And then you just record your lectures and Voilà – you are online‘. No – absolutely not. Creating a proper online course or even a blended online course requires usually a completely new game plan. In many cases, the best practice is to start from the scratch when transforming a traditional course into online course. Most of the poor online courses are built on the basis of the traditional course by just linking some pdf’s and live teaching recordings. Usually this analogous to trying a solve a new puzzle with wrong pieces – you can try to make it work, but usually result is below par. Of course, there might be things from your traditional course that you can use, but don’t count that they will carry through the unknown. 

From a teacher to generalist
When starting your online teaching, expect that you need to become a video recorder, sound and lighting specialist, actor, editor and the executive producer – at least some of these, if not all. Might sound unrealistic, but this is the reality in many occasions. If you are lucky, your institution might have some people or unit(s) that can help you with these, but usually they can take only partial responsibility. In the end you are the responsible one in most cases.  It’s worth to expect that you need to make a big time investments on these – sooner or later. The extra pain here comes from the fact that many tools, techniques, situations are in continuous change.  Not to mention that you tend to forget things that you don’t continuosly work with..

With teaching videos 1=10 – at minimum

For a working and sustainable online course you need to have online learning material which usually include videos. That’s easy and fast, right. No – usually not at all. In practice, it’s good to assume that for a decent 1 hour of teaching videos you need to work at least 10 hours. And this is just the absolute minimum. Might sound a lot, but this is based on good amount of experience from different experienced teachers. Of course, some smaller supporting/auxiliary/complementing videos can be done with less effort but for a core content material that can keep it’s value need much more investment. If you want to upgrade e.g. from the basic minimum level of sound, lighting then this is extra. Including something else than a talking head can change the game to completely another level and performing some other editing than cutting the ends is yet another level.

Sending a message does not guarantee understanding.

Delivering all the knowledge in a form of videos and reading material is usually just not enough at least in higher education context where usually some sort of guarantee of learning is expected. For a proper learning the student needs to digest the information by tasting, cheving, transforming, cultivating and resonating it. This can include discussions, group works, assignments, quizzes, polls, demonstrations and other interactions where the knowledge is tested, questioned, combined and advanced. Pouring the information usually is just not enough. The student needs to work actively on the content and it’s the teachers duty to plan what, when and how this is done. This is far from trivial and usually takes time. Big time. At it has no standard solutions. In many cases it is also assumed that teacher also designs a plan B, if the student fails the plan A. This is yet another extra layer. 

Naaaah doesn’t mean no
No – I dont’ mean that one should not go online. I just want to point out that creating an online course usually takes a huge amount of time and effort. Sure, the next time can be a easier and some experienced colleagues might be able to help. But not necessarily, since e.g. the case might be different. Expect also that you might need invent the wheel once again. For this purpose I warmly recommend working in a sustainable way: write down the things you have learned. Your notes can be later worth of gold for you – or to someone else, too.

This is my part of my notes.

Why not to go online: part 1 – giving birth is usually very heavy