Setting Up A Successful Online Learning Experience

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Creating an online experience for the very first time can be a very an intimidating task. I believe that the intimidation can be controlled by the ID or facilitator. I know when I had to create an online learning environment for another Walden class; I made sure that I understood the CMS that I chose to use. I didn’t try to incorporate all of the features that CMS had available. I stuck to the basics. Secondly I set up clear expectations for my students and provided examples of each expectation when it was available. When the students see this they will have a better understanding of the type of work that you want to have submitted. You want to start the course on the right foot by making your students feel as though the learning environment is safe, nurturing, and comfortable.


There are a host of Classroom Management Systems available for the ID or Facilitator to use. Additionally the ID or Instructor should chose a CMS based on the need of the class. It is important to understand the types of technology available in the CMS. Some of the basic functions that an ID or Instructor should know how to use of a CMS are:

  • Navigating the CMS 
  • Adding content into the different sections of the CMS 
  • Adding hyperlinks 
  • Accessing the course templates 
  • Uploading documents and media 
  • Discussion Board and Chat 
  • Setting up the grade book
  • Frequently Asked Questions or Help Tab 

Once the ID or Facilitator are comfortable with the basic functions, then the more advanced functions such as adding wiki’s, podcast  and learning objects. These added functions will enhance the learning experience of the students in the class.

Student Expectations

Clear and unambiguous guidelines of what is expected of students and what students should expect form the instructor should be established at the beginning of a course. (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010) That way student know exactly what to expect and there are no surprises. The learning environment that has a high success rate is one that students are clear about the policy and procedures for the course. Sheridan & Kelly (2010) remind us that indicators that were most important to student dealt with making course requirements clear and being responsive students’ needs. The instructor should be available in the beginning of the course to answer student questions and to provide clarity to students about the expectations of the course. I also believe that the instructor should model the types of behavior and work that they want students to submit. The instructor should also reach out to those students who they feel are not participating or seem reluctant to do work.

 A Great Start 

At the beginning of any course it important for students to get started on the right track because it is essential to the success of the course. The instructor should take this time to establish a social, teaching, and cognitive presence in the course. In this instance the beginning dictates the remainder of the course. (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010) remind us that regular and timely interaction of faculty with students is one of the key quality indicators of online courses. In getting cognitive presence we are also remind that cognitively posting is another way to get to know what your students goals are for the course. This posting helps to get to know your students' minds. (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). The teaching presence is apparent in the overall delivery of the online course. The activities, assessments, resources, speak to the planning of the course. The instructors participation, monitoring of student discussion, and questioning students also speak to the teachers presence.

Boettcher, J. A., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Laureate Education, Inc. (n.d.). [Video]. “Launching the Online Learning Experience”. Retrieved from

Sheridan, K. & Kelly, M.A. (2010). The indicators of instructor presence that are important to students in online courses. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6(4).

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