More and more courseware is being created at the college level with the number of students taking online classes soaring. Data collected in 2015 showed that more than six million students took at least one online class that year. That is about 30 percent of all higher education enrollments according to Digital Learning Compass. In 2002, online enrollments were a little less than 10 percent, so the growth has been quite amazing and all signs point to even more students taking their courses entirely online in the future.
In 2002: >10% Online Course Enrollment
In 2015: 30% Online Course Enrollment
With the number of students choosing to take online courses, it is important to make the courseware as valuable and entertaining as learning in the classroom if not more so. Courseware is educational material combined with technology that either is a type of kit for educators or independent lessons for students online.
Being able to grab the learner’s attention through the courseware is an art in itself. It has to be more than just an online textbook and forums. One of the best ways to improve courseware across the board for any college subject area would be to include pictures, gifs, audios, and videos in the material. Since most people use social media, college students are definitely familiar with the concept of introducing these items to the material in an effort to make things more interesting and substantial.
How much better would it be to listen to the audio of a lecture as you are driving or watching a video of it rather than to only read the educational text online? It adds more to the experience instead of simply being tied down to a computer and reading the text in the courseware. In addition, there is a plethora of video courses online that can be linked to college subjects through the courseware. It is like having a group of instructors instead of just one.
You can even watch other University lectures in your courseware. This video is from MIT OpenCourseWare - Designing a Course: Developing Learning Outcomes.
Something as easy as adding corresponding pictures to the courseware can really transform the material from being average to above average. There are copyright free images available through a simple search online, creative commons, and many other websites offering free photos. Plus, a well-placed gif can make all the difference in the world to learning a concept. Take a look at these amazing gifs that demonstrate how easy they would be to incorporate into the material.
Not only should the prepared courseware contain media, but the students’ responses should include media as well. There are numerous free apps out there that college students can use when submitting assignments rather than just a text document. Presentation apps alone can let the user do some incredible things, so as an educator, I would rather look at a presentation with corresponding text, pictures, audio, and video than reading a slightly plagiarized paper.
True courseware creation is only about ten years old, so we are merely at the beginning stages of this revolutionary step into totally online courses in college education. Instead of creating the online class with the basic question and answer forum and syllabus, much more can be done through innovative courseware construction. More and more it appears that the future of all college education is through courseware.
You can learn more about the best practices of eLearning and courseware production as well as the technology to create it. In MyEcontentFactory, you can build courses, add multimedia, and even reuse content with our meta-tagging capabilities. Contact us with questions or comments about bring your teaching materials online.