- Online Course Development
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- For questions about online teaching or course design, submit your questions to the Learning Technologies portal.
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Best Practices for Student Success in Academic Courses
Marquette’s Student Success Initiative is designed to help all Marquette students, including on-campus and distance learners, succeed. Faculty, administrators, staff, and alumni/ae can play roles in helping students flourish, especially in the first two years of the undergraduate experience. Consistent use of the LMS across campus environments is associated with student success and satisfaction. The expectations regarding the use of D2L described below align with this success factor as well as with providing more equitable access to course components.
Expected best practices for all academic courses
Post/share your syllabus in your D2L course site by uploading it to the Content.
By doing this, students will have access to the document throughout the semester making it easy for you and them to refer to course policies, procedures, and perspective in your course. Access the Adding Content section at the bottom of our D2L Overview webpage for instructions on creating a module and uploading your syllabus document.
Post a welcome message on the D2L course homepage using the News tool.
The homepage is the first thing students will see in their course. Use this opportunity to start creating rapport with your students by posting a warm, welcoming message. Consider creating a welcome video – this will help connect your voice and face, beginning a sense of community building TIP: All news items get saved in your course site. This makes it easy to reuse and make minor tweaks to them each time you teach. Instructions for how to create and post news items.
Model what success looks like in your course from day 1!
Indicate in the syllabus and orally your expectations and describe what a successful student will be doing in the class: what materials should the student have (e.g., technology), how much and what kind of studying/preparation, are there assumed skills (e.g., Excel, library research skills). For any identified assumed skills, there should be some link to training or next steps for students who may not be confident that they have those assumed skills.
Enter all due dates for graded assignments and assessments in the D2L Calendar.
Provide students their grades on assignments and other assessments in a timely manner and enter grades in D2L (recommend recording grades within 7-14 days knowing this will vary among course size and assignment type). Students tell us the use of Gradebook helps keep them stay organized and responsible for their own coursework. Students appreciate it when faculty use the Grades tool in D2L because it allows them to track their progress in the course. You can connect grade items to other tools in D2L, like the Dropbox, and Quizzes, which allows your grading in the course to automatically flow to the gradebook. Using the D2L Gradebook helps students make informed decisions about their progress in the course, such as seeking tutoring, going to office hours, and dropping the course. View the instructions for how to use the D2L course calendar.
Enter all student grades in the D2L gradebook.
Provide students their grades on assignments and other assessments in a timely manner and enter the grades in D2L. Students tell us the use of Gradebook helps keep them organized and responsible for their own coursework. Students appreciate it when faculty use the Grades tool in D2L because it allows them to track their progress in the course. You can connect grade items to other tools in D2L, like the Dropbox, and Quizzes, which allows your grading in the course to automatically flow to the gradebook. Using the D2L Gradebook helps students make informed decisions about their progress in the course, such as seeking tutoring, going to office hours, and dropping the course. View instructions on how to set up and use the D2L Gradebook.
Assess students early in the course and have a referral/intervention plan for students who need it.
Using the D2L Gradebook to provide students with timely grades and feedback on low and high stakes assignments supports student success as it informs them about how they are doing in the course. For students in the D/F range, instructors should have a specific referral/intervention recommendation prepared (e.g., visit to office hours, tutoring, academic coaching). In addition to individualized feedback, you may implement strategies such as automated feedback for low-stake and practice activities, peer feedback, and group feedback.
Student access to D2L course.
D2L course sites will open three days prior to the class starting. This provides students with the opportunity to prepare for the course, review the syllabus, and determine requirements for success. Even when the site is not fully developed by the first day of the course as faculty continue to add content throughout the semester, providing students access to the information that is available in the D2L site prior to the first day of class has been shown to decrease student anxiety. If you decide to open a course a different number of days before the start of the course, email students to let them know when they will be able to access the course site. How to edit course dates
Visit the Student Success website to familiarize yourself with the resources available to students. The website is an excellent resource you can refer students to as needed.
Want to learn more about strategies to enhance equity in your classroom? Contact the Center for Teaching and Learning for a one-on-one consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Naveh, G., Tubin, D. & Pliskin, N., 2012. Student satisfaction with learning management systems: a lens of critical success factors. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 21(3), pp.337–350.
Palmer, S.R. & Holt, D.M., 2009. Examining student satisfaction with wholly online learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 25(2), pp.101–113. Available at: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/j.1365-2729.2008.00294.x [Accessed February 20, 2014].