Teaching an Online Course
- Timely, frequent and detailed feedback. Lack of feedback
is the most frequent reason given by students for withdrawing from an online
- Use the grade book in the course space. This allows
students to use the MyGrades link providing quick access so they can keep tabs
on their progress.
- Keeping grades in the course space also helps with incompletes and resolution
of complaints after the end of semester.
- Be in the course space and keep the students engaged.
Instructors sometimes indicate they prefer to communicate with their
students via email and not to access the course space. This is akin
to not showing up in your on-campus classroom. There are several advantages
to communicating from the course space.
- Using the Questions for Instructor, and responding to students through
the other discussion forums provides access to that information to all students.
Just like when you answer a question in the classroom.
- Communicating through the course space creates an archive in case of
questions or issues regarding a student grade or incomplete.
- Communicating through the course space motivates the students to access
the course space more often.
- One factor that diminishes success in online courses is students’ feeling
isolated and remote. For this reason, we strongly advocate use
of the Discussion Board and ongoing, asynchronous discussion.
This engages the students in the course, with one another, and with the content,
and helps to establish a learning community. If you need help facilitating
this type of discussion, please talk with your Instructional Designer.
- Address "netiquette" issues promptly and directly.
Don’t assume that students know what’s not appropriate to post on the Discussion
Board, help them understand just as you would in the classroom.
Address any questionable posts promptly; don’t let the problem get
out of hand. If the situation escalates you may need to involve the WSU
Dean of Students, or the Office of Student
Standards and Accountability.
- See more information on netiquette. Also see
The Core Rules
- Be aware that many students review the entire course space when
the course begins, and plan accordingly. Distance students are generally
employed and have families, and don’t have much flexibility in their schedules.
Therefore, making last minute changes can create a lot of stress in an online
course. We recommend you not make changes in the course space or to the
course (changing assignment or exam due dates) while the course is being delivered
- All WSU resources are available to you and your students
– e.g., Counseling Services, the WSU Access Center (formerly the Disability
Resource Center), eTutoring, Student Standards and Accountability, etc.
Information posted in the Discussion Board does not carry over from one
semester to the next. If you find students are confused about something
and you’re explaining it in the Discussion Board, talk with your Instructional Designer so the problem
can be fixed before the course is offered again.