Let’s learn more about e-courses together through this blog post series.
Most people get caught up in looking for software tools to run their course. The only tool I’ve used so far is something called Moodle, which is a control panel for running academic-style courses. It includes features like the ability to grade tests, set up discussion forums, upload textbooks, etc. It’s quite formal and probably a bit much for most folks who just want to send some emails in sequence (the drip thing) or collect people in smaller or larger groups on audio or video.
Before Tools: Content & Structure
Before you choose a software tool or tools, though, you have to figure out what you want to do. In the software engineering book I’ve been indexing this past week, it’s called modeling. This modeling process includes all the processes that a customer wants to do with the computer’s help (like tracking inventory).
So, first, you need to outline your requirements for creating a course before you can pick a tool to help you. Ask yourself some questions like these:
- What content do you want to teach? Really need an outline of that first and foremost, with objectives for the student. Otherwise, it’s just a book.
- How many people do you want to work with at one time? Large group, small group, individual interactions, all three eventually?
- How much access do you want to give to people? Email connection, documents, audio, video, and how much interactivity with you?
- What do you want them to do? Read, write, meditate, make a video, ride a bike?
- Do you want them to interact with each other? In small groups or everyone together in a forum atmosphere?
- Do you want to have them turn in stuff and have you comment on or grade it, or are they just doing it for themselves?
- Do you want feedback from them about the content?
- Do you want to provide an endorsement or certification, and if so, how will you measure their competence—quizzes, tests, live performance?
I know, that’s a lot. But when you take your wisdom and move from a passively consumed object like a book to an interactive course, lots more layers show up.
So, your homework for this blog post series is to do up an outline, with student objectives, for the subject you want to teach. It can be from a book you’ve already written, or it can turn into a book you will write to support the course.
Thanks for coming along for the ride, and if you need a one-on-one tutorial on starting an e-course or using a specific software tool, just let me know and we’ll figure it out together.