My Needs as an Online Learner

Below is a list of what I need to be a successful online learner.  The common themes for me are structure and clarity – I am an organized person who likes to know what’s coming and plan for it in advance.  Otherwise I find myself getting anxious and frustrated, which becomes a barrier to my learning.

– Very clear expectations for assignments (including detailed instructions and a rubric or similar tool)

– Rapid formative feedback – how am I doing?  How can I improve before the course ends?

– Knowing all due dates in advance

– Clear course structure with the ability to look ahead at future weeks (and possibly work ahead if time permits)

– Approachable instructor who will answer questions clearly and quickly

– Reasonable amount of weekly tasks for someone who works full-time

– Links and documents all open properly (or are fixed if broken)

– Technology that’s intuitive and user-friendly

– Sense of community and mutual respect (e.g. commenting on each other’s forum posts)

– Appropriate level of difficulty in the course content – challenging but not to the point of discouragement

– Recommended resources to use as a starting point for research

These are things I’ve tried to incorporate into the online courses I’ve taught so far but some points could definitely be improved.  For example, I include basic marking schemes for assignments but not detailed rubrics.

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