Leveraging Online Course Development to Enhance Face-to-Face Delivery

April 12, 2019 / By: Dr. Janine Sanders Jones, Associate Professor in Operations and Supply Chain Management

Last fall, I taught my first 100% online course. It was a graduate statistics course for OCB’s new online MBA program. Simultaneously, I was also teaching a face-to-face (F2F) version of the same course for the Full-time MBA program. To my surprise, the preparation for the online course was just what I needed to refresh the F2F version that I have taught for many years.  There were three main beneficial outcomes from preparing the online course that carried over to the F2F course.

Clearer learning objectives and communication

Much of the setup time for the online course was spent revising course goals and ensuring alignment between learning objectives, activities, and assessments. It was a great opportunity to revisit aspects of the course that I had not deeply examined recently. This alignment exercise should be completed for all courses regardless of delivery method.  It is the foundation of course development. And, online courses have added complexity because of the lack of direct in-person communication with students. Everything needs to be clearly communicated in writing or video. I did not realize how much information I “filled-in” in class when providing activities and assignments.  This led me to develop a better sequence of the module activities, clearer directions for assessments, and more directly connect course components, which enhanced the overall student experience.

Improved Canvas site

Developing the Canvas site for the online course, led me to redevelop the Canvas site for the F2F section. I learned about available technology and different ways to use it because of the STELAR courses on online delivery (see the STELAR website for more information) and applied those insights to the F2F course also.  In my experience, Canvas provides a great platform for organizing, sequencing, and linking course materials. I was able to utilize Panopto, Voicethread, Aplia (textbook homework platform), and other technologies to deliver content and encourage engagement in both courses.

Better preparation for F2F time

In keeping with best practices, I recorded numerous short (5-8 minute) videos for each module. A typical module would contain 6-8 videos. The creation of a video library for the online course led me to partially flip the F2F course. Before class, F2F students were assigned a portion of the module playlist to watch (the first 1-3 videos) that introduced the module content. To ensure that the F2F students watched the videos, there was a quick check-in quiz at the beginning of each module that was completed in class. Students were given five minutes to answer five multiple choice questions covering the video content. Then, in teams, students completed the five question quiz again. Their individual and team scores were added for a total quiz score. The videos prompted students to come to class better prepared to learn the material.  Students were more engaged with the remaining F2F lecture portion of class and felt more prepared to work on practice problems during class.  I am considering flipping more content for the F2F students next year.

Take a chance!

I am glad I stepped outside my comfort zone to teach a different method of course delivery. It was time intensive and frustrating at times. But, the investment in preparing the online course provided a great benefit for the F2F course. I was quite pleased with the feedback from the F2F students also.  ome felt more prepared to cover material in class and some students said that course expectations were well defined. Overall, the two courses intersected quite well and it was helpful to teach both simultaneously.  I encourage faculty to learn more about online delivery. The classes from STELAR are a great way to experiment with this delivery model. Like me, you just might find some elements applicable and helpful for your traditional face to face courses.