Good Online Lesson

The Best Choice .... according to the experts

Dodge, 2002 – "A good online lesson is one that sets uniform high expectations for all students; provides a basis for equal opportunity to learn; specifies exactly what will be assessed in order to return more useful information about student achievement and provides indepth standard use... To develop great online lessons, you need to develop a thorough understanding of the different possibilities open to you as you create web-based lessons."


  • Online environments provide opportunities and flexibility as well as challenges for the teaching/learning processes.
  • "In an 'online' (distance education) model, none of the characteristics for a successful class can be taken for granted." (Penn State World Campus, 1998).

Basic Information

A good online lesson has all the characteristics of a good lesson. However, there are more challenges when the students aren't present in front of you. "A great deal of preparation must occur for the student to feel "comfortable" with never meeting in a classroom or seeing their instructor face-to-face." (Penn State World campus, 1998).

Below is a chart listing some common challenges and solutions

Challenges on Online Lessons
Challenges Solution
Students and faculty technical skills may be uneven. Instriuctor should practice the necessary skills before the course begins and provide simple technical how-tos for students.
Students have different characteristics, such as geographical isolation, adult learners, etc. Accommodate these characteristics by providing asynchronous discussions and feedback, more guidance, etc.
Students may not feel comfortable with never meeting face-to-face. Provide some start-up activities to allow students to communicate with each other and get used to the online environment.
Faculty can't see when the students are puzzled, bored, or not feeling involved. Actively solicit feedback on how students are doing through e-mail, discussion, online "five minute essays," surveys etc.

Use more frequent assignments to assess how students have learned the content and provide frequent feedback on progress to students.

Students may feel there is too much information in message boards or chat room. Have guidelines for length, number and quality of contributions.
Students may expect immediate response to email/questions. Set specific times when questions will be answered—once per day, every other day at a certain time, etc.
It's difficult to monitor final exams for cheating Think about using a secure testing facility or converting high-stakes exams to projects, a series of smaller quizzes or other form of assignment.


Dodge, Bernie, Adapted by ILAST. (2002) Web clinic for mathematics.
Retrieved May 14, 2003 from [No Longer Available]

Driscoll, M.(2003). Ten things we know about teaching online. Retrieved May 14, 2003 from the Australian National University Web site:

North Carolina State University (1998) Delivering an online course. Retrieved May 14, 2003 from

Penn State World Campus (1998) Introduction to the authoring lessons. Retrieved May 14, 2003 from [No Longer Available]
Revised Edition -

Ragan L. C. (1999). Good teaching is good teaching: An emerging set of guiding principles and practices for the design and development of distance education. Retrieved May 14, 2003 from

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