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  • #1332
    bnschtn
    Participant

    Hi,

    I’m a graduate student instructor running my own class for the first time in SS1. I’ve attended the Remote Learning for Summer School workshop, which was very helpful. I also plan to attend the Graduate School’s course development workshop on 4/30.

    Per the recommendation of the Remote Learning webinar, I’m designing an asynchronous course based on a pre-existing syllabus. I have a few follow up questions about best practices, which generally boil down to: How much is the move to remote learning supposed to resemble a typical face-to-face course?

    -A colleague in another department taught an online summer school course last year. Can I model my course structure on this course (i.e. no synchronous meetings; some firm deadlines, but largely self-paced)?

    -How do I calculate course hours (or adequately fulfill them) for remote instruction? Do I estimate how long it would take students to do course related work (e.g. watch lecture videos, read, write)?

    -If students aren’t physically coming to class or a synchronous Zoom meeting everyday, what is an acceptable workload? Do I schedule everything as I would a normal face-to-face course that met every day or keep in mind that many choose to do the work in chunks/units/lessons?

    Thanks for any tips or guidance!
    Claire

    #1333
    Rob Lucas
    Keymaster

    Hi Claire,

    I’ve answered a couple of your questions below. I’ll need to look into the question about calculating course hours and get back to you.

    -A colleague in another department taught an online summer school course last year. Can I model my course structure on this course (i.e. no synchronous meetings; some firm deadlines, but largely self-paced)?

    Make sure you have a sense of your department’s expectations for the course, but the model you are describing is pedagogically sound and within the norm, from what I’ve seen.

    If students aren’t physically coming to class or a synchronous Zoom meeting everyday, what is an acceptable workload? Do I schedule everything as I would a normal face-to-face course that met every day or keep in mind that many choose to do the work in chunks/units/lessons?

    Usually, it’s best not to schedule every activity down to the day. Students will appreciate more flexibility than that. Could you break the content into weekly units, give a few deadlines within that (e.g., make an initial discussion forum post (or a few) by Wednesday, respond to classmates’ forum posts by Friday, and take a unit quiz by Friday), but then let students schedule their own time within that framework?

    The total workload should be roughly equivalent to a face-to-face class, but it’s also considered good practice to break up your lectures and condense them a bit, eliminating some digressions. So, your videos will cover the same core content, but they won’t be as long as the full face-to-face lecture would have been. On the other hand, students may spend more time composing a forum post than they would have spent making a comment in a f2f discussion section.

    If you’d like more help with online pedagogy, we’d be happy to schedule a consultation.

    Best,
    Rob Lucas
    Carolina Office for Online Learning

    #1362
    Rob Lucas
    Keymaster

    Hi again Claire and sorry for the delay,

    Regarding course hours, I haven’t found an answer that would officially govern your class, but I found some guidelines that are used in a different part of the university, and that you could use as a rule of thumb. You should have 750 “contact minutes” per credit hour. In an online course, the contact minutes would include live class time, time spent watching pre-recorded lecture video, third-party video that students might otherwise watch during a face-to-face course meeting, interactions such as reading and writing in discussion forum, in-class group work, simualtions, peer review, and the sort of readings that would be done in class as part of an activity. Many online instructional videos are shorter but denser than face-to-face lectures, and students are expected to pause, make notes, and re-watch sections. With those, you could consider the total time students are expected to spend interacting with them.

    Out-of-class work doesn’t count toward “contact minutes.” That might include reading, studying, doing homework/problem sets, and taking tests and quizzes.

    The biggest thing is to be intentional in your decisions and be able to justify how the in-class type course work adds up to the required contact minutes. If the guidelines I’ve provided lead you to any unexpected conclusions for your class, please touch base with us again before making any major changes.

    Best,
    Rob

    #1364
    bnschtn
    Participant

    Hi Rob,

    Thank you for both your responses! I really appreciate these guidelines and the time you took to look into course hours. I’m wrapping up spring currently but may be in touch shortly for a consult perhaps. Many thanks!!

    Claire

    #1387
    drdoug
    Participant

    Claire,
    Sorry for my delay. I saw your question but didn’t have time to reply earlier. In addition to Rob’s terrific responses, we sometimes direct faculty to the Rice University Course Workload Estimator at https://cte.rice.edu/workload. They provide some evidence based research references and the tool for which you can generate estimates for Reading, Writing, Exams, and other course activities. Best, Doug James (CFE)

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