Read the entire flip that course series on translating traditional courses for online delivery:
- Course Layout and Syllabus
- Communication Among Students
- Communication Between Students and Faculty
- Addressing Learning Styles
- Packaging Content
Second in a series on how to translate a face-to-face course into an online course.
So, now that you have reflected on your face-to-face course, how you teach, and what your goals are, let’s talk more specifically about the course layout as expressed in your syllabus. It is a good idea to use your current syllabus as a guide.
One of the resources I suggested in the first post [no longer available], Optimizing Your Syllabus for Online Students, addressed options for translating your syllabus:
- the rationale
- the classics
- the map
- the contract
- the schedule
Let’s look at the map, since it might be the most unlike what you do now. I suggest, though, that if you take the term map seriously and create a visual representation of the course flow, that you also provide a typical text version as a supplement. Together, you will be addressing different learning styles, as well as urging students to think about the course in different ways.
Here’s an example of a concept map that I used in a course. It was linked from the online text syllabus:
The two large blocks represented the two main texts in the course, and the overlapping small blocks represented concepts or topics that would be considered in relationship to those texts.
The map also shows the two parts of the course and that the second part is devoted to concepts in practice, whereas the first part is more theoretical.
Clearly, this is not a substitute for the components in a traditional syllabus, but there are other sorts of maps that you can devise.
Still in the model of a concept map, you can create an organizational chart that would contain all assignments and that would show the progression through the course, as well as the relationship between assignments. Here is a map distributed by Blackboard at a weekend workshop on course design. It shows more details about how course goals will be achieved through assignments and how Blackboard tools will be incorporated:
I can also imagine a map more like a roadmap or terrain map, which might not be as difficult to make today with available mapping tools, like Microsoft Visio, for example. I recently installed that software, and I can see that it will work better if I sketch out a map idea first.
Maybe the direction of your course won’t change, but you should be open to that possibility in your re-design.