Set 2- How will you plan your online course?

The purpose of this practiceis to decide how you will plan your online course.


Planning your online course improves online teaching.

Guiding Principle

If you are clear about how you will plan your online course you will improve how you teach online.


 Plan your online course.

The instructional design of a course is the same whether it is online or in a classroom. You align (connect) content, activities and assessments to outcomes.

However, there is an fundamental difference between teaching in a classroom and teaching online. Teaching online requires you to have various technology tool skills. This is important. You need to be able to figure out how to use new and different technology tools to interact, connect and learn.

Mindful planning is your tool to creating learning practices that are effective, engaging and aligned to your learning outcomes.

Two Mindsets Chart

How will you plan your online course?

The meaning of sadhana.

Sadhana does not mean any specific kind of activity. Sadhana means you are using everything as a tool to open to the flow of natural experience.

Natural experience opens your connection to understanding and wisdom as it naturally comes and goes in the give and take of the river of life.

Sadhguru & T.Y. Pang

The meaning of true education.

True education should wake up the Innate Humanity inside of you. When you reach a higher level of practice and understanding, you learn to harmonize yourself inside, then you become able to harmonize with other people, and with outside situations.

T.Y. Pang

The Promise

It is up to you to make the time for practice; the more you practice the more you will learn.

Time is a created thing. To say I don’t have time,’ is like saying, I don’t want to.

― Lao Tzu

Practice In Order
I. Absorb

Let’s Begin
First, please complete the sadhana practice. Second, click on each question and review each answer. Third, take a break!

1. Complete the Elements of Thought sadhana practice.

Sadhana does not mean any specific kind of activity, sadhana means you are using everything as a tool to open to the flow of natural learning.

Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or downright prejudiced. If we want to think well, we must understand at least the rudiments of thought, the most basic structures out of which all thinking is made. We must learn how to take thinking apart.

Foundation for Critical Thinking

The purpose of this sadhana is to help you open to the flow of natural experience and reasonable thinking.

1. Relax for 5 minutes.

Quietly sit straight and upright for 5 minutes, head and spine straight, concentrating only on your breath. Sit in an erect position, shoulders relaxed, palms flat on thighs. Center your focus on your midsection. Breath in and out deeply through your nose.

Pay attention to your spine. Your spine is where you will feel the flow of energy. Notice which parts of the spine feel warm and where there are no feelings or numbness. This information will indicate where your energy is flowing and where it is not. Your energy originates in the spine and flows out through the body.

straight and upright
  • Recognize your thoughts.
  • Allow your thoughts to be just as they are.
  • Investigate your thoughts with kindness.
  • Natural awareness will come from not identifying with your thoughts.

When thoughts come up, let them go gently. Don’t beat yourself up. That just brings more thought. Gently let them go. Remember to keep your head and spine straight.

2. Watch the short video below.
Critical Thinking for Children – Three Kinds of Thinkers
3. Stating the question.

Now tap into your awareness. Reasoning is an attempt to figure something out, to settle some question, to solve some problem.

  • State the question at issue clearly and precisely.
  • Express the question in several ways to clarify its meaning.
  • Break the question into sub-questions.
  • Distinguish questions that have definitive answers from those that are a matter of opinion or that require multiple viewpoints.

Complete the following understanding of question:

  • I understand “question” to mean…
  • In other words, [elaborate in a few sentences]…
  • An example of someone having purpose would be…

5. Keep reminding yourself why you do sadhana.

Otherwise, your thoughts, your emotions, your physicality will get entangled with your runaway mind.

2. What are the key points to think about when I plan my online course?
3. What is alignment?

Alignment means that all aspects of your online course – from learning outcomes, content, resources, activities and assessable projects – are all directly related to each other, and support a system of learning that helps learners improve.

4. How do I plan a structure for an online course?

When you move a face-to-face course the structure of the weekly content will often be defined by the topics and outcomes for your course.The main challenge will be creating authentic activities and assessments.

Structure the course as units/modules that follow the topics and outcomes. Also structure by weeks to create a natural, clear timetable.

5. How do I chunk content?

Since we have a limited storage in our short-term memory, chunking content is very important planning online learning. Content chunking means breaking up content into shorter, bite-size pieces of manageable information that are easier to remember.

Also learning online is often done during shorter periods of time. Plan to create units/modules for greater flexibility and manageable ‘chunks’ to digest. Use authentic content, activities and assessments. Think through the content, activities and assessments to decide how best to present them online.

6. What technology should I plan to use?
7. How do I plan a natural critical learning environment?

According to Ken Bain, “natural” means answering questions and completing tasks that naturally matter most to learners interests. Learners make decisions, defend their choices, receive feedback, and try again when their answers are incomplete.“Critical” means thinking critically. Students learn to reason from evidence, examine the quality of their reasoning, make improvements, and ask probing and insightful questions. There are five essential elements that make up a natural critical learning environment.

  • A natural critical learning environment begins with an intriguing question or problem.
    • Successful questions can be highly provocative.
    • Ask questions.
    • Don’t give students answers.
  • Students are provided guidance to understand the significance of the question.
    • Present intellectual problems.
    • Integrate authentic activities with the course subjects.
    • Connect subject issues with learner interests.
  • Students are engaged in some critical thinking activities where they are encouraged to clarify, elaborate, question, compare, apply, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize.
  • Students develop their own points of view and support them with evidence.
  • Students seek improvement by asking questions like; “What’s the next question?” or “What can we ask now?”
8. How do I plan to develop fair minded thinkers?

By practicing fair mindedness in your thinking. To think critically requires that we develop fair mindedness at the same time that we learn basic critical thinking skills and, thus, begin to. If we do:

  • We avoid using our skills to gain advantage over others.
  • We treat all thinking by the same high standards.
  • We expect good reasoning from those who support us as well as those who oppose us.
  • We subject our own reasoning to the same criteria.
  • We apply to reasoning to which we are unsympathetic.
  • We question our own purposes, evidence, conclusions, implications, and point of view with the same vigor. We question those of others. 

How can you develop fairminded learners to see the actual strengths and weaknesses of any reasoning they assess.? How can you and your learners become this kind of thinker?

Simple explanation of critical thinking
9. How do I plan to embrace learner differences?

We now know quite a lot about which kinds of student best learn online, and which find it difficult or a struggle. Here are some broad guidelines:

  • Lifelong learners wanting further qualifications or upgrading.
    • These are often working with families and really appreciate the flexibility of studying fully online. They often already have higher education qualifications such as a first degree, and therefore have learned how to study successfully.
  • Independent learners.
    • Online learning, particularly fully online, requires good self-discipline and good generic study skills. Independent learners can be found at any age, but it is a teachable skill, and we will discuss later in this post how to use online learning to move students from being dependent learners to independent learners.
  • Full-time students needing flexibility.
    • A surprisingly large proportion of online learners are full-time, campus based students.
  • Remote and isolated students.
    •  It is the flexibility rather than the distance that matters to these learners, and really remote and isolated students may not have good study skills or broadband access.
10. How do I plan to practice and improve using technology?

Practice using technology, and communication tools to improve. It is often assumed that students are familiar with using technology in their learning. However, many students have minimal experience using technology to learn. It is important to provide self training for your students and for you to practice using these technologies. As a teacher, it is important for you to:

  • Explain why you have introduced an online activity: At the beginning of the semester describe the purpose of the technology, your reasons for selecting it, how it will benefit their learning, and what the expected learning outcomes are from using it.
  • Provide briefing sessions and supporting material: Don’t assume that students are familiar with the technology. Provide training sessions at the start for students and any additional teachers, as well as supporting documentation that they can refer to when they need help.
  • Support students throughout the semester: Answer any technical questions promptly, introduce a Q&A thread online, provide a list of FAQ, and respond to any queries promptly to ensure that the technology does not hinder or frustrate the students’ learning.
  • Ask students to help one another: Where appropriate, allow students to respond to one another’s questions, and to share their technical expertise with the class. This can greatly cut down on the time a student has to wait to get help from their teacher

Go for a walk

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