Setting up an Online Learning Experience

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Setting up an Online Learning Experience

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What is the significance of knowing the technology available to you?

Instructors in the online environment have to get the familiar with the technology that is going to be used during the online course because before the launching of the course they have to configure the learning environment with the content and the tools that learners will be using. Digital technology tools help learners achieve the learning goals in the online environment (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010) because they facilitate communication among students and with the instructor, and because they also allow instructors to include resources in different formats such as multimedia, games, and simulations; therefore the importance for instructors and learners to get familiar with the technology.

Why is it essential to communicate clear expectations to learners?

Because as mentioned by Boettcher and Conrad (2010), “clear and unambiguous guidelines about what is expected of learners and what they can expect from an instructor make a significant contribution to ensuring understanding and satisfaction” (p.83). Additionally, because of the distance and different time zones characteristic in the online environment, it is important that learners know clearly how to communicate with the instructors, understand the course syllabus, the schedule of assignments, and procedures in case technology fails.

What additional considerations should the instructor take into account when setting up an online learning experience?

  • Create an initial to introduce yourself but try to avoid posting your entire CV because only showing academic information create distance with the students (Laureate Producer, 2010). Instead add some personal information to facilitate the connection with the students.
  • Add in the initial post a video, a voice message, or images to show openness and encourage students to share some personal information too. This is going to establish stronger connections among the learning community and thus will be more likely to participate and stay motivated.
  • Encourage learners to ask questions, even the ones that might seem obvious. Post your contact details so learners know how to reach you.
  • Create an icebreaker activity at the beginning to encourage learners get to know each other.

In summary, the first two weeks of the course are critical to set the stage for the online course. This defines future interactions in the course and how learners perceive the learning environment. I have learned that making a presence, not only as an academic, but as a human who is there to guide learners for a successful experience is of high significance to create a welcoming learning environment where learners feel open and are willing to participate without feeling isolated or threaten by the technologies or the online learning experience. Particularly having a welcoming message with some form of multimedia element (voice message, video, or image) is a good strategy I will be using to set the online learning experience with a positive start.


Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The Online Teaching Survival Guide. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Online learning communities [Video file]. Retrieved from Walden Library databases.



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I am an electronic engineer curious about the learning and development field. I think there are many opportunities out there to fully develop our potentials.



May 27, 2017at 11:35 pm

Hi Thais,

You have some great suggestions for instructors to help build a friendly and supportive online learning community. The suggestion related to introductions is very important. First impressions are everything! I was actually surprised in our course’s video when the instructor shared that they had posted their CV as an introduction. I think the more an instructor can humanize themselves in an online setting the better. I’ve seen several of our instructors make use of audio or video introductions. Both mediums can help with making the instructor seem approachable as the tone in their voice and/or the body language they use often comes off as friendly. Something that helps when recording audio or video is to smile when speaking. Smiles are infectious and can dramatically change a person’s appearance. The main focus is to come off friendly and supportive. Good stuff!


May 28, 2017at 5:19 am

Hi Thais! I think it’s important to underscore the human component of the instructor in an online class. In a face to face environment, you have a chance to lay eyes on your instructor – you get a feel for their humor, their preferences, and you have an understanding of their personality just by being in the room. That lack in the online environment can feel isolating. Thanks for highlighting that aspect of setting up an online course. Establishing presence is one of the most important things we can do in the online environment. Great post!


May 28, 2017at 1:10 pm

Hi Thais,

Well put. I also think that its important to add what the learners can expect from the course and the teacher. This could be added in a couple of places in an online environment such as the introduction page or the syllabus. It may even be part of the introductory activities to have the learners define their own expectations.

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