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Online Course Strategies
   Setting Ground Rules

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Setting Class Ground Rules Online - An adaptation for online classes. See Silberman p 48.

Cognitive processing: application, forward thinking

Overview: Student groups use electronic discussion to develop ground rules for their online course. They must call upon previous experiences and anticipate problematic aspects of the online course environment that need to be avoided by establishing class rules.

Student groups each create a list of ground rules for the class by using electronic discussion. Groups forward lists to the professor who posts a composite for class adoption. This activity fits well early in the semester.

This Active Learning strategy engages students in discussion, building cohesion in the groups as students learn from one another and benefit from one anotherŐs experiences. The activity creates a sense of community for the whole class and promotes an environment of respect and fairness.

1. Divide students into groups of equal size and designate group facilitators.

2. Send an e-mail message to the class list describing the assignment, its purpose and your expectations. Include a statement of the importance of ground rules in an online environment. Give one or two examples. Define the role of the facilitator. State the expectation that every class member contribute throughout the discussion. Explain the procedures: groups discuss and develop list, facilitator forwards list to professor, professor consolidates lists and posts composite for class adoption. Announce a specific deadline (day, hour, time zone) allowing approximately two days.

3. Post the assignment on the Blackboard announcements for the course.

4. On the due date, send e-mail restating deadline.

5. When group lists arrive via email, consolidate immediately and post the composite. You may choose to allow feedback.

6. Call time. Invite teams to present their commercials.

If you are developing a course portfolio, refer to the electronic template and record your notes about your experience with this Active Learning activity. Include:

o How effective the strategy was in fulfilling your learning objective
o What worked well that you want to remember for next time
o What you need to think about and do differently next time

See a demo of this strategy

Download a Post-Class Summary Form (PDF)

More Info:

See a demo of this strategy

Post-Class Summary Form (PDF)

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