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Putting Your Classroom Online

I am working with several teachers who are in the process of putting their course materials online. The question that keeps coming up is how much should I write and what will students actually read? One teacher has opted not to use any introductory text or conclusions. Sometimes, things don’t even have directions. On the other end of the spectrum, one teacher has written paragraphs and paragraphs. She has decided to make the introductions long so that the instructions and introductions are in and of themselves reading lessons.

We have tested both options with students and neither seem perfect. Like everything in life (and teaching), it takes a perfect balance. So if you are putting your courses online, my recommendation is to make it concise. If it is too long, students just won’t read it. If it is too short, students won’t know what to do.  It seems like simple advice, but it might take some experimenting with your students to find the right amount of text for your class website.

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