If you are planning for your first online class, and haven’t put one in your college schedule of classes yet, consider this advice…

I find it tremendously valuable to be teaching both a traditional and an online version of the same course. Even better, my traditional course does the same online homework assignments as the online course, so they can share the message boards. This results in a cross-pollination of help between the traditional and online students on the message boards and they learn a lot from each other. Plus, the online students tend to be on the Internet more, so they are quicker to answer questions than I am. The traditional students will pipe up with “advice” that I have given them in class, and so the online students benefit too.

When I cover something in class… an extra example, or a clarification of an idea, it reminds me that the online students should get the same examples or clarification. Another benefit for me is that I only have to check one set of message boards instead of two, which frees up a little more time to make video lessons and activities for the online class.

So… if you haven’t planned for Fall yet, consider doing an online and a traditional of the same course… I would actually recommend this strategy over doing a hybrid as your “first try.” Hybrids can be difficult to manage, they can either be the best of both worlds, or the worst… depending on the students and your management of them.