Planning a course? Have your content but are just not sure how to tie it together? I’ve got three little words for you: MAP IT OUT. Let’s create a course map together.
What does this mean and how would it work?
A course map will give you a clear structure to work from. A map is a clear way to organise your thoughts and work with others. You can write down all the essential elements and look at them vertically and horizontally. Vertically means you can see what the overall course looks like from top to bottom, how everything works together. Horizontally means you can see each module planned out.
Using a course map makes it easier to ensure consistency through the course and to keep a similar format for each module. Surprises are most likely to confuse people when learning online.
By putting your course map on Google Drive you can share this map with others and ask for support and feedback. See my article on using Google Docs/Drive.
The best way to explain this is to look at a really basic course map outline and go through seeing how your course might fit.
Below is a basic template, it covers the basics and you may want to adjust this template for your specific needs.
Let’s look at the labels for each column:
Module can be interchanged for lesson/week etc. Give it a name e.g. Module 1: Introduction.
Objectives are what you want your learners to achieve each week. You may want people to ‘understand’ something, or to ‘demonstrate how to use course software’ – that’s a good one for the first week. To find out more about objectives check out Bloom’s taxonomy. This is a classic tool used by teachers and is a must to read through it you haven’t done so already. Bloom’s Taxonomy is all over the Internet, here’s a link to a useful break down, click here.
Activities are what you are doing to reach your objectives. If you want participants to ‘understand the difference between X and Y’ explore both X and Y and then ask for some kind of proof. Proof could be a little fun quiz or you could have a discussion exploring the differences.
Vary your activities, people learn in different ways, so have a variety of different activities. For example a video that also has an easy to read written explanation, or the video is an example for the written text. Video did not kill the radio star – audio is also great for online learning.
You can also link to websites that contain supporting information, there’s a massive amount of resources just a click away.
Interactions are online interactions between anyone involved with the course. You could have a forum discussion for each point, you could have one to one interactions with the participants, you could have interactions between participants and other professionals. You should definitely have a place for students to get together online and chat about stuff.
Time, write an estimate of how long your activities and interactions may take. You can make a list of the different time for each activity and interaction. Your course needs to be achievable. In my experience people like to get a lot of learning into each module. Be aware of the learners and the time expectations placed on them.
What happens next?
After creating your course map you will need to put together a detailed break down of the course materials and information for each week. This will be explained in the next post.
What to do now?
Start planning your first module which will probably be an introductory week.
I love planning things, it helps me to get excited about the finished product.
Download a copy of this map course map here you are welcome to change it, add columns with more areas to cover. If you do please send me some feedback I’d love to know what everyone sees as important to developing their course.