Make the Most of Teaching Online

Volume 1. The Student View of Technology-Enriched Learning

(A Specially Annotated Version of FutureU’s Student Web Book, “Make the Most of Learning Online.”)


  • Consider a possible structure for presenting your online course materials.
  • Consider various types of navigation for use with your online course materials.
  • Understand the minimum hardware and software requirements for a typical online classroom.

Chapter 1: Learning on the Internet

  • Acknowledge the many advantages of learning online.
  • Acknowledge the many challenges as well.
  • Learn how to avoid student problems with email and online classroom discussions.
  • Learn tips for lightening your workload around the online components of a course.
  • Consolidate your thinking about the Internet by discussing it with others.

Chapter 2: The Electronic Classroom

  • Understand what course management software is and what it offers you as a course developer and instructor.
  • Recognize the skills every student and instructor must have to participate fully in the online components of any course.
  • Practice using several different discussion forum software products.
  • Practice using a simple template to build a glossary of terms related to a course.
  • Introduce your students to online journaling and free journaling software.
  • Start your own instructor’s journal to consolidate your course planning as you go.
  • Consolidate your own thinking about the electronic classroom by discussing it with others.

Chapter 3: Internet Basics

  • Articulate for your students how the Internet and World Wide Web came to exist and why, and how both can enhance learning.
  • Understand how to choose the right ISP for your teaching.
  • Visit two Web sites that review ISPs.
  • Articulate the purpose of a browser, and download the latest version of yours.
  • Install a half-dozen plugins used in online teaching and learning.
  • Articulate the distinction between hypertext and printed text and how the difference impacts teaching and learning.
  • Break down a URL into its component parts.
  • If your students need it, help them practice using a mouse, clicking on links, and surfing the Web.
  • Encourage your students to look for at least eight patterns in their use of the Internet.
  • Explore three Web sites that serve as guides to the Internet.
  • Learn about books that can deepen your own and your students’ understanding of the Internet.
  • Consolidate your own thinking about the Internet by discussing it with others.

Chapter 4: Email

  • Solidify what you and your students know about email and how it can enhance education.
  • Explore various free email software programs.
  • Help your students deconstruct an email address.
  • Recognize the eight basic skills necessary for efficient use of any email program.
  • Encourage your students to visit at least one of three Web tutorials about email.
  • Minimize later hassles with an assignment related to the topic of email itself.
  • Consolidate your own thinking about email by discussing it with others.

Chapter 5: Netiquette (Internet Etiquette)

  • Introduce your students to 20 standard rules for behavior in the Internet culture.
  • Learn simple tricks for enhancing online communication and preventing problems.
  • Introduce 14 common emoticons and seven useful abbreviations.
  • Understand the copyright issues unique to the Internet.
  • Know the rules for determining when a document enters the public domain.
  • Introduce Web sites on netiquette.
  • Introduce Web sites on emoticons.
  • Introduce Web sites on Internet ethics and privacy.
  • Consolidate your own thinking about netiquette by discussing it with others.

Chapter 6: Understanding Online Participation

  • Encourage successful group interactions by introducing 13 generally accepted standards for frequency and style of online participation.
  • Introduce eight standards for the appropriate use of language in online interactions.
  • Introduce nine accepted standards for online document formatting.
  • Explain what a pixel is and how it is used.
  • Demonstrate how to use evolving subject lines in messages.
  • Explain the concept of conversational “threading.”
  • Explain the concept of language “chunking.”
  • Present a range of strategies for successful online interaction.
  • Offer four checklists of tips for success in online interaction.

Chapter 7: Creating the Best Work Station for Online Study

  • Acknowledge the importance of safety and comfort to the online learning process.
  • Break down the five components of an appropriate environment for online study.
  • Offer seven guidelines for preventing computer-related injuries.
  • Analyze the ergonomics of your own workstation and encourage your students to do the same.
  • Introduce four unique time management skills required for efficient online study.
  • Introduce three types of environments used for online communication.
  • Present four possible methods of reading on a computer screen and their different purposes.
  • Explain when, when not, and how to print out information.
  • Explain how to take notes on the computer while reading on screen.
  • Explain how to save pages to disk.
  • Explain how and when to download files.
  • Introduce bookmarking.
  • Explain how to adjust the size of a computer’s viewing area.
  • Explain how to change the print size on a screen.
  • Explain how to adjust the colors on a screen.

Chapter 8: Submitting Assignments by Email

  • Acknowledge five challenges and nine benefits to sharing computer files.
  • Learn how to track and evaluate assignments.
  • Present the five pieces of information that every student should include on the cover page of an assignment submitted by email.
  • Explain how students can protect their computers from viruses.
  • Explain when to use rich text format.
  • Present the accepted standards for delivering extra-large files.
  • Explain the value of conversion software and where to get it.
  • Introduce the eight steps for attaching a file to an email message.
  • Learn how to avoid problems around email submissions.
  • Assign a reading on foolproof file enclosures.

Chapter 9: Using the Internet for Assignment Research

  • Acknowledge the value of careful planning for Internet research.
  • Present a 14-step strategy for successful Internet research.
  • Introduce a valuable set of online dictionaries, thesauri, and library catalogs.
  • Introduce “uncovering.”
  • Introduce “gophers” and assign practice with the first one ever developed.
  • Explain the difference between two broad types of search engines.
  • Compare up to nine popular search engines and help students learn how to choose the best one for various types of research questions.
  • Present various search strategies.
  • Introduce seven database sites.
  • Explain boolean operators and their use in Internet research.
  • Explain how to evaluate resources found on the Internet.
  • Introduce a Web site that can help students hone their critical thinking skills.
  • Introduce a software program for record keeping.
  • Explain the accepted method for citing quotations from Internet sources.
  • Introduce a site full of Web searching tips.
  • Offer an electronic tutorial on Web searching.
  • Assign a reading on copyright and fair use in the digital age.
  • Introduce up to five online citation guides and present the most popular print-based style guides.
  • Acknowledge the legal and moral obligations associated with copyright.
  • Explain when a student may and may not legally copy someone else’s work.
  • Present 10 important rules for determining when a document is in the public domain.

