As an online instructor, there is plenty to do each semester to get ready for the semester. First, all the online courses need to be updated and copied over to a new course shell. This year has an added task of moving the content over from an old LMS to a new one. Many GCC faculty, as well as faculty from 8 other colleges in the district will be moving courses over to the new LMS, Canvas, in the fall. Others will use the next year to make the change with everyone having moved by the start of Fall 2013. This is a big step for many, including myself, as Canvas is very different from Blackboard.
So for several weeks now, I’ve been updating online content and moving it over to the new system. There’s a lot of tedious cutting and pasting involved, but I’m also using this time to update assignments and lessons. After each semester I ask students to give feedback on the course and to offer suggestions for improvement. Now is the time to incorporate some of those suggestions, so I’ll be using this time to do that. I’m checking links and videos to make sure they are all still active, and I’m incorporating more of the online textbook materials into the course. Good technology is always changing, so I need to make sure I’m using the best available and not just doing the same thing each semester without thought.
With new technology and change I also have to keep the end user in mind, and that would be my students. As part of my preparations for the start of the semester, I have to find and create support materials for them. Learning the course content can be challenging enough, so I want to make learning the technology needed to complete the class as easy to learn and use as possible. This involves creating screencasts to show students how to use the LMS or the textbook supplemental materials or even how to do an assignment.
To keep up with all there is to do, I create a To-Do list to help keep me on track. Here is a modified version of my To-Do list created in Gmail Tasks.
Keeping a To-Do list is a great way to keep up with all the things you need to do to get ready for school. And it’s such a great feeling once you’ve completed the list and you know that you are ready for the start of a great semester.