Teaching Online Title Beginner's Guide Heading with Picture of Ignition  

Orientation & Syllabus

It is important to make sure all goes well at the start of an online course or students will expect (and interpret) the course to be sloppy, amateur, unprepared. The start is also a good time to develop a sense of community - a class group. Even before the start of your course, consider designing (or modifying) your college faculty Web page to give better information on your current online courses (see sidebar).


Enter Key
  • Can be online (as a Bb adaptive release quiz) or on-campus (as a one- hour session on a Saturday or weekday evening) - or give students a choice of either (but make some type of orientation required, not optional)
  • Be clear on what you require (a "contract agreement")
  • Mix syllabus information with some Bb instructions (see sidebar) but also be aware that many, maybe most, of your students are already familiar with Bb
  • Give login instructions (see TLC instructions)
  • Give Help Desk contact information (see Help)
  • Include Cuyamaca's campus wireless hotspots for those taking a mixture of online and on-campus classes

Welcome Ideas

Welcome Mat
  • Email students before course begins with a welcome message, how to access Bb, and information about the text and materials (make sure to include in class schedule instructions that students should email you before the first day of class - see Getting Started)
  • Consider opening your course to students one week before the start of the semester
  • Include a picture of yourself on the opening screen of your Bb course (maybe with a clickable welcome narration or a short biography)
  • Include a friendly, informative welcome announcement to start off your course - with a brief summary of what to do first and where to find it

Creating a Sense of Community

  • Mention the "Student Lounge" area in the Db
  • Include an opening "Who are you?" thread in the Db
  • Include chat times as part of orientation: "I will be available for live chart on . . ."
  • Include personal phone calls for those truly lost


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Sidebar - In Focus

What should you cover in an orientation (online or on-campus).


View other instructors' ideas.


Man at Computer with CameraONLINE SUCCESS>
Information for students about online success.


What to include in your syllabus.


How this adds to your online course - including some examples.