In my current course in the DLL program at Lamar University, I had the opportunity to create an online course. The course is five weeks long and I was given control over the type of course I would create and the learning management system (LMS) I would create it on. This has been a great experience for me, and one that has shown me some of the potential for creating in an online format. I chose to build my course in Canvas, and though I had no prior experience with this LMS it was user-friendly and easy to to navigate. I have shared some of my insights into creating an online course in the blog posts below. It has been an adventure, and I have gained new knowledge of quality programs that can help an online course be student-centered and successful.
After creating the five week online course for my DLL class, I realized that there are classes within my school that would benefit from an online course “makeover”. I teach middle school so I do think an online only course would not work well with this age group. Like the course I designed for my social studies class, I think that any online course should be completed in school so that students who need extra help and or clarification can get that from the teacher. The first course at my school that could benefit from an online format is the school-wide enrichment period. This is a thirty minute period three days each week. Students are either participating in enrichment activities during this time, or are receiving tier three intervention. Each content area has this time and it is uniform for the entire school. The enrichment period would be an ideal place to implement online instruction. It is short enough that lessons could be brief and targeted. Students could work through these asynchronously and move on once they have shown mastery since enrichment activities are not graded. Another benefit would be freeing the teachers to focus on the students who need the most help by pulling and working with them one on one or in small groups.
The second area that I would like to change to an online format is our professional development. The pandemic taught us a valuable lesson about what can be accomplished online. Many of our professional development activities were moved to and online format a year ago, though the expectation was that we complete them in our classrooms on our computers. If professional development was moved to an online format, I envision a menu of options for teachers to choose from based on needs, content area, and interests. Ideally, this asynchronous learning could be incentivized by allowing faculty and staff the option to complete it at home within a given time frame. There is a possibility that some would not meet the expectations, but there is a large portion of the faculty and staff who are not engaged in the face-to-face professional development that is currently offered. The benefits of an asynchronous online program would still outweigh many of the potential problems that may arise. The format can also be changed to fit the needs of the faculty and staff. There are other courses that could benefit from an online format, but the ones I have addressed are the best candidates for this type of program at this time. If the courses I have mentioned were changed to an online format, the success could bring about changes in the design of other courses down the road.
Final Course Reflection
As I finish this course, I wrote a reflection of the overall experience and included it below.