Preparation is the most important aspect of being any type of educator which makes the job that much more difficult. You as the educator are doing your best to provide an extraordinary experience for your participants so that they remember the class and use the information that was taught. As many times as I have done it the task itself never seems to get easier. No matter what style of curriculum you are preparing for whether it be face to face or online the preparation needs to be solid having thought through all of the pieces of the class so that there is nothing lacking as far as effectiveness.
With technology improving to the way we teach educators need to take advantage of it not only to show you are embracing the future but preparing your participants for the future as well. The educator must know what’s available to use and more importantly how to use it correctly. You must be confident as to what you’re using and that you can teach others how to use it if needs be because without that confidence your participants will not feel good about you teaching them about it. The good part is that you are not the one who choses what type of technology to use so the only burden on you is to learn how to use it and then teach it. It can be difficult to become the expert if you yourself do not have a good teacher to begin with.
If you are teaching online then you are most likely going to have a CMS (Course Management System) preset for you and embedded in the site that your class will be working from. This is a place “where the instructor and students gather, share thinking, ideas, and complete the course requirements” (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010, p. 65). Having this place to gather is where you as the instructor can help the participants understand how to use the technology.
To best communicate this information you can start with blog posts giving key information and “how to” instructions for how to get started. Another key communicator is instructional videos that you can set up showing you using the CMS and giving instructions of how to use the technology. Your syllabus is a great communication tool, but it is used more for operational information rather than instruction.
Other considerations you need to make are how to run the class itself as far as if there is live interaction when and how it will happen considering time zones for distance learning. Activities and how many participants you could potentially have. This is need to know because not everything will work with a small or large class. The learning experience has to be good not matter how big or small which can be difficult to set up if you are unsure of the variables in the class. Learning behaviors and styles need to be considered especially if someone does not learn well online but has no choice but to take the course online. There are always many variables to considers and prepare for when prepping for a class especially if you are designing it.
When it comes down to it you are the master of your universe when it comes to your class and you are in charge. Make it worth their while by owning it and putting forth your best possible effort to provide that extraordinary experience.