Educator Courses

Designing for Online Learning

      We have paused offering this course. Please explore our new offering, Designing for Online Learning: Assessment or other educator courses. For more free resources on online learning, visit our COVID-19 resource page.

      Course Description

      Our current global context requires developing and implementing remote learning plans when it becomes impossible to keep brick and mortar schools open. Educators may not know how to get started or may want specific strategies to ensure quality online learning experiences for students. Our new course, Designing for Online Learning, is a “nuts and bolts” primer on online teaching and learning for educators.

      At Global Online Academy (GOA), we teach thousands of middle and secondary school students every year across the world in our online Student Program. For the past nine years, we’ve gathered students and educators to learn in online spaces, and we have created a framework that expands the walls of a traditional school and enables students to learn anywhere.

      This course will cover the fundamentals of designing high quality online learning experiences. We’ll explore the possibilities and limitations of online learning, the development of relationships and human connections in online spaces, the essentials of page design and navigation, and the design of learning experiences and assessments in online environments. You will learn quick strategies and tools that you can implement immediately as well as gain access to experienced online teachers and a networked global community.

      For virtual learning opportunities to be successful, teachers and school leaders must be aware of the pedagogy and tools that enable student learning. Essential questions tackled in the course include the following:

      • What does great learning look like in online spaces?
      • How might teachers design for community, connection, and student support in online spaces?
      • How might teachers design learning experiences that are easy to navigate, intuitive, and interactive?
      • How might students demonstrate and provide evidence of their learning in online spaces?
      • How might teachers collaborate with one another in online spaces?

      We offer five concrete themes that form the bedrock of the student experience in online learning. Each of these topics are modules in the one week course.

      1. Nuts and bolts: Understanding the nuts and bolts of online learning, including how to organize everything and stay sane
      2. Student Community: Building community and supporting wellness in online spaces
      3. Design: Designing student learning experiences in online spaces
      4. Assessment: Creating assessments and providing feedback in online spaces
      5. Professional Community: Putting it all together; connecting with your colleagues

      What this course is

      The course is intentionally designed to be a light lift. These topics could be explored in greater depth, but, right now, we have intentionally designed an interactive and introductory learning experience for teachers focused on the tangible and practical elements of online learning.

      The course is about teaching and learning. Specifically, the course is about teacher design moves that ensure a smooth transition to online learning. For some of you, the course may be a new foray into online learning. For others, it may be an opportunity to learn new strategies. Either way, you will find something tangible and practical to use with students.

      What this course is not

      As schools navigate a closure, we recognize the many competing demands leaders and educators are managing. When a physical school closes, for whatever reason, there are policy needs, legal considerations, communication concerns, human resource complexities, and more that demand attention. The course does not cover these topics. At the end of this page, we provide a list of organizations and resources for aspects of school closure that are outside of teaching and learning.

      We know that communication with families is top of mind for school leaders. It’s also something for teachers to consider: how do I communicate with families? We don’t explicitly cover this topic in the course; we recommend that schools develop a streamlined approach for faculty communication with families.

      A note on audience and scope

      GOA’s Student Program has over 3000 7th-12th graders each year in fully online courses. While much of our middle and high school experience may be relevant to elementary school teachers, we recognize the unique challenges inherent in online learning for younger students. This course is primarily geared towards educators who teach upper elementary, middle and secondary school students.

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