The aesthetics of an online course
There are so many things to write about in regard to the fantastic world of online learning that it was hard to choose what should be my first content post. However, as the lifeguard at Camp Dora Golding told me as he pushed me into the deep end at age seven, sometimes you just need to jump in. So, while I would like to share some more general thoughts, I am writing about an aspect of online learning that I feel is very important, but often overlooked; Aesthetics.
When you walk into a typical classroom you can tell a lot about the teacher and how you are going to learn by the way the classroom looks. Are the walls empty or filled with relevant and exciting educational stimulants? When materials are handed out are they copies of the teachers scribbles or organized for the reader and filled with exciting graphics? Is the media used current or are you watching the teachers favorite silent movies? All these aspects of a classroom add value to the learning of the students and it is no different in the online classroom.
Visual content and applying aesthetic standards to the development of an online course will improve not only the visual appearance of the course but can also improve how students react to and interact with those courses.
As for many who are jumping into online course design and development, many are focused, and rightfully so for the first step, about getting the course up there. However, once the course is up there and possibly begun, you can't neglect the course environment.
There is a a lot to discuss about structuring an online course and the types of activities necessary to create an exciting online course. Teaching online is not the same as teaching in a classroom. However, just like in the classroom, aesthetics matter. So, once you have jumped into the deep end, take some time to learn about what your Learning Management System (LMS) is capable of. Learn how to upload graphics and embed video. Learn how to style and format the text. Learn how you can customize possible themes the LMS come with.
While there are many elements that make an online course successful, lets not forget first impressions and ongoing stimulation that is provided by an aesthetically pleasing learning environment.
Here is a good article on the topic if you would like to learn more: