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Friday, December 2, 2016

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Teaching Online Courses – 60 Great Resources

I received an inquiry about resources that would help instructors who are about to move into teaching online courses.  It made me immediately think back to my first experience with an online session.
It was the first ever public session for Placeware - a virtual meeting software company that was much later acquired by Microsoft and became Microsoft Live Meeting.  Because it was their first ever public session and my first ever online session neither of us knew what we were doing.  The topic was roughly (surprise) New Technology for eLearning.  They had 100 people participating.  And because it was public they made sure that everyone was muted including the moderator.
So we start the session and I’m sitting alone in front of my computer at Loyola Marymount (this must be before 2000).  I was holding my handset to my ear (no headset in my office).  And I had prepared the way I always did at that point for live, in-person audiences.  Remember I taught class several times a week to live audiences, and this was a topic that I presented all the time at professional conferences.  No problem, right?
I was not at all prepared for what I experienced.  About five minutes into the presentation, with me alone in my office, and everyone muted (literally there is zero sound coming back through) and no prepared stopping points for interaction.  Well any good presenter who faces an audience that is completely quiet, sitting still knows they are dying.  And I felt like I was completely dying.  There was zero feedback.  I felt my energy level get used up completely.  I was doing everything I could to make it more interesting, but no matter how much passion I put into the phone – no reaction.  Panic set in roughly 7 minutes into the presentation!
After that experience, I vowed to try to stink up virtual presentations less in the future.  And every once in a while, I realize that I’m not doing a good job.  It definitely takes additional thinking/preparation to be good online. And that’s only a single session.  If you are going to teach a course online or run an online learning event or an online conference, then there’s even more to being successful at that.
So, what I thought I would do is go back and see what resources I could find some good resources that would help me and could be used by instructors be better prepared to teach online.  What a difference a decade makes – now there’s almost TOO much information.
As always I do this by looking through eLearning Learning and related sites like Communities and Networks Connection.   I looked at Virtual ClassroomDistance LearningILTTeaching Distance Learning.  I also did some quick searches for various kinds of things and added them into eLearning Learning (via delicious).  So together, I’ve collected a bunch of resources pretty quickly.  That said, there’s so much already out there on this – I’m at this point not quite sure what the real question was/is.  Certainly a lot of this is already findable.  I hope this is useful.  But I think the problem at this point might be something else.  Still here are 60 great resources.

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