Online Class Management Strategy

Managing online courses is a skill to be learned with strategically and intentionally. 

One of the biggest challenges in online courses is making sure that learners are reading, watching, and/or listening to the course materials.

I’ll bet that you’ve had questions emailed to you that are readily answerable somewhere in the online course. We have to realize that learners (including us) don’t like spending a lot of time reading through the information.

One way to motivate learners to become independent learners is to use the 3-Then-Me rule.

At the beginning of the term I post a course announcement like this:


Hello everyone! One of my goals for