Salisbury University students on campus

Design your online course for students’ success

  1. Getting Started: For a student to be successful in the online course it is important to know how to access the course and what to click first to get started with the course. To help students get started with the course, you can send a welcome email with the date on which they can access the course, where and how they can access the course and what to do first once they access the course.
  2. Sense of community: In most cases, online students don’t meet their instructor or classmates in person; so, they need to feel that their instructor is a real person (not a robot) and they belong to a community of learners in the course. Including a self-introduction creates a sense of connection between you and your students. Asking students to introduce themselves to you and their classmates can help create a sense of community and create a welcoming learning environment. You can increase this sense of community by including a video introduction of yourself and encouraging students to use video introduction instead of text introductions as well.
  3. Expectations: It is important to communicate all types of expectations in the online course, including:
    1. Instructor-Student Expectations
    2. Student-Instructor Expectations
    3. Time Commitment Expectations - A full schedule of activities and assignments, including the date and time of any mandatory synchronous virtual meetings, will help online students plan their time accordingly.
    4. Participation Expectation - How often students should access the course, participate in online asynchronous discussions, including netiquette expectations (online communication etiquette), should be clearly stated in the course.
  4. Technology Requirements: Minimum technology requirements such as a reliable computer with Internet connection to access the course as well as any other specific technology needed for successful participation and completion of class activities and assignments must be clearly stated and communicated with the students at the beginning of the class.
  5. Personal (Soft Skills) and Technical Skills Requirements: Personal skills needed to succeed within the course, such as time management, autonomous learning, and good writing skills, should be stated in the course syllabus or a course orientation page. Also, minimum technical skills, such as using track changes in Word, searching the Internet with Boolean operators, file management skills, and any technical skills specific to the class, such as video creation, using a specific software such as Excel, PowerPoint, Panopto, etc., must be included as well.
  6. How to Get Help: Links to academic and technical support services including guides and tutorials on how to use technology and tools required for the course should clearly listed in the course.

If interested in more tips and guides for quality online/hybrid course design that promotes student success, please consult with your ID&D liaison.