Checklist for Going Online

Checklist for Going Online

Much of this document was adapted from Kent State’s Office of Continuing and Distance Education. 

Before the class begins - week prior to the start of classes. 

  • Decide on a communication strategy. 
    • What is it? A plan to keep in regular communication with your students. Decide when you will contact your class, how you plan to contact your class, and what kind of information you will include in these communications. 
    • Why should I do it? Online environments require a plan of communication because we can’t rely on informal housekeeping moments at the beginning of class. 
    • How should I do this? Consider sending a weekly email on Sunday evenings detailing plans, assignments, and deadlines for the week. Consider adding a Katie Announcement forum that will automatically email your class whenever you post an update. Consider setting and communicating your email policy (e.g. students can expect a response within 24 hours of their initial email to you, you do not answer email after 7 pm, etc.) 
  • Build out your Katie site for maximum ease of navigation. 
    • What is it? Include a “Getting Started “section with an updated syllabus with the following included: instructor information, course information, policies, student support resources, etc. Include a “Course Activity Schedule”. Divide up the remainder of your course site using weekly topics or modules. 
    • Why should I do this? Clarity is key in online courses. Having an organized Katie site is the first step. 
    • How should I do this? This is highly individualized. Consider setting up an appointment with the Katie team to discuss options. 
  • Send out an Intake Survey
    • What is it? A survey that gathers general information about your students. You can also use it to gauge their technology access. 
    • Why should I do it? To establish a sense of community and to ensure that students have the necessary tools and technology for success in your class. 
  • Send your students a welcome letter  
    • What is it? An email or document attachment sent to students a few days before the class begins. 
    • Why should I do it? To welcome students to the course, reinforce that we will be starting our term online, direct them to information about what technology they will need, and provide them with course information such as the textbook to purchase and how to access their Katie course. 
  • Build the structure of your Katie course
  • Open your Katie course for students to access before the first day. 
    • What is it? Open your non-content items of our course early, such as your syllabus, video introduction, course overview, balance for synchronous and asynchronous meeting etc. 
    • Why should I do this? So that students have a chance to become familiar with the layout and the structure of the course and can dive into learning on the first day. 

The First Week

  • Welcome Announcement [Day One]
    • What is it? An announcement welcoming students to the class.
    • Why should I do it? To set the tone and expectations for the course, including interaction requirements, how to reach you for questions, etc. 
    • How should I do it? Consider recording a video with Zoom or another recording tool. Post the video on your Katie site. 
  • Check your class list and email students who have not logged onto your Katie site [Day Three]
    • What is it? A direct email to students who have not accessed Katie during the first days of the course. 
    • Why should I do it? To see if students are having trouble logging in and need help, to reinforce the importance of accessing the Katie site for course materials and communication, and to establish a system of support for students who may struggle. 
    • How do I do it? Use the email class option on Katie and email anyone who has not logged in. Ask them if they are having issues logging in, or if there is anything you can do to help. 

Beginning Weeks 

  • First Assignment Reminder announcement (continue reminders throughout the course)
    • What is it? An announcement reminding students of the due date and time for their first assignment. You might also remind students where they can find these due dates or even resend them the syllabus.
    • Why should I do it? To provide the same reminders in the online environment that we do in a face-to-face class, to help students develop a schedule, and to prevent procrastination. 
    • How should I do it? Refer back to your communication plan. Post an announcement with the assignment in the subject line and let students know when it is due. Remind them where the assignment information/prompt/rubric is, and what tool they will be using. You might also let them know when they can expect feedback, and post an additional announcement when they have grades and feedback to view.
  • Office Hours announcement 
    • What is it? An announcement reminding students when you are available for live office hours and how they can contact you. You can also consider holding topic-specific office hours, such as for a big assignment or complex topic, where students can email questions ahead of time.
    • Why should I do it? To remind students that you are available for help. 
    • How do I do it? Refer back to your communication plan. Post an announcement with your scheduled “live” office hours and remind students how they can contact you. 

Throughout the Course 

  • Continue to monitor student engagement. 
    • What is it? Regular assessment of individual student engagement in the course. 
    • Why should I do this? In a fast paced term, reaching out to students who may be struggling is essential to getting them back on track. 
    • How do I do this? Reach out through email to students who are not logging into Katie regularly, who miss synchronous meetings, or are missing assignments. Encourage them to come to your office hours. Connect them to CAE if necessary. 
  • Give students practice with online tools before grading
    • What is this? A norming period or experiment period for students to try out a new technology before being graded on their work with that technology. 
    • Why should I do this? Online learning is new to us all. Before you expect mastery of a particular tool, encourage low-stakes, or no-stakes experimentation with that tool. This ensures that when students do submit work to be graded, you are grading them on course objectives, and not simply their ease in using a particular tool. 
    • How do I do this? Introduce a new tool or technology to students in class time and encourage experimentation with a very low-stakes activity. Do this early enough that you can provide extra training for students who may struggle. 
  • “Just in Time” online teaching
    • What is it? A webcam video, audio recording, or text-based post that provides more information on concepts that students seem to be confused about. You can create “Clarification Point” videos to clarify topics, post additional resources, or to address misconceptions/answer questions
    • Why should I do it? To provide students with additional information of explanation of difficult course topics or problems. 
    • How do I do it? Create a webcam video or audio file or text post and load onto Katie, or share with the students via email. If you post on Katie, be sure to send them an announcement alerting them to the “Just in Time” resource. 
  • Summary announcements
    • What is it? Summary announcements can be used to summarize the big ideas from a class section or module. They can also be used to connect the topics together that students are learning in the course or connect topics to real-world scenarios. 
    • Why should I do it? To help students focus on the big takeaways from a discussion or module, to highlight the major points for a reading, and/or to provide closure and connection from one learning until to the next. 
    • How should I do it?  Post an announcement indicating you’re providing a summary of the module or consider posting a video or audio file, so students can hear your encouragement in the tone of your voice. 
  • Timely and Quality Feedback
    • What is it? Feedback on activities and assessments provided in a suitable time frame from when students complete the assignment. 
    • Why should I do it? To guide students’ learning, and to provide them with feedback in time for them to use that guidance on their next assignment. 
    • How do I do it?  Consider building auto-graded quizzes and tests with automatic feedback for both correct and incorrect answers. For other kinds of assessment, consider recording audio or video feedback, use the track changes feature on MS word, or comment function on google docs.