Follow Up Friday

September 29, 2023

From the Archives

Online Orientation and Course Presence

At the beginning of a new term it is important to orient your learners to the course and develop your instructor presence. In an online course it is imperative that you go over the course policies and expectations to avoid any student uncertainty. 

Timely interaction between faculty and students as a driver of student success.  The Community of Inquiry framework breaks down engagement into three topics: Cognitive presence, Social presence, and Teaching presence. Engagement through cognitive presence means getting students to engage with their brain. This is usually the easiest to achieve through your course design and content. Social presence is connecting students to one another as one learning community. In an online classroom this is an aspect that has to be intentionally added because students aren’t physically sitting in a classroom together. Teaching presence refers to a student’s engagement to the instructor. In an online course the instructor-to-student dynamic can easily become distant.  Building a strong orientation process on Canvas will improve your teaching presence. Teaching presence is also built through showing personality and humanity. A short welcome video from you will show students who you are. Being available through office hours, email, or Canvas to assist and communicate is also essential for teaching presence. 

Getting Started

Online orientation can be split into five major components:

  1. Welcome Announcement
  2. Presenting orientation elements
  3. Establishing a sense of time and motion
  4. Thinking about how students move through your course
  5. Establishing the learning community

The welcome announcement will set the tone for your course and serve as an introduction to course expectations. In the welcome announcement it is a good idea to add instructions for how to navigate the course so students know what to do first. A “start here” module is one way to walk students through policies and  expectations. We recommend setting up a Canvas Home Page to lay out the organizational elements of your course. The home page will be the first thing that students see when they open up the course, creating a more welcoming environment than a list of tasks would. You can use different home page templates in the Faculty Resource Center. Outlining learner expectations for interaction with you as the instructor and with other students will boost their engagement.

To establish timing and movement through an online course, it is necessary to implement patterns into your course design. Creating weekly assignments and check-ins, posting announcements, posting weekly readings are a few ways to get creative and create patterns catered to your course. A course that is chronological and specific fosters movement and relevance for students.

Being transparent, available, and timely helps build a healthy learning community in your online classroom. Your interaction with students as well as your ability to foster their interaction with one another will build a sense of community, driving engagement in the classroom.

Strong orientation and teaching presence from you will establish the level of engagement that students contribute. Watch the full recorded session on this topic facilitated by Leslie Fuller, Ph.D, Digital Learning Strategist.

Upcoming Events

Quick Hit – Course Accessibility for ScreenReaders

Thursday October 12th, 3:30-4:00 PM

Join this training to have your questions on course accessibility and screenreaders answered. Whether you have a specific question or want an accessibility topic demonstrated, this training opportunity is your time to work with our accessibility coordinator. When registering, choose whether to have a specific topic covered, enter your question, or both. 

Facilitated by Michelle Tuten, Accessibility Coordinator.   

Modality: Virtual and synchronous—an Outlook Calendar invite, with the Zoom link, will be sent.
Registration: Quick Hits: Course Accessibility for Screenreaders on October 12th 

Applying Accessibility Principles

Wednesday, October 18, 1:30-2:30 PM

Providing alternative means of accessing course materials is essential for learners who require accessibility support; they are also entitled to it under the law. Join this presentation to learn about basic principles of accessibility you can start using in your course today. This presentation will discuss the accessibility guidelines in General Standard 8 of the Quality Matters rubric.

Facilitated by Sharyn Emery, Ph.D., Digital Learning Manager

Modality: Virtual and synchronous—an Outlook Calendar invite, with the Zoom link, will be sent.
Registration: Applying Accessibility Principles October 18th .

Clemson Online Fall 2023 Events Calendar

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Review our Fall 2023 Events Calendar to see what Online Instruction Development opportunities await!

We have a robust Summer lineup of topics and live training formats to support your use of Canvas and other e-learning tools. Topics cover demonstrations of using Kaltura, presentations on inclusive practices for online education, and workshops to get your Canvas site ready to teach!

All of our live training is recorded. Registrants will automatically receive a link to that day’s video after it has been processed.

Contact James Butler with any questions regarding these sessions. 

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