OSCQR – Standard #11

OSCQR – Standard #11

Requisite skills for using technology tools (websites, software, and hardware) are clearly stated and supported with resources.

Review These Explanations

Any hardware, software, or technology applications that are required for successful participation in the course need to be introduced along with resources that support a full range of learner mastery. This information needs to be communicated out to learners early on, and reinforced throughout the term.

Hara and Kling (1999) cite that technology problems and ambiguous instructions frustrate online learners. Access issues need to be mitigated early on in order for learners to succeed.

Skill levels need to be established and explained so that learners know what level of expertise is required in order to fully participate in the course. These explanations should include beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels with full descriptions of which features are mastered to which extent at each level. This helps guide learners to appropriate resources to build their knowledge and skill levels. (Leach & Walker, 2001).

If learners are required to use third party content (publisher websites, online labs, assignment utilities, web-based subscriptions), links to associated resources, and explanations on how to access this content need to be included.

References:

Hara, N., & Kling, R. (1999). Students’ frustrations with a web-based distance education course. First Monday, 4(12), 5.

Leach, K., & Walker, S. (2001). Internet-based distance education: Barriers, models, and new research.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

If learners are required to access third-party or web-based technology services and applications, include the following information in the course information documents, and along with any activities or assignments that require using this technology:

  • An overview of the tools available on the site, and which specific features will be used in the course.
  • Information on any fees that may be incurred, or subscriptions that need to be purchased.
  • Links to documentation, video tutorials, and quick reference guides.
  • A screencast video on how to access the tools and find online help, and add it to the course along with links to the places explored in the screencast video.
  • Detailed login instructions, including what to do if learners are unable to login or need to reset their passwords in the web-based tool.
  • A list of basic skills that learners need to navigate and operate in this platform.
  • How the technology will be used in the course, along with why the specific technology was chosen.
  • Quick links on the course home page to the IT Helpdesk.

If learners are required to use specific hardware include the following information in the course information documents, and along with any activities or assignments that require using this technology:

  • Specifications on exactly what hardware is needed, including brand, model and average pricing.
  • Details on when learners will need to use the hardware.
  • Links to documentation, video tutorials, and quick reference guides.
  • What the ramifications will be if learners are not able to acquire or successfully use the hardware.
  • Details on compatible and/or substitute hardware.
  • A list of basic skills that learners need to operate the hardware.
  • How the technology will be used in the course, along with why the specific technology was chosen.
  • Quick links on the course home page to the IT Helpdesk.

Also consider setting up a discussion forum dedicated to troubleshooting software and hardware technology issues, where learners can help each other.

Explore Related Resources

This Guide to Teaching Online Courses is the product of collaboration among a number of organizations committed to ensuring the quality of online instruction to secondary students in the United States.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

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