In an online learning course, some course content and all learning activities are done online using a kind of course Web site called a Learning Management System (LMS). At Concordia, once a course has been approved to move online, the instructor is paired with an eConcordia development team to support them through the process of developing an online course.
Why teach your course online?
Here are a few of the advantages of online courses:
Aligning education with the way that people use technology today for socializing, working and learning opens the door to new teaching methods. An array of sophisticated learning tools makes it easier to introduce different interactive elements in your course, which makes it easier for students to meet learning outcomes.
Online courses offer flexibility over face-to-face classes giving students the opportunity who would not otherwise have been able to take the course. Online courses are also seamlessly scalable from small groups to thousands of learners in one course offering.
Online courses are the true example of learning anywhere and at any time. Easy access to course content offers the students the advantage of learning the subject at their own pace and in comfortable settings.
Online courses have the flexibility of offering many different delivery formats - from text, audio, images, animation, and streaming video to serious games and interactive tools, there are multiple options for enhancing students’ learning experiences.
Learning activities in an online course can be either synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous teaching can take multiple forms, from online chats or webcasts to live online classes were students are interacting live with the professor. Asynchronous teaching does not require students and instructors to be online or in person at the same time; these include videos, discussion forums, wikis, games, and many more. Research shows that the technologies associated with synchronous and asynchronous learning can improve the quality of student-teacher interactions, foster increased student engagement, and improve learning outcomes (Hastie, Hung, Chen, Kinsuk, 2010; Simonson et al., 2012).
Student-student and faculty-student interactions can greatly increase in an online environment. Discussion boards, social networks, wikis and other collaborative activities give students the opportunity to interact online with each other and the instructor in different ways. Studies show that the higher a learner perceives the level of collaboration, the more satisfied they are with online learning overall (Diaz & Entonado, 2009; Er et al., 2009).
A Learning Management System (LMS) gives instructors the ability to track learners’ activity to varying degrees. From completion of learning activities to self-assessments or informative and timely feedback, instructors can easily track learners’ overall behaviour. This feedback can help instructors make adjustments to instruction during the course and for the next iteration.
What does an online course look like?
Diaz, L. A., & Entonado, F. B. (2009). Are the functions of teachers in e-learning and face-to-face learning environments really different? Educational Technology & Society, 12(4), pp. 331-343.
Er, E., Özden, M., & Arifoglu, A. (2009). A blended e-learning environment: A model proposition for integration of asynchronous and synchronous e-learning. International Journal Of Learning, 16(2), pp. 449-460.
Hastie, M., Hung, I-C., Chen, N-S., & Kinshuk (2010). A blended synchronous learning model for educational international collaboration. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 47(1), pp. 9-24.
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education. (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson.
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