Your written course content and assessments are critical parts of an online course. But, what else can you provide students to broaden their horizons, challenge their perspectives, or simply offer them more information?
Readings (a term which covers an extensive variety of primary and secondary sources) are fundamental to sharing information in any class, whether it’s taught face-to-face or online. So, it’s highly likely that during your course development, you’ll need to identify some specific texts to include.
When choosing course readings, think about what’s most relevant to your course content. There are lots of engaging, unique materials you could incorporate into your course to give students new perspectives on a topic. Think outside the textbook.
Here are some examples:
- Peer-reviewed journals
- Fiction books
- Non-fiction books
- Historical documents
- Blog posts
- Video transcripts
Think of yourself as a curator. You don’t have to write out everything in your course from scratch. Instead, you bring together and sequence how students will encounter readings, multimedia, and activities. Your writing for the online course should draw out connections between the materials, raise key questions, and help students build their ideas. See the next topic for advice on your own writing for an online course.
After you’ve identified readings for your online course, consider their accessibility for students. An online student may be geographically distant, or have a schedule that’s not compatible with visiting the on-campus library. A great option is to reserve readings online. At UNCG, instructors can place readings on e-reserve through UNCG’s Jackson Library for students to access 24/7.
The UNCG library also has extensive resources regarding fair use and copyright restrictions for various readings and other materials you may want to include in your course. Check out the Distance Education site for guidelines, but always check with your institution directly for their most updated policies.