Online Class Organization – Best Practices

We all have a lot of material and resources we want to make available to our online students but there are so many ways to do this. Are there some guidelines, some best practices when it comes to organizing our online class?

It turns out that many people at many institutions have given this question a great deal of thought. Recently at Palomar, the Academic Technology Committee (ATC) was asked to develop a mechanism to “validate” online courses. This request came directly from Palomar’s recent Accreditation visit. One of the recommendations of the Accrediting Committee was that Palomar needed to develop some means of validating the quality of distance education classes. During the Fall, 2009 semester, the ATC reviewed the literature on high quality online classes and programs.

After reviewing the tools and strategies other insitutions used to develop exemplary online classes, the ATC constructed a best-practices, checklist document. The checklist is intended to assist online instructors as they prepare their online classes. The checklist will be pilot-tested during the Spring, 2010 semester. TERB, the committee at Palomar that develops standards and practices for evaluating classes/instructors, has modified the ATC checklist slightly and the modified checklist will serve as the instrument that faculty will use when they evaluate online classes.

If anyone reviews the checklist (see link below), I would be very interested in hearing your opinion – about what you like, don’t like, as well as any suggestions you have to improve it. If any of you would like to be involved in the pilot testing during Spring, 2010 (either as a reviewer or as a volunteer to have your course reviewed), please let me know.

Validation of preparedness to teach online – new revision

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