Center for Continuing Studies - Innovative Leadership for Lifelong Learning

Center for Continuing Studies - Innovative Leadership for Lifelong Learning - St. Cloud State University

Online & Distance Learning

Choosing Your Course Technology Needs

The best way to determine how to offer your distance learning course is to consider these items:

  1. What do you want your students to know?
  2. How do you teach this on campus?
  3. How comfortable are you with technology—and do you want to learn?

Remember: More technology does not make better teaching or learning. Make sure your that the technology fits the learning objectives. Use a mix of technology (low/high tech) so as not to overwhelm students. Avoid too much on-screen text (students will either print it or not read it). Allow for alternate media for students without technical capability or with disabilities. Expect a learning curve as students learn how to use the technology.

Faculty at SCSU choose a variety of course delivery methods with varying degrees of technology use. Listed below are some of the ways you can develop your course:

  • Self Paced (primarily print-based or web-page): The self-paced format is ideally suited to classes with a lot of lecture and text-based materials. Students interact with the course materials (study-guide, texts, supplemental resources) more than the instructor or peers. They can generally work through the course at their own pace. Instructor feedback comes primarily from assessments (tests, quizzes, papers). Students may email instructor with questions.
  • Self Paced with Calendar (print-based or web page): Students interact primarily with the materials rather than the instructor or peers. Instructor provides a timeline of due dates to keep students on track and help ensure student success. Feedback comes primarily from assessment (tests, quizzes, papers). Instructor may impose a penalty for late work. Students may email instructor with questions.
  • Web Page: Instructor has developed a website that may contain biographical information, research interests, curriculum vita, and syllabi for each of the courses they are teaching. Students access the materials from the instructor’s site. Course may be self-paced or include a timeline.
  • Online Interactive: SCSU uses the Desire2Learn platform, course may contain only a syllabus or may utilize many other online features (discussion, PowerPoint, glossary, quizzes, instant messaging, journals, course calendar, etc). Some faculty conduct their virtual office hours on the instant messaging function, where students can chat “live” with the instructor. Ideally suited to a classroom where the instructor expects greater faculty-student and student-student interaction.
  • Publisher-created Online Materials: Some textbook publishers offer a companion online course where students can access valuable course materials, self-quizzes, study guides, etc. These often come at extra cost to the student.

Use this checklist to help you determine what technology needs might best suit your course objectives and support your students’ learning.

How do you teach your course on campus?

What technology should you use?

Primarily lecture
  • ☼ Print-based notes/study guide
  • ☼ Audio/video tape
Some lecture, group discussions
  • ☼ Print-based notes/study guide
  • ☼ Audio lectures (10-15 min segments/unit)
  • ☼ Online threaded discussions
Group work
  • ☼ Online group discussions
  • ☼ Live group chat
  • ☼ Email group work
  • ☼ Online journal entries
  • ☼ Email journal submission
In-class writing assignments
  • ☼ Online writing submission (allows you to edit and respond)
  • ☼ Email writing assignments (allows you to edit and respond)
  • ☼ Calibrated Peer Review (or other online writing tools)
Out-of-class writing assignments
  • ☼ Online writing submission (allows you to edit and respond)
  • ☼ Email writing assignments (allows you to edit and respond)
  • ☼ Calibrated Peer Review (or other online asynchronous writing tools)
PowerPoint presentations
  • ☼ Online PowerPoint presentation (may or may not include text/notes)
  • ☼ PowerPoint from a web page (may or may not include text/notes)
  • ☼ Printed PowerPoint handouts
Proctored tests/quizzes
  • ☼ Proctored paper-based tests/quizzes (may also be timed)
  • ☼ Proctored online tests/quizzes (may also be timed)
Non-proctored tests/quizzes (take-home)
  • ☼ Online quizzes (take-at-home)
  • ☼ Printed quizzes (take-at-home)
Learn or design software applications
  • ☼ Students download software for use at home.
Use of graphics/visual images
  • ☼ Obtain copyright permission if necessary to use graphics in online medium (LR&TS can assist with this)
View laboratory experiments
  • ☼ Online streaming video
  • ☼ CD-ROM
  • ☼ Videotape
  • ☼ Place copyrighted videos on reserve at library for students to check out
  • ☼ Non-copyrighted videos can be made available with course materials
Language labs
  • ☼ Audio tapes
  • ☼ Online streaming audio
Untitled Document