How Do I Teach a Compressed Online Course?

An overwhelming sense of fear can overcome us when we are suddenly asked to teach not only an online course but a compressed one on top of that. By compressed, I mean teaching in eight weeks (or sometimes even less!) a course that is usually taught in a 15- to- 16-week semester. How in the world can I actually teach a course in such a short period of time? Having taught online for more than a dozen years, I have often had to make this exact scenario work. I have been asked to teach a 16-week course in eight weeks, six weeks, and even a few times in four weeks. I will leave it up to the educational researchers to determine whether or not a compressed time frame yields the same efficacy as a traditional 16-week course, but I have discovered some keys I believe can make these shorter courses more effective.

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An overwhelming sense of fear can overcome us when we are suddenly asked to teach not only an online course but a compressed one on top of that. By compressed, I mean teaching in eight weeks (or sometimes even less!) a course that is usually taught in a 15- to- 16-week semester. How in the world can I actually teach a course in such a short period of time? Having taught online for more than a dozen years, I have often had to make this exact scenario work. I have been asked to teach a 16-week course in eight weeks, six weeks, and even a few times in four weeks. I will leave it up to the educational researchers to determine whether or not a compressed time frame yields the same efficacy as a traditional 16-week course, but I have discovered some keys I believe can make these shorter courses more effective. Steve Dwinnells is associate director of the e-Campus Instructional Development Center at Eastern Kentucky University.