Recommended Resources for Getting Started Designing Online Courses

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Photo courtesy Todd Dailey

With the interest expressed among my students in my summer course, ETT 511: Instructional Media and Technology, to learn more about designing “good” online courses as well as the frequent requests I receive from faculty on suggested resources for those getting started online teaching, I thought I’d share here a few of my favorite resources for those interested in learning more about the basics of designing and teaching online courses. While there are MANY different models to online course development, from individual “do it yourself” approaches where instructor designs and builds the course to more systematized and standardized production models where instructor works alongside instructional designers and other media development specialists, the following resources should be helpful to anyone interested in learning more about the mechanics of designing and teaching courses online.

Quality Standards

A good place to begin exploring online course quality is to look at some of the available quality standards that have been developed and adopted by institutions. While there are widely-accepted competencies for instructional designers as well as competencies for online instructors, a number of different online quality standards are available, a few of which include:

Books

Here are a few of my favorite books for beginners desiring “nuts and bolts” assistance getting started designing and teaching online:

Vai, M. & Sosulski, K. (2011). Essentials of online course design: A standards-based guide. New York: Routledge. ISBN: 0415873002

Smith, R. M. (2008). Conquering the content: A step-by-step guide to online course design. San Franciso: Jossey-Bass. ISBN: 0787994421

Thormann, J. & Zimmerman, I. K. (2012). The complete step-by-step guide to designing and teaching online courses. New York: Teacher’s College Press. ISBN: 0807753092

Elbaum, B., McIntyre, C., & Smith, A. (2002). Essential elements: Prepare, design, and teach your online course. Madison, WI: Atwood. ISBN: 1891859404

Palloff, R. M. & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online learning communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN: 978078798825-8

Jossey-Bass has a fantastic book series, “Guides to Online Teaching and Learning” with titles on specific aspects of online teaching, listed at http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-814784.html

Tanya Joosten has compiled a resource list of additional books on online teaching here.

Online Courses

For those serious about embarking in the journey of online teaching, I highly recommend taking an online course where you can not only be exposed to online teaching technology but also pedagogical approaches that work well in the online learning environment. Here are a few of the available online courses and you might consider enrolling in:

Workshops

My colleagues and I with the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center at Northern Illinois University offer a number of workshops for NIU faculty related to online teaching. These online workshops are archived and shared on YouTube here. A few notable workshop archives related to online teaching that you may find of interest include:

Other professional organizations devoted to quality online teaching, such as Illinois Online Network and Sloan Consortium, also offer workshops and short online courses worth checking out.

Miscellaneous

Here are a few additional resources that I highly recommend checking-out and bookmarking:

I highly recommend following the University of Central Florida Center for Distributed Learning for fantastic tips and resources, such as their faculty seminars in online teaching, teaching online community, and teaching online pedagogical repository (TOPR).

There you have it…a few of my favorite resources for online teaching. What resources do you recommend? Leave a comment with your suggestions!

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