Chapter 10: Using the Internet for Group Learning

  • Acknowledge the individual participant’s responsibility to an online group.
  • Introduce a list of 10 activities that any group may do together and eight benefits of doing them online.
  • Explain the benefits and limitations of seven different types of media used for online group interaction.
  • Explain the 11 steps to starting an online group.
  • Introduce a template of guidelines for group procedures, behavior, and shared values.
  • Explain alignment and seven possible levels of individual alignment with group goals.
  • Explain the difference between discussion and dialogue.
  • Introduce up to four Web sites that introduce group process tools.
  • Present two valuable tips for successful chatting.
  • Understand both qualitative and quantitative harvesting.
  • Understand weaving.
  • Recognize the resources necessary for collaborative learning.
  • Understand the differences between traditional learning and facilitated, collaborative learning.
  • Explain eight steps that occur in the formation of any collaborative group.
  • Learn 15 tips for successfully facilitating an online group.
  • Assign practice at planning an online group activity.

Student Tool Kit

Offer your students all of the following resources from a single page:

  • Online dictionaries
  • Online thesauri
  • Online encyclopedias
  • Online grammar guides
  • Maps online
  • Government statistics
  • More than half of all U.S. government documents
  • Full texts of thousands of books, from Aesop’s Fables to Shakespeare’s plays
  • Audio recordings of thousands of politically significant events
  • Virtual museums
  • Online reference resources
  • Glossary templates
  • Template for online group guidelines
  • Other educational sites (e.g., climate conditions)
  • A range of subject-specific Webcams

Volume 2: Planning and Creating a Technology-Enriched Course

Chapter 1: The Big Picture

  • Acknowledge the need for extra planning in a classroom enriched by technology.
  • View two examples of technology enrichment: HTML and Powerpoint.
  • Compare the physical and electronic classrooms.
  • Start to focus on the four-phase model of course design.

Chapter 2: The Study Phase

  • Study a list of possible purposes for any course. Start thinking about what you want to accomplish with yours and what constraints (time, equipment, etc.) you may face.
  • Study five key aspects of online course design and start to think about how they will influence your decisions.
  • Use a checklist of possible course components to start deciding on your mix of face-to-face and technology-enriched delivery.
  • Review the media options for group interaction.
  • Study a comparison of the leading course management software products.
  • Study and evaluate at least one existing course delivered entirely online.
  • Track your progress with a Study Phase checklist.
  • Consolidate what you learn in the Study Phase by discussing it with others.

Chapter 3: The Design Phase

  • Acknowledge the importance of careful course design..
  • Understand the two possible purposes of a Web page
  • Clarify your purpose.
  • Understand the benefits and drawbacks of conventional and computer-mediated learning venues as they relate to time and place.
  • Make choices about eleven key aspects of course design.
  • Learn about two learning models of particular help to educators in designing technology-enriched courses.
  • Consolidate your understanding of the three possible levels of the delivery mix.
  • Understand the role of seven types of online learning activities and eleven kinds of learning structures and choose from among them.
  • Consider two approaches to mapping your course.
  • Choose from three types of presentation design.
  • Create two types of course instructions.
  • Learn how to gauge the delivery time of the online activities in your course.
  • Understand chunking and linking.
  • Anticipate the need for a dozen facilitation practices that encourage online participation.
  • Track your progress with a Design Phase checklist.
  • Consolidate what you learn in the Design Phase by discussing it with others.

Chapter 4: The Development Phase

  • Carry out the development of a dozen aspects of your course design.
  • Compare your results against prevailing standards.
  • Visit a range of Web sites that other instructors have found useful as resources for course materials that can be accessed online.
  • Learn more about the delivery of audio and video on the Web, including the four challenges that must be overcome.
  • Learn about effective Web design.
  • Track your progress with a Development Phase checklist.
  • Consolidate what you learn in the Development Phase by discussing it with others.

Chapter 5: Learn Basic HTML Codes

  • Understand what HTML code is and how it can help you enhance the presentation of your course materials.
  • Learn about four ways you can place course materials on the Web without learning HTML.
  • Deconstruct a basic HTML code.
  • Learn and practice more than a dozen common HTML codes for use in building course Web pages.
  • Consolidate what you learn about HTML by discussing it with others.

Chapter 6: Create a Basic Web Page

  • Learn the seven document structure tags that every Web page must have.
  • Study examples of how simple HTML tags are used to build a page.
  • Learn the six most common HTML tags used to add personality to a Web page.
  • Compare a simple Web page with the attribute tags behind its design.
  • Learn a dozen HTML tags used for determining the appearance of an image on a Web page and what they specify.
  • Compare a Web page displaying a graphic image with the attribute tags that determined its appearance.
  • Explore two tutorials on HTML.
  • Consolidate what you learn about Web page design by discussing it with others

Chapter 7: The Implementation Phase

  • Learn six steps for launching the online components of a course.
  • Learn four proven steps for getting an online discussion going.
  • Understand the differing roles of teacher and facilitator.
  • Understand the four basic aspects of managing asynchronous online group activities.
  • Learn 17 ways to create a successful online group experience.
  • Learn a proven method for dealing with inappropriate student messages.
  • Track your progress with an Implementation Phase checklist.
  • Consolidate what you learn in the Implementation Phase by discussing it with others.