UC Blue Ash College

Course Design

The Learning and Teaching Center offers workshops, seminars, and faculty learning communities to help faculty with course design. Additionally, the Distance Learning Design Seminar is offered each semester to assist faculty in online course design as required by the UCBA Distance Learning Policy.

Course Design Tutorials

Course Introduction

Quality Matters recommends the following elements for effective course introduction. (Download PDF version.)

  1. Instructions make clear how to get started and where to find various course components.
  2. Learners are introduced to the purpose and structure of the course.
  3. Etiquette expectations (sometimes called “netiquette”) for online discussions, email, and other forms of communication are clearly stated.
  4. Course and/or institutional policies with which the learner is expected to comply are clearly stated, or a link to current policies is provided.
  5. Minimum technology requirements are clearly stated and instructions for use provided.
  6. Prerequisite knowledge in the discipline and/or any required competencies are clearly stated.
  7. Minimum technical skills expected of the learner are clearly stated.
  8. The self-introduction by the instructor is appropriate and is available online.
  9. Learners are asked to introduce themselves to the class.

Online Teaching Tips

These teaching tips come from the UC Blue Ash Online Teaching Support Brownbag meetings that convene once per semester to discuss problems with online teaching and our collective wisdom solutions.

  • In the syllabus, give an approximation of how much time the course will take.
  • Mention that online is the same workload as face2face.
  • In the Readiness Assessment Activities at the very start of the course have an activity where they give advice to student trouble scenarios. One should include having a hard time managing the course workload.
  • Have the students write a promise of time committment early in the course.
  • Have a time management activity early in the course where they plan when they will get their coursework done.
  • Grade postings.
  • Provide a rubric and a sample good posting.
  • Provide clear guidelines for responses that outline all the components of a good posting. Consider scaffolding the response with a) describe X, b) explain X, c) evaluate if X is Y based on your description and explanation.
  • Have a minimum sentence requirement.
  • Reqire citations from articles and the textbook to back up assertions.
  • Have an orientation to the course resources at the start of class.
  • Provide a chronological list of activities with due dates at the start of each module or unit so that the list of what they must do is clear.
  • Give clear instructions and include little tutorials when a new kind of activity shows up.
  • Assign drafts for feedback so that you get better final projects that are quicker to grade.
  • Use a rubric for grading to make the grading process go faster. Use the filled out rubric as feedback.
  • Consider noon deadlines since midnight deadlines seem to result in late assignments done late at night.
  • Make clear response policies, maybe email questions answered in 24 hours, feedback on assignments in 48 or 72 hours.
  • Block specific, non-negotiable time out to "teach" your online course. Say, "No," when people try to schedule things during that time. Say, "No, I'm sorry, I can't come then: I'm teaching."
  • Have a canned message that includes the phone number for UCIT and Blackboard Help.
  • Anticipate the technology problems and create a little library of Jing tutorials so that you can just email out a link to students who can't do things.
  • Put all the course technology in you Readiness Assessment which requires students to run through all the tech in the first week to see where the problems might be and solve them early.
  • We need to model the careful phrasing of email to our students so they can see good models.
  • Address the student using all the protocols of formal email with a salutation, a body that explains the message, a closing, and one's full namel.
  • Make a tutorial or exercise that explains what good formal email looks like and insiste that this format be followed in the email communication of the course. If you do this, then you need to remember to do it yourself to model what it looks like.
  • Compare it to a face to face version of the class. Technically, they should be equivalent.
  • Have a peer review
  • Check the course alignment: list the student learning outcomes, list the major assessments and which learning outcomes they assess. List the activities you do and how they line up with the assessment. Fix holes or overlap.

Helpful Links

Contact Information

Learning and Teaching Center

Emma Farrow, M.Ed.
Instructional Designer, UCBA L+TC