Online teaching is a great way to get students comfortable with the Learning Management System (LMS) setup.
Although you might communicate this information in different ways (such as an email lecture, screencast or FAQ), there are key points that can help your students get up to speed faster. Joel English, Instructor’s Manual to Connected In: Success as an Online Learner recommends that your students learn the following information about your course and the LMS.
Name of the LMS, and a brief description of why your institution chose this environment.
The LMS features, tools and learning resources
The course structure within a course. This includes where the professor information is located, where announcements are posted and where the syllabus is listed. It also shows how the course is organized by week, unit, etc.
A list of other participants can be found here.
Gradebook, messaging, as well as other important features of the course. (English, 13)
Online Courses: Student Responsibilities
Students have to be on task and keep their course. Ryan Watkins, Michael Corry, and E-Learning Companion: The Student’s Guide To Online Success, 4th edition, stress that students must plan for success in order to make the most of their online courses. These details will help students prepare for the start of term.
Contact information for instructors (e.g. Email, phone number
Hours of operation for Instructors (which could include hours that you are available to talk by telephone and those times that you are available to chat online)
All assignments (tests and papers, papers, activities, exercises or homework problems) must be submitted by the due date.
How to submit assignments
Participation and attendance policies
Any passwords, logins or URLs required to access course materials
Due dates and processes for all group or team assignments
Required course materials (textbooks/eBooks online resources, solutions manuals or lab manuals, etc.
Any special software required for the course
How to contact technical support
How and where to access instructor feedback (Watkins & Corry, 58-59).
The more information students have up front, the shorter you’ll need to spend discussing these details during class sessions and the lower likelihood that they will fall behind in their coursework.
Refer to
English, Joel A. Online Instructor’s Guide to accompany Plugged in: Succeeding As an Online Learner. 2014. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.