Feasibility and Challenges of Creating a New Online Course.

 

375My final blog post for the 4151!

As I work through the steps of explaining the feasibility of a course I am learning that there is more to consider then I thought. I expected to think of how much it would cost, the learners, the interactivity, and what technology to use. I had not thought about the ease of the course, how long it might take for the learner and instructor to learn the technology or if the technology was reliable, these were good points for me to spend some time on. The other new concepts were the novelty and speed, how fast could this course be created and can it be easily changed as practice changes, the question about novelty had me think this could fit into the technology question as this is where I would have placed it. Technology has many questions attached such as, when and how to update it, how easy is it to teach and learn and can anyone take over the course if needed. I can see how using an acronym such as S.E.C.T.I.O.N.S would help to think about each step so that nothing is missed, similar to a check list.

Some of the challenges I recognize are, how would you teach someone else to deliver the course, I think that by having another instructor involved in the set-up process would be an solution,  or if you have to have another instructor take over the course a well written syllabus with all the instructions might be a viable solution. Policy work needs to be in place to support the learner and the instructor before the course starts to answer questions such as: What do you do if when there is an end date for the course and there is a power outage or a learner has a family emergency, clearly written policies would help these situations.

Some of the practical factors that I keep thinking of are:

  1. How will I create a teacher presence in the course? So much of nursing education is done online with no teaching presence, the learner reads the required reading and does a test, completes then signs it and this is considered as done. I can now see that this learning does not support the best practice guidelines set out in the Online Teaching Survival Guide. Maybe some nurses will not like having an instructor presence, as this will be new for them so creating an instructor presence might be a challenge. Or maybe with instructor presence the course could be more successful. This is information that will need to be reviewed with feedback. Lots of questions here.
  2. Will my learning activities be engaging enough? How will I be able to assess if the learning activities are challenging enough or too challenging? I will have to ask for feedback early and throughout the first few courses so that I have enough feedback to make a make a decision about the learning activities.
  3. Cost and technology, for me this is not 2 separate components but is one, for example. If the technology has a large cost factor will I have enough ideas and resources to create something else that will be more cost efficient but still keep with the goals and objectives?

I think that I might be surprised as to how long this process takes to create a course. Policy work is not easy or fast and I am not sure what work is already in place within my organization. So, I will have to spend some time working on this, but it needs to be done to support the instructor and learner. I have tried to keep the technology simple so that we can always build on it as the course progresses. I think my greatest fear is that a lot of work will be done and it will not be used, but there is learning in the process, I must remember that. It will take a team to build a course, of that I am certain.

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