Optimizing Courses for Online Learning

Worldwide, university instructors seek to enhance online teaching and learning skills and improve engagement with students in the virtual space. The changes brought by COVID-19 present both challenges and opportunities to assess synchronous and asynchronous course delivery strategies and the needs of faculty related to online instruction.

Experts in online course design and delivery seek to support faculty through proven processes in online training and coaching.

The implicit desire is to deliver highly personalized and dynamic coaching sessions that include regular meet-ups, small group discussions, applied learning exercises, ongoing feedback, and problem-solving.

The goal is that the faculty would apply all that they learn to immediately improve their course content and delivery for current and future terms.

In fall 2020, Stickperson LLC engaged in a partnership with The Graduate School of Media and Communication (GSMC) at Aga Khan University (AKU) in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Center of Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi, Pakistan to enhance skills in online teaching and improve engagement with students in the virtual space.

Over four months, Stickperson led a three-phase program in online training and coaching beginning with phase one where a facilitator-led a short course for faculty and staff on the topic of effective online communication in the virtual space. Phase two included a 15-week course providing faculty with real-time coaching and guidance in best practices for designing and delivering online courses. Key themes included instructional design principles for online course delivery, student engagement strategies and techniques, and building community in the virtual space. Phase three focused on building a community of practice with the creation of teaching standards, syllabus language, and processes, and workflows in addition to the conversion of the 15-week course to a faculty onboarding program for future hires.