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This module focuses on the preparation required to be successful in an online teaching environment. This module is part of the Best Practices in Online Teaching Course created by Penn State University World Campus as a guide for faculty who are new to teaching in an online environment.

Introduction: good preparation is half of the success!

Online teaching is an art…just like oil painting, writing, or any other art.

Outdoor Easel Setup, Photo by Karl Leitzel, Penn State University, World Campus

If you are just starting an oil painting, you need to prepare brushes, paints, canvas, and other miscellaneous items such as an easel or reference resources. You need to know how to choose your brushes and prime your canvas for the best possible effects. You will also need to decide what your painting will convey and how to accomplish that goal on the canvas. *

Similarly, when you start teaching an online course, you need to decide what you want your students to achieve from taking the course, and how you can attain that goal by thoroughly preparing before the course start date. More importantly, you need to know how to ready your students and your course for an effective teaching and learning environment.

In this section of the Best Practices in Online Teaching course, we present the key information you’ll need to consider when preparing for your online course:

  • Prepare for Success
  • Using a Course Management System (CMS) in Your Teaching
  • Prepare Your Students for Learning Online
  • Specify Course Goals, Expectations, and Policies
  • Create a Warm and Inviting Atmosphere to Build a Learning Community
  • Online Instructor Performance Guidelines/Expectations and Best Practices

*The information about oil painting is referenced from: (External Link)

Self-assessment questions

Do students automatically know how to learn in an online environment when taking an online course for the first time?

No. Students may enter an online classroom expecting traditional classroom teaching methods; they may lack the level of independence required by online learning; they may demonstrate new personality traits not previously revealed in traditional classrooms (Palloff&Pratt, 2001).

Palloff, R.M.,&Pratt, K. (2001). Lessons from the cyberspace classroom: The realities of online teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

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I’ve taught a course face-to-face and am going to teach the same course online next semester. Can I use the syllabus from my face-to-face teaching in the online version of the course?

No. The syllabus for a resident course is good to go when it includes course goals, learning objectives, course materials, assignments due dates, grading, and class policies. However, for an online course, the syllabus may need to include guidelines, tips, relevant policies, and detailed schedules for lessons and assignments, which can help students successfully complete the online course.

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Be prepared! good preparation is half of the success!

Success in the online classroom is greatly enhanced if you know your way around the structure and operation of the course environment. In the physical classroom we anticipate an environment based on prior experience, for example, a room with light switches, a chalk board, perhaps a projection screen, seats and so forth. We rarely need to familiarize ourselves with a new classroom because of our experience with past facilities. In the online classroom we may not be as familiar with the “surroundings” and operational course features and can quickly become frustrated with the online experience. This is particularly true if you did not serve as the original course author.

Spending time prior to the course in the online “classroom” to familiarize yourself with its features, design, and operational aspects will create a smoother transition for you and your students. You'll want to review the presentation of the course content, become familiar with the discussion space (if used), understand the sequencing of required student activities (homework) assignments, and know where and how you can post and interact with the class participants. For example, course related emails are more easily tracked and managed when sent through the ANGEL system rather than externally in other email systems.

Contacting your instructional designer and getting to know your online classroom will serve you by removing anxiety about course operation and allowing you to focus on creating the right learning atmosphere for your students.

Questions & Answers

are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Best practices in online teaching. OpenStax CNX. Aug 28, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10453/1.2
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