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There are various approaches that can be considered when moving online. Below are 10 important considerations when transitioning online.

1. Finding the right balance between synchronous and asynchronous.

The blended learning approach will help you identify the instructional methods and learning strategies that work best synchronously, asynchronously, or in both. Another important element is the alignment between the learning objectives, instructional strategies, learning activities and assessment. A course design template is available in Module 5.

2. Save time in course design and course delivery. 

You may want to consider using a course template, a pre-created Brightspace course that can save you time in the design of your course.

3. Simplicity and Consistency: Create a Module Sequence.

Structure your course carefully using Modules and sub-modules to organize and make the content easy to access (consider the number of clicks it takes to get somewhere or access a certain document). Provide a consistent structure for the course and a consistent module sequence to lay out your course. Consistency will make it easier to think about what to develop and add to your course. 

4. Student workload

When combining synchronous and asynchronous teaching, there is a risk of adding too much content online. We call this the course-and-a-half syndrome. Consider the time needed to complete the readings, learning activities and assessments. You may want to consider reducing the time of synchronous teaching. Try the Rice’s Course Workload Estimator.  

5. Teaching team workload.

You may want to think carefully about the time required to facilitate your online course, and clarify your role in the course. For example, how will you monitor the discussions on Brightspace, or the chat on Microsoft Teams? How will you manage the announcements, or evaluate student assignments?

6. Select the appropriate technology.

There are various tools that can be used synchronously and asynchronously, to support student engagement and active learning. For synchronous teaching, we recommend using Microsoft Teams or Adobe Connect. For asynchronous teaching, we recommend using Brightspace to share content, communicate with students and evaluate their work online.

7. Think about your role online.

This brings back to the concept of teaching presence. Everything you do online is about setting up a presence, communicating with students, facilitating discussions (synchronously or asynchronously), providing feedback, answering questions, etc.

8. Establish a clear communication strategy.

This is an important if not the most important aspect of online teaching. What can be expected from you? What is the best way to reach out to you? How quickly will you respond? You may want to consider setting up virtual office hours, and use various communication tools (e.g. email, announcements, discussions). Make sure to clearly indicate your strategy to the students early on in the course.

9. Give opportunities for practice

Consider frequent low-stakes assessments over high-stakes exams, giving students more opportunities to practice and demonstrate their learning. Give frequent feedback to students on their learning (about My Progress tab), and offer opportunities to receive feedback in return. 

10. Implement inclusive teaching practices that support student wellbeing.

Implement inclusive teaching practices that support student wellbeing.

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