From E-Learning Faculty Modules


Module Summary

Whether posting to a message board, sharing in a chat on Wimba, or collaborating with their peers in an online group, let your students know what your expectations are.

Set deadlines and outline how they will be assessed for their contributions.

Whenever possible, model for your students how you would like them to communicate.

Also, establish a netiquette policy for your course. Posting these rules of conduct helps protect both you and your students, and aids in creating a safe environment for learning.

Faculty Tip: Linda Yarrow– Instructor – Human Nutrition


Learners will...

  • Understand that students need be made, clearly and concisely, aware of your expectations.
  • Be able to foster a positive learning environment.

Main Concepts

Expectations drive student outcomes. Clearly stating course goals and objectives is the first step towards letting students know what they can anticipate from your course. Communicating your expectations consistently throughout your course is essential to student success.

Whenever possible, include outlines, schedules, descriptions, instructions, and deadlines for all of the assignments and activities in your course. Remember, students are not in the position to ask questions after a face-to-face lecture. Clarify what students need to do every step of the way through your course, or you will be doing just that in an ad hoc manner throughout the semester.

How to

  • Student Learning Outcomes

These are best placed initially in your syllabus, and later throughout your course where relevant. For additional information about student learning outcomes, consult Goals and Objectives.

  • Netiquette

Netiquette is the online behavior you expect from your learners in the course towards others and their ideas. By posting these rules, you can prevent flaming (personal attack of a student) situations in your course when students communicate with each other on the message board, in a Wimba session, or via email.

  • Modeling

In communication with students, whether on the message board, using Wimba, or in email, model for students your expectations in the way you respond to them. You set the tone for your course. Students will typically respond in kind.

  • Posting a schedule

Using the Calendar feature in K-State Online, or even providing an outline with due dates and deadlines, goes a long way to letting students know when to turn things in or take exams and quizzes.

  • Announcements and email reminders

The Announcement feature in K-State Online is an easy way to keep your students informed the moment they logon to your homepage. Even so, many instructors reinforce their reminders and updates with email directly to students.

  • Create a weekly plan

Nothing keeps students on track like having their week mapped out for them. If you prominently post a weekly plan or schedule, including instructions, due dates, and even grading expectations, students will have little recourse for not following along.

Possible Pitfalls

  • Workload.
    Online courses can be difficult for students, especially if little or no attention has been paid to the about of effort that goes into each activity. Online courses are to be equivalent to their face-to-face counterparts. It pays off to estimate how much time-on-task students are spending with all the various components of your course.
  • Online students.
    Many online students are nontraditional students. This implies that they are frequently older and often working fulltime jobs in addition to their studies. Consequently, these students are hard working and very focused. Be prepared for this. Many nontraditional students are concrete in there expectations and have little tolerance for busy work.
  • Humor.
    The online environment makes interpreting humor unpredictable at best. Not everyone, or every culture, expresses humor the same way. Especially, be leery of sarcasm, as it often appears mean or cruel online.
  • Multiculturalism.
    Lots of people take courses online. They come from all walks of life from all over the world. Even time zones can easily become and issue in an online course. Be sensitive to your students’ needs.