List of 23 Things

In my opinion, online teachers should learn the following 23 things in order to deliver the best possible course:

1.) How to create an effective syllabus.  The course syllabus should include (but not limited to) course information, instructor information, policies and procedures, discussion forum policy, grading policy, etc.

2.) How to create effective discussion forums suitable for the course level.

3.) How to assess student learning in an online environment.

4.) The pros and cons of using social media (such as Facebook and Twitter) in online courses.

5.) Pros and cons of using social bookmarking (such as Diigo) in online courses.

6.) Benefits of using blogs or wikis in online courses.  Free blogs can be set up at

7.) Potential use of polling in online courses.  Free polls can be set up at

8.) Using synchronous vs. asynchronous tools in online courses.  The following website provides a list of synchronous and asynchronous activities that can be used in online classes:

9.) Benefits of using texting as a tool in online learning.  Instructors need to decide whether or not they feel comfortable giving their cell number to students.

10.) Use of pre-made content for online courses.  Many publishers already have content made that can be integrated into online courses.  Examples for science courses are Mastering Chemistry and Mastering Physics.  MyMathLab can be used for math courses.

11.) If using videos, how to embed them into online courses.  Instructors need to be sure that all links to videos are appropriate.

12.) Use of podcasts or guest lectures for online courses.

13.) Use of technology tools to create original content.  Original content for online courses may be created using tools such as Prezi, Jing, Camtasia, and Tegrity Lecture Capture.

14.) How to minimize cheating and plagiarism in online courses.  Tools such as SafeAssign could be used to detect plagiarism.  Cheating/plagiarism policies must be present in the syllabus and enforced throughout the semester.

15.) How to create surveys.  Surveys can be used for module reflections.  SurveyMonkey is a great tool for this.

16.) Online teachers need to learn about how to use the specific LMS on which their course is being run.  Colleges should offer trainings on this.  For example, we use Blackboard, and trainings are offered so instructors know how to use it and what can be done with it.

17.) How to incorporate group work into online courses.  Group work can potentially be used to complete various course assignments.

18.) Time management: I feel it is important for online instructors to have good time management skills so they are able to respond to students’ inquiries within a reasonable time period, grade assignments, and participate in course discussions, as needed.

19.) How to use copyrighted material.  Instructors need to know what can and cannot be included in a course without prior written consent.  

20.) How to create appropriate learning objectives for the specific online course. 

21.) How to best motivate students in online courses.  I feel this is critical for instructors to learn in order to help ensure student retention and success.  Tips for student motivation in online courses can be found at:

22.) How to create authentic assignments in online courses.  By definition, these types of assignments allow students to demonstrate how course outcomes can be applied to their everyday lives.  I feel these types of assignments are critical to include in online courses because students can then see why (and how) what they are learning is important.

23.) Pros and cons of including a course-specific orientation. 



Module 7: New Trends

During this module, I was able to create my own content for the purpose of teaching or sharing.  I first created a survey using SurveyMonkey.  The link to SurveyMonkey is:

I found this was a very easy tool to use, and I plan to use it to create surveys for module reflections in my online course.

I then created a presentation on cheating/security in online courses.  I chose to use PowerPoint for this presentation.  Since PowerPoint is already installed on most computers, there is not additional charge to use it.  I also found it easier to use than programs such as Jing or Prezi, which require additional charges to use.

The take away for me from doing this presentation was the potential use of an online proctoring system.  This system could be used to proctor exams for online courses.  More information could be found at (Proctor U):



Module 6: Creating Your Own Content

This was a great module! I experimented with creating a video of myself introducing my online chemistry course.  It was very easy to make.  I could see myself using videos such as this to inform students about important course events and to present mini lectures.  I also explored other tools that could be used to create my own content.

1.) Prezi: This can be used to create presentations.  However, I still like using PowerPoint better.  And, Prezi is only free for one month.  Then, you have to pay to use it.  

2.) Jing: This tool can be used to capture screens (videos, images, etc.).  I would like to explore this more.

I also learned about additional tools from my classmates:

1.) Camtasia: This can combine video, audio, and Power Point.  I could see myself using this for lectures.

2.) Tegrity Lecture capture: Again, webcam can be combined with PowerPoint.  Perhaps this would be easier to use than Camtasia? Only experimentation will tell…



I had a great idea last night! I could actually use blogs like a scrapbook (as I did for this course) for my online chemistry course.  I could have students create a scrapbook with ideas about how chemistry relates to society.  They could then use this blog to assist them in completing the final exam.  I will have them set it up in module 1, do a spot-check at midterm, and then grant a full grade at the end of the semester.  Here are links for possible blogs:


Module 5: Finding Ready- Made Content

This module explored the use of incorporating pre-made content into online courses.  I want to make a note of the following types of pre-made content and information I learned about them:

1.) Mastering Chemistry: We will trial this for Summer 2014.  It will be used for online homework assignments and quizzes.

2.) Videos: If videos are used, be sure they are embedded to ensure that other videos do not appear at the end of the linked video.  Check Blackboard for the embedding option.

3.) Podcasts: A great link for chemistry podcasts is

4.) Learning objectives: Learning objectives, animations, etc. related to my online chemistry course may be found using the National Science Digital Library:


Module 4: Communicating in Real Time

Texting as a tool for online courses:

I participated in a text chat with two students.  Although the experience was positive and I able to have good conversations, I would not use this tool in my online chemistry course for a variety of reasons.  First, I would not feel comfortable giving my cell number to students.  I would be concerned about privacy issues, and I would not want students potentially texting me at all hours of the day.  In addition, if students realize they now had an opportunity to reach me anytime, they may constantly rely on me and not think for themselves.  

In regards to being used as a synchronous communication tool, texting can only be effective if both parties immediately respond to each other.  Many times, I do not respond to my texts right away.  Therefore, I do not understand how this would be different than e-mail.  As I have said throughout this module, I still think asynchronous technology tools are much more appropriate for online learning, and I plan to continue using them in my online course.

Synchronous vs. asynchronous communication tools:

I learned (and experienced) that I do not prefer using synchronous communication tools in online courses.  First, I feel that it is difficult to get students together at the same time.  In regards to the synchronous communication exercise, it took at least five days before I was able to organize a chat session with my classmates.  Furthermore, communication tools, like texting, are only effective if both parties can respond to each other right away.  I will continue to focus on ways to enhance my online course using asynchronous tools.