Step 9: Final Review, then Launch
Before launching an online or blended course, instructors (and, where applicable, chairs or program review committees) are encouraged to use the following checklist to help ensure all Lehigh courses are of high quality and are using approaches that promote learning in an online environment.
Checklist for Reviewing Online or Blended Courses
Communications and Connections
At or near the top of Course Site, all courses should have a single “Start Here” that links to a Course Site page that
__Welcomes students to the course with a personal, friendly, welcoming video introduction by the instructor.
__Explains the purpose of the course and states course learning objectives.
__Introduces students to the structure of the course, explaining where in Course Site students can find course materials and various online activities.
__Provides an overview of major course projects and assessments, with due dates.
__Provides links to Lehigh’s student services and other relevant campus resources. [more]
__Informs students which technologies they will need and how to access them, making clear which are university-provided and which, if any, students are expected to purchase.
__Informs students how to ask for technical support [point them to lehigh.edu/help]
__Describes the instructor’s approach to promoting academic integrity throughout the course.
__States what actions the instructor will take if they suspect a Code of Conduct violation.
__States, or links to, key course policies (including a grading policy and attendance policy).
__States, or links to, key university statements and policies including Lehigh’s “Principles of Our Equitable Community,” “Accommodations for Students with Disabilities,” and “Policy on Harassment and Non-Discrimination.” [link to LU Syllabus Template]
__ Informs students how they should ask questions about course logistics [we recommend you set up an 'Course Logistics' forum in Course Site for this purpose].
__Provides a forum or other way for students to introduce themselves to the class [we recommend you set up an 'Welcome and Introductions' forum in Course Site for this purpose, and have students respond to two or three classmates' introductions, making sure everyone receives one response before anyone receives two, etc].
__Invites students to complete a ‘learner readiness’ survey as a way to help the instructor learn about the students’ background in the subject, interests, special circumstances, timezone, etc.
__Includes a course policies quiz or other method for students to affirm their understanding of the key information presented in this section.
__Provides clear instructions on what students should do next.
Course Learning Objectives
__ are stated clearly and presented in a way that invites students to envision the knowledge and skills they will gain as a result of taking this course. [more]
__ are appropriate to the topic and level of the course.
__ are observable and measurable.
Course Content and Instructional Materials
__ are up-to-date and relevant to the course topic, course level, and course objectives.
__ are presented using a consistent, well organized mode of delivery, with items labelled and organized in a way that makes it easy for students to know where the material is and when they are to access it. [more] __ follow Universal Design for Learning standards to meet the needs of diverse learners. [more]
__ are well designed, with a clear introduction and outline; effective examples and illustrations; clear explanations of difficult concepts, etc. [more] __ are kept to a reasonable length, ideally no more than 20 minutes long. [more] __ are part of a well organized flow of learning so the student knows what to do after engaging with the course content and instructional materials [more]
__ are offered using a variety of approaches to engage learners and reduce monotony.
Learning Activities and Interactivity
After engaging with course content and instructional material, students
__ are given the opportunity to shift from a passive to an active learning mode (e.g., by applying their knowledge, solving problems, working on projects, getting feedback on their comprehension from peers or instructors or using automated systems, testing their understanding in low-stakes assessments, etc.); [more] [more]
__ are told what successful engagement looks like and are given feedback early in the course if their work is not meeting expectations;
__ are informed how activities will help them deepen their knowledge and build skills in ways that are relevant to course assessment and their attainment of course learning outcomes;
__ are given tools and opportunities to interact socially and intellectually with peers; [more]
__ are told which activities will receive timely feedback from the instructor and which are peer-to-peer or individual activities that will not involve instructor feedback;
__ are given appropriate opportunities for synchronous interaction with the instructor; [more]
__ are told which activities are required and which are optional.
__ are aligned with learning objectives, course content, and learning activities;
__ are appropriate to the level of the course;
__ are scaffolded, i.e., build on one another in ways that promotes sequential development
__ offer students opportunities for formative assessment prior to summative assessment;
__ promote academic integrity and meet university expectations regarding assurance of learning. [more]
__ a structure is in place to give students frequent, timely, forward-focused feedback.
__ students are invited early in the semester to provide feedback to the instructor about what is working well in the course and to offer suggestions for improvements.
Note: This step begins "Phase 4" of the University's "Preparing for Fall 2020" faculty support and course development plan.
Last of the First Steps: After you have prepared your course and finalized your pre-launch review, make your Course Site is available (sites are not available by default), then send an Announcement telling students the site is ready and giving them instructions on what they are supposed to do next