use the system to its full extent. Take the time to attend training sessions. Ask an Information Technology staff member to meet with you and help you determine which features would work best for your class.
- Train your students how to use this system. Make sure they understand how you expect them to use it throughout the semester: how often to check it, when to post discussion questions, and how to find their grades and assignments.
- Be realistic and flexible in your time frames and expectations. Not every student has high-speed Internet at home, or even a computer. While technology can be a great asset to the classroom, it can be tough for these students to access it.
Use a blog.You can also post course work through blogs. Blogs allow you more flexibility in design and style, but they are also generally open to the public. If you choose to use a blog, you need to be extremely cautious in what you post and what you ask your students to post.
Post podcasts.Some classes utilize either audio or video lectures, available for students to access throughout the semester. This allows them to listen to or watch lectures until they comprehend the material. It also helps them review. However, do not rely entirely on podcasts. Online course work needs to be learner-centered and interactive.
Remember copyright laws.Posting course work online still requires you to pay attention to copyright laws. Traditional copyright laws apply to digital reproductions and distributions. Be familiar with public domain, fair use, and copyright laws so you do not distribute unauthorized content.
- Anything that is copyrighted by the instructor can be posted online, so feel free to post any of your original materials.
- Content provided by publishers or CMS vendors usually contain copyright licensing when purchased. Linking or posting those materials is generally okay.
- Linking to other websites or resources is usually permissible. Keep an eye out in case certain websites prohibit this.
- The TEACH Act allows certain schools to use copyrighted material under certain conditions. Generally, non-profit, accredited schools can use material in live classroom sessions.
Practice good pedagogical techniques.Many instructors use a CMS because it is a quicker and more cost-effective way of distributing information and resources. But it is also important to consider how your teaching methods will change.
- Learn about online collaboration, case-based learning, and problem-based learning (PBL). These allow students to interact with each other and actively engage with the learning process.
- Decide what course work will be put online and what still needs to be covered in class. Also consider the way you will cover those materials in class. Involve students as much as you can.
- Incorporate interactive elements. Engage students outside of class by encouraging them to interact with each other through discussion boards and chat rooms.
- Have realistic expectations. While graduate courses place more responsibility on the student to learn the material, it is important to interact with students to make sure they are truly learning it.
- Meet students on their terms as often as possible. Graduate students often juggle work, family, and school. Therefore they may not be able to meet you during traditional office hours. Be intentional about quickly responding to emails and voicemails, and try to schedule regular hours to be online so you can interact with your students through discussion boards or chat rooms.
- Post course work regularly and early. Some instructors forget to make reading assignments available to students so they have enough time to complete any assignments connected with the reading.
Video: Graduate student experience - CSU's online master's and Ph.D. programs
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