An analogy that might work is that of adapting a movie from a book - you want to keep the best elements of the book but embrace and maximize the different features that the film modality introduces.
When moving to an online environment, it is important to focus on the most important learning outcomes and identify the corresponding activities that will support students in their learning. It may be necessary to let go of some elements of a classroom-based experience that cannot be replicated in the online environment and introduce new components.
- Identify the critical learning outcomes for your students. This is not just the content to be “covered” but also the skills they will need to succeed in the course. You can then map your outcomes to technologies that will help you achieve them. (Download the Online Course Planner - 3 Column Table)
- Decide on your (formative and summative) assessments early in the planning process (see Assessing Learning). You'll then be able to align your assessments with your learning outcomes, ensuring that there is a strong connection between what you are teaching and what your students will be (evaluated on) learning. Learn more about the difference between formative and summative assessments.
- Develop learning outcomes (see CTSI's Developing Learning Outcomes)
- Include progressive steps in each week/module to build student skills and support success in assessments (i.e. sequence of lecturette, short quiz, application of theory, discussion to debrief).
- Think about how to implement a flexible and open course structure to accommodate (without stigmatizing) students with varied needs; these needs could include everything from distribution across geography, access to technology, to pace of learning and experience with the course content. This is embodied through the theory of Universal Design for learning (learn more about the 7 principles of universal design). Communicate this structure to your students early and regularly.