The Top 5 Design Considerations
1. Determining the Strength of the Class: It is quite different to run an online class for 10 students and a class for 100. Some of the areas require individual attention towards every student for the program to be effective. In such cases, a class with total strength of 50 or more, may be simply too tough to handle.
2. Keeping it Professional: When designing an online classroom, you must keep all the standards at par with the professional level that everybody expects. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of time researching what’s new, or spend lot of money in incorporating the same.
If you’re running a distance learning class, and arranging for an online lecture via satellite communication or a net meeting, a good set-up giving the basic amenities like individual PC to the attendees, a decent projector, comfortable seating arrangement and sufficient lighting should be good enough.
The bottom-line is that your online classroom design must not give a casual feel.
3. Minimizing the Sources of Distraction: In an online class, it is crucial to minimize the sources of distraction, otherwise the very purpose of running the program will be defeated. There can be different kind of distractions during an online class. These may include bad audibility levels of speaker, poor vision, or other technical problems that may turn out to be a hindrance in smooth proceeding of the class.
If the online class is a part of a distance learning program, operating on satellite communication, it is important to test the connectivity well in advance, before the class commences.
4. Ensuring Availability of Internet and Other Resources to the Students: During interactive sessions of the online classes, it is also a good idea to provide access to internet and other necessary resources to all the students, so that they may research the topic and come up with the questions and get a clearer understanding of the topic.
At the same time, it is necessary to ensure that they don’t have internet connectivity during the learning sessions, so as to ensure that the students don’t browse the net unnecessarily, rather than concentrating on the lecture.
5. Electronic Discussion Boards: Electronic discussion boards have become pretty common in the online classroom environment these days, and picking a good one may help to increase the popularity of your online program too.
Effective utilization of electronic discussion boards can also help greatly in improving the overall interactivity of the class, and student-to-student as well as student-to-instructor interactions separately too.