The course schedule serves two purposes. For you, it is a planning tool where you decide what activities/readings/discussions go where in your course. For your students, it is a guide to the organization and flow of the course. The schedule will help prospective and enrolled students get a sense of the pace of the course and what will be required of them. Faculty members generally use either a daily schedule or a weekly schedule, depending on how much structure they want to provide students and the number of assignments due. Daily schedules can be tricky to manage because you cannot see what students are completing when. So, typically, use daily schedules only for younger undergraduate students who need more help managing their time online.
In either format, there are four keys to a successful calendar:
- Make regular activities like posts to discussion and submitting assignments as predictable as possible. Schedule these elements on the same times and days of the week whenever possible.
- Sequence content and activities clearly by listing them in the order in which you want students to engage with them. For instance, if you want two articles read before a discussion posting, list the items in that order on your calendar. For instance...
- Article 1
- Article 2
Post to: Discussion Board #1
- Establish a time zone for your course. Most GW courses are set for Eastern Standard Time or Eastern Daylight Time and students who are outside of the time zone are required to meet those Eastern Time zone parameters. Make it clear that students located outside of the Eastern Time zone are responsible for making the necessary adjustments on their end to meet these deadlines.
- Use all seven days of the week. Online courses free students to study when they wish, so you can make assignments due on Sunday. Students then have the freedom to complete their work any time before that.
The following are examples of daily and weekly schedules. Note that they reference the common time zone, in this case Eastern Standard Time.
(Used for most types of university courses because of the flexibility)
|Post to: Introduce
Yourself by 11pm EST
|Post: Response #1 to Discussion Week 1 by 11pm||Complete: Readings; Set 1 Lectures
Post: Response #2 to Discussion Week 1 by 11pm
Submit: Assignment 1 by 11pm
|Read: GW Today
Post: Response #1 to Discussion Week 2 by 11pm
|Submit by 9am: Assignments1a, 1b, 1c||Complete: Lectures; Ethics Discussion
Post: Response #2 to Discussion Week 2 by 11pm
Submit: Assignment 2 by 11pm
(Used primarily with younger undergraduates who need more scheduling structure)
all times are for EST
|Read: Hays Sect. 1-3;
View: Lecture 1
Post to: Self-introductions discussion by 11pm EST
|Read: Cherry & Carnay;
View: Truman Doctrine
Post: Response #1 to Discussion Week 1 by 11pm
|Read: Sue & Sue Ch. 1, 2, & 12
Multicultural Assessment Project outline by 11pm
Wiki: Initial comments
Response #2 to Discussion Week 1
Begin:Readings for Week 2