Fast-Start Synchronous Classroom-based Courses

As mentioned before, on more than one occasion, I have been assigned a course to teach with less than two weeks’ notice. As I had never taught this course before, this didn’t give me enough time to plan the entire semester (in one instance I hadn’t read the assigned text and didn’t have a copy!). To give myself breathing space to plan for a successful term, I developed the first two weeks of the course and an outline for the rest. Below is my fast-start schedule for developing a “traditional” course structure – students actually sitting in a classroom at an assigned time (Structure is discussed in the page on design principles)

In this instance we have the following structure:

Day ActionHelp
Identify where you are starting (W1.1 Worksheet):
1 Who can help you – EdTechs, IDs, CT&L, GAs, library, admin staff? (Contact form)Dept admin
  What is the term schedule – breaks, holidays, due dates for grading…? Start an instructor course calendar with these on it.Dept admin
  Do you have a previous syllabus – yours or another instructor’s?Dept admin
  Is a textbook already assigned and ordered by the bookstore? If yes and you don’t already have a copy of the text, get it from the institution’s library, a previous instructor, or the publisher.If no text is already assigned, determine if you have time to order a text from the bookstore.Dept admin or bookstore
  Are specific assignments required? If yes, review the instructions, rubrics, etc. to determine if you can/should adjust them.Dept head or program chair
  Check your access to the LMS and determine what is already in the course build.EdTech or ID
  Review any available previous offerings by other instructors on your LMS.EdTech or ID
  Start a calendar on the LMS for students that includes last drop-date, any breaks, start and end dates, and any other important dates.EdTech or ID
Identify where you are going
2 Id outcomes and objectives based on course description, textbook, or previous syllabus. For more complete development of outcomes and objectives, see W2.1 Details & Worksheets). You may also want to refer to my blog on creating objectives quickly. ID/CT&L
Determine how you will get there
  Identify which pedagogical model/approach you will use (see Table 1 for descriptions).ID/CT&L
  Develop an outline for course flow – which topics which week. This can be done by identifying a sequence that makes sense to you, viewing a previous syllabus, and/or reviewing the textbook’s flow.ID/CT&L
3 Develop student reading assignments and add to the students’ LMS calendar and your instructor’s calendar. Order copies for the students (or, if reading is online, check copyright requirements and add to LMS).  (How to select readings)Library, copy center, and/or bookstore
  Develop student discussion prompts for first week. These can encourage participation and give you an idea of students’ incoming knowledge and attitudes.ID/CT&L
  Assign student groups for assignments (Note A).CT&L
  On the LMS, create a discussion group for students to post questions about assignments (include expectations of when you will respond).EdTech or ID
  If you are using a pedagogical model that includes long-term group assignments, develop instructions for how the group will operate (See C11– Group Work)ID/CT&L
  If possible, develop instructions and rubrics for all student assignments with due dates.ID/CT&L
4 Outline your first lesson (see The First Class Session). Include a statement about the circumstances and that you will have a full, detailed syllabus with assignments before the end of the second week (make sure you have this before the last drop date!).ID/CT&L
  Outline your first two weeks of lessons (see worksheet 4.1a)ID/CT&L
  Develop your first syllabus draft and post to the LMS with special note stating that you will be making changes to the syllabus during week two. Including a description of the learning model (and why you have selected this.EdTech or ID/CT&L
  In your syllabus, add a link to your LMS discussion group for questions.EdTech or ID/CT&L
5 Breathe. 

(Note A: Check with CT&L – your teaching and learning center – to see if your institute has any grouping regulations and/or technology).

(See previous blog on Fast-Start Asynchronous Internet-based Courses)

What would you add/subtract/change?

Leave a Comment