What does it take to move a course online?

What does it take to move a course online?

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As technology advances and educational approaches evolve, many instructors are facing demands to transition to an online curriculum. Stepping outside the classroom and behind a computer screen might feel daunting to some seasoned teachers. Most are accustomed to standing in front of a class and interacting with students face to face. They are used to writing on a board and passing out materials. Converting this traditional style of instruction to an online format might seem challenging at first, but most of the preparation will feel familiar.

Consider the following:


1.  Review and confirm your scope and sequence.

What information or skills do you want your students to become experts in by the end of your course? What steps will be necessary to get there?


2. Break down your content.

Separate your content into smaller parts, or “chunks.” “Chunking” is essentially the creation of units, chapters, and/or lessons, which are easier for students to process and track, especially online.


3. Order your content.

Organize your content chunks into a logical progression to help students build on what they know.


4. Develop a series of goals.

State clear objectives for each week or each part of your course so that students understand what they will learn by the end of each segment.


5. Design assessments.

Decide how you will evaluate your students’ mastery of the content. Create a consistent schedule of assignments to help you assess their progress.


6. Transition your content to appropriate online formats.

Learn about the preferred software for online learning at your school or institution. What types of web-based instruction tools are available on the platform where your course will live? Think about which formats might work best for your material. Incorporate a variety of interactive and multimedia experiences to increase student engagement. Build in opportunities for both independent and collaborate work. Here are some ideas for adapting your content:

  • Printed texts become online readings.
  • Class discussions become forums or live chats.
  • PowerPoint presentations become printable study guides or slideshows.
  • In-class exams become timed online tests.
  • Hands-on assignments become interactive, web-based tutorials.
  • Lectures become videos. (Be sure to include captions and a transcript to
    meet accessibility requirements for students with disabilities.)


Some online courses are synchronous, where instruction and learning occur in “real time.” Others are asynchronous, using the time-delayed capabilities of the web. This allows students and teachers to engage at their own convenience. Teachers might make an entire course available from the start, or only provide access to the current unit in order to leave room for feedback-based revision. Bridgeway Education can advise you on the process of converting your course to a digital learning experience. Reach out to us for more information at info@bridgewayed.com.