What are the key ingredients in making an online course personal? See how participants responded to this characteristic of iTeach courses….

1. Effective Orientations: Participants have various experiences with online courses, and a straightforward orientation module will help them get in engaged. Begin with a welcome page, and make sure to include a place where everyone can introduce themselves. If you are facilitating, yours should be the first post.

2. Course Layout: Designing a course with participants in mind is a must! One of the most important checks before the launch is to review the course in student view. How easy is it to navigate? Does it flow in a logical sequence?

Course lay-out was easy to follow. My instructor was extremely helpful, enthusiastic, and timely. I learned a lot about PBL and feel comfortable trying it out in my classroom! — Philip J.

3. Collaboration: There are many ways to increase collaboration among participants. From a “coffee shop” where participants share various resources, to an interactive discussion that prepares participants for an upcoming assignment, students in the course collaborate and create a more personal feel.

As a participant in this course I felt that the collaboration among peers truly helped me stay engaged and learn from fellow teachers. I was able to see so many different points of view for different projects. By sharing experiences I often found myself self-reflecting and trying to improve. This course opened my eyes to new ways to engage students in my classroom. I’m beyond excited to put these practices to use — Mandy R.

4. Personalized Feedback: Using video or audio recording, facilitators increase connection with participants with personalized feedback on an assignment.

5. Visibility: In an asynchronous (or self-paced) course, the facilitator’s visibility is essential. Visibility includes welcome messages and regular check-in messages. It also entails timely feedback such as within 24-48 hours.

Excellent course.  Well-structured, relevant content, and assignments were purposeful and related to my job.  Instructor was warm, friendly, a wealth of information, and very approachable and responsive. – Anonymous Course Evaluation

Do these five essential things, and you will be well on your way to creating more personal experiences for your participants.

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