You may be starting out designing an online course, or teaching a course that someone else has designed. In either case, your primary focus will be on three key areas: providing content, developing interaction, and performing assessment. Let's look at what each of these key areas entails:

You may be starting out designing an online course, or teaching a course that someone else has designed. In either case, your primary focus will be on three key areas: providing content, developing interaction, and performing assessment. Let's consider what each of these key areas entails:

assessment

Assessment refers to learner performance; it helps us decide if students are learning and where improvement in that learning is needed.

  • Providing content: In online and blended teaching, as in fully face-to-face teaching, providing content means providing your students with course materials, which will be made available in a variety of formats.
  • Developing interaction: This means developing ways for your students to interact with content, with each other, with outside sources, and with you.
  • Performing assessment: Measuring students' progress and achievement against set standards.
In the following activity, you will be presented with examples of an online teacher using technology tools. In each case, click on the example at the top and then click the appropriate column according to whether you think the example demonstrates 'Providing content', 'Developing interaction', or 'Performing assessment'.
You will now be presented with examples of an online teacher using technology tools. In each case, consider whether you think the example demonstrates the act of 'Providing content', 'Developing interaction', or 'Performing assessment'. Then, continue on to check if you were correct and consider some feedback.

Key terms

Community of Inquiry framework: A social constructivist model of the...

Community of Inquiry icon

Examples

  • You include links to related research within the weekly lesson module in the LMS/VLE
  • You call a student to further discuss coursework issues that would be better discussed in private
  • You ask students to take a weekly exam to check their progress against learning-objective-related milestones
  • You hold weekly virtual office hours to meet with students to discuss any issues that they may have while working on their own
  • You ask students to develop project presentations and record them for class review and comment
  • You ask students to work in groups to access and complete virtual labs online
  • You ask students to discuss and debate current events using the forums feature of your LMS/VLE
  • The students take turns providing a weekly synopsis of the discussion forums by posting on the class blog
  • You survey your students for feedback on their preference for textual, visual, or audio content types
  • You upload teacher-, publisher- or student-created content into the LMS/VLE for students to review.

Now check your answers and consider some feedback:

Providing content

  • You upload teacher-, publisher- or student-created content into the LMS/VLE for students to review.
  • The students take turns providing a weekly synopsis of the discussion forums by posting on the class blog
  • You include links to related research within the weekly lesson module in the LMS/VLE.

Developing interaction

  • You hold weekly virtual office hours to meet with students to discuss any issues that they may have while working on their own
  • You ask students to discuss and debate current events using the forums feature of your LMS/VLE.
  • You ask students to work in groups to access and complete virtual labs online
  • You call a student to further discuss coursework issues that would be better discussed in private.

Performing assessment

  • You survey your students for feedback on their preference for textual, visual, or audio content types
  • You ask students to take a weekly exam to check their progress against learning-objective-related milestones
  • You ask students to develop project presentations and record them for class review and comment.

Feedback

These three areas neatly align with the Community of Inquiry framework and its three supporting presences (see the 'Key terms' pod at the end of this section).

Although all are tightly intertwined, it is easy to understand where teaching presence aligns well with providing content, social presence aligns well with developing interaction, and cognitive presence aligns well with performing assessment. Keeping this in mind will help guide your exploration and use of technology tools as you progress through this course.

The three key areas involved in designing and/or teaching an online course can be further broken down into the following six categories:

A flow diagram showing the three key areas divided into six sub-categories: 1) Providing content: Knowledge sharing; content contribution. 2) Developing interaction: Broadcast communication; interaction; community facilitation. 3) Performing assessment: Examination and assessment.

Providing content

  • Knowledge sharing
  • Content contribution.

Developing interaction

  • Broadcast communication
  • Interaction
  • Community facilitation.

Performing assessment

  • Examination and assessment.
In the following activity, click on each flashcard to find out more about the sub-categories of the three key areas of providing content, developing interaction and performing assessment. Use the 'Next' button to move to the next key area. Then, click 'Next' again to consider which technology tools could be used to support the six sub-categories.
You will now be presented with more detailed information about each of these six sub-categories. When you have considered the information, try to think of one or two examples of technology tools which might support each of the six sub-categories. Then continue to reflect on our suggestions.

Foundations

The following paper provides an excellent overview of technology...

Portfolio activity

Describe one technology tool that you have used in your teaching (or heard...

PROGRAMME | Teaching Online
COURSE | Using technology tools for teaching online
UNIT | 1 : Introduction
PAGE TITLE | Overarching approaches to technology use

Knowledge sharing

The content you provide for your students to access online – whether an online lecture, presentation, chapter from a textbook, or online resource – falls into the category of knowledge distribution.


Content contribution

Content created by your students during/beyond the course (even curated content or links to existing resources), is considered content contribution. This also covers discussion forum posts.


Broadcast communication

Email, announcements, and any other outreach broadcast media which you use falls into the category of communication. This can also include communication from other areas of your institution.


Interaction

Areas of interaction include discussion forums, chat areas, collaborative projects, and virtual meetings. Social media also provides a means for direct interaction between individuals and groups.


Community facilitation

Social media applications, group activities and discussions foster cohesion and collegiate identity amongst online students. Other tools include bulletin boards and online interest groups.


Examination and assessment

Anything that aims to measure the impact of student learning falls into the category of examination and assessment.

Now think of some examples of technology tools which might support each of these six sub-categories. Then continue to reflect on our suggestions.

Knowledge sharing

A video introduction to module concepts; links to associated resources; publisher content corresponding to a course textbook; a peer-reviewed journal article.

Content contribution

Forum posts; links shared via email; student presentations.

Broadcast communication

LMS/VLE announcements; email messages; messages posted on institutional web pages.

Interaction

Forums; chat rooms; Skype meetings; virtual office hours.

Community facilitation

LinkedIn groups; Facebook pages.

Examination and assessment

LMS/VLE tests and quizzes; written and project assignments using a variety of different technology tools from MS Word to wikis and presentations.

As you progress through this course, you will have the opportunity to review each of these categories in more depth, and to explore related technology tools and approaches in support of student success in online and blended learning.


Key terms

Community of Inquiry framework: A social constructivist model of the processes which support learning in an online environment.

Social presence: The degree to which participants in online environments feel affectively connected to one another.

Cognitive presence: The extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning in online courses.

Teaching presence: The design and organisation of course materials and activities, facilitation of learning, and direction and leadership in online courses.

Foundations

Portfolio

Duration: 20 minutes

Describe one technology tool that you have used in your teaching (or heard about) to support student learning. Relate the technology tool used to one of the six approaches covered in this section.

Use the attached document to record your notes, or complete the relevant page of your Teaching Online portfolio.