How to Plan and Create the Most Effective Virtual Learning Environment

Written by April Willis

August 3, 2021

One of the hardest but most important things about virtual teaching is creating the initial layout, structure, and methodology of the virtual class.

Before anything else, you need to set up your virtual class’s layout, whether that is on your institute’s website or a service like Blackboard. When preparing a layout, you always need to create materials for the class to use and post them in an easy-to-use manner.

These materials may include:

  • Your course syllabus
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
  • Discussion boards
  • Tutorials specific to online learning enhancement (how to make a virtual background etc.)
  • and a number of other topics.

Once you have your basic site layout finished, next create and define a model for how you want to teach your students.

When thinking of how you want to run your class, ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • Would I rather teach through videos and interactive items or through live lecture?
  • Would I rather have homework due at the beginning of class or the night before?
  • What services should I use to manage my classroom?
  • Do I want to allow students to set up meetings outside of class time, or do I want to define office hours when students can meet with me at a specific time?

Think of some other questions along these lines that will help you determine how you want your class to be structured.

If you have all of your course materials, you may want to ensure that your course materials can be easily distributed to your students virtually. This means you should make sure that students have easy access to downloading and uploading homework files, study materials, practice quizzes and exams, and their online textbooks. Always have a section of your class’s homepage specifically dedicated to important file downloads that your students need to be successful.

When creating your class, it is extremely important for you to have an organized and pre-defined schedule that also offers some flexibility should conflict arise. Your class schedule should be planned for months in advance and the class needs to be held accountable for sticking to your schedule. In addition to having your schedule in detail on your syllabus, it is also important to have a live calendar on your page or a PDF file dedicated to the schedule. Having this will aid both you and your students in knowing and respecting class expectations and tempo.

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