|Image courtesy of https://www.communitycarenc.org|
USD 495 does provide teachers with standard web pages to help them get started on creating their online class environment. The standard pages provided include:
- Welcome Page - provides a place for contact information, a photo and quick links
- Homework Page - a place to upload pdf files of class assignments
- Blog Page - a place where you can create regular posts about what is going on in the classroom
- Calendar - this is the district calendar and can't be added to
- Handouts - another page for uploading pdf files (class assignments, forms, permission slips, etc.)
- Links - a page for links to websites that your students need for class or sites to help enhance their learning in your content area(s)
- Podcasts - a page to upload podcasts created by yourself or your students
- How long have you been teaching?
- What grades and/or subjects have you taught?
- What is your style of teaching? As a student, am I going to take lots of notes in your class? Do students use technology to create in your classroom?
- What are your pet peeves?
- What excites you about teaching and working with students?
|Image from ToniVC on Flickr|
- Class slideshows from lectures
- Audio of your class lectures
- Handouts or Notes - anything you might handout to the students that they could lose
- Videos related to a class assignment or lecture
- Project Details- project expectations, planning sheets, rubric, etc.
- Daily write up on what was covered in class each day
One last page that I would include is a student project page. This is a great place to showcase the projects completed by students. Parents can view completed projects and share them with family and friends. Most web 2.0 technology projects provide an embed code for adding to web pages. If the project was a written paper, you might upload it to a site like SlideShare or Google Drive. These sites allow you to embed a document onto a web page (and both are free). If students completed a drawing or art project, take pictures of the finished products and showcase them in a table or photo gallery. Showing off student work in the classroom and school hallways is still good, but if you really want to showcase their products, why not show them to the world. Studies show that the quality of student projects improve when they are doing it for a real purpose and for a larger audience. You could take this a step further and take pictures or video as the students are working on their projects. Maybe record a student explaining the project - the purpose, how it is being created, what they've learned through the creation process, etc.
Other Elements to Consider
One element to consider for your online class environment are resources students and parents can use outside of school to help support and reinforce their learning. You could keep this as simple as providing a link page with links to websites that will help the students learn and practice the needed concepts for your class. You might have a combination page of web links and pdf files which provide extra practice of concepts through games or activities.
Add a blog page. You could use a blog page for that daily write up on what occurred in class each day. One teacher I know has her students write an exit card each week highlighting something new they learned in class. Then she selects three students to showcase for the week. Another teacher I work with uses her blog to post thought-provoking questions that the students respond to each week. This has increased the participation level of the students in her class because some students express themselves better in writing than speaking. This approach is also less threatening for some students than speaking in front of the class. Maybe you want to use your blog to review books or articles you have read that might be of interest to your students and the content being covered in class. The USD 495 web site does have a blog page, but some have preferred using Blogger, which is free with your school email account.
|Image from brody4 on Flickr|
Your online class environment should reflect you and your class. Make it inviting, friendly and useful. Here are some helpful tips to remember when creating your web pages:
- Make things easy to find
- 3 click rule - don't make anything more than 3 clicks away from your main page
- Use caution with color - some colors don't complement each other and make reading difficult
- Images and animation - Watch your image size and your amount of animation. Too big and too much can slow down how quickly your pages will load and most people only give a page about 5 seconds to load.
- Read your text out loud - read over your text out loud to check for errors