This is the 4th in a series of blog posts outlining the collaborative process of designing an online course for the first time from scratch. You can read the other posts here.
Prior to this meeting the instructional designer reviewed the contents of module 2 and put together a listing of ideas for how the content could be conveyed. The agenda for meeting 4 included:
- Overall questions
- Consideration of a “flow for the week” (see details below)
- What is the grading structure for the course?
- How do you assess participation? (I wrote a blog post inspired by this discussion here.)
- Plan for synchronous meeting sessions
- Zoom room link details for incorporation in Canvas site
- Check in on Module 1 Progress
- Discuss Module 2
This week’s discussion focused on the importance of creating a repeatable weekly course structure or flow that students can use to plan their time. We settled on the outline below:
- Sunday – new module content (for week after the current week) is released and previous module assignments are due by 11:59 pm (not including discussion activities)
- Sunday, Monday & Tuesday – Complete module reading and initial discussion prompt
- Wednesday – Complete responses to online discussions
- Thursday – Synchronous session online (via Zoom) from 4 – 6 pm
- Friday & Saturday – Complete assignments to be submitted by 11:59pm Sunday evening.
This information was included on a page titled “About this Course” in the Canvas site under the heading “Structure and Time Commitment”. The professor was also able to share the grading scheme prior to the meeting which allowed me to incorporate this information into the About the Course page as well as create assignment groups to correspond with the different grading category percentages.
It was determined that the synchronous sessions would provide a time when the faculty member could address various topics in a more flexible format that would allow her to adjust and respond to student feedback that occurs earlier in the week through discussion forums, activities, and entrance tickets. The team also formalized the integration of the Zoom room into the Canvas site and discussed setting up a test scenario during j-term that would allow the faculty member to practice using breakout rooms and other Zoom room functionality.
Course content was not yet ready to share so the team decided to focus their work on getting as much of the course structure and repeatable components in place prior to the end of the year so that content could be loaded into the course relatively easily. This shifted the heavier time burden from the end of the year to the beginning of the year. After looking at my projected future workload, I explained that I would still be available to support Anne but since time was budgeted to be more heavily used in 2018, I could not ensure that other priorities might come online at the start of 2019. This conversation highlighted the importance of planning, time-lining, consistent communication, and expectation-setting when working collaboratively on course development projects. In the end, workload did not pose any problems moving forward, but given the unpredictability of each semester – it was important to have this conversation early so there were no surprises.
Anne planned out extensive curriculum development and loading over the course of the month of January and meeting times were set and confirmed. No outstanding action items were set for Heather as most of the outstanding work was to collect course content before additional design work could begin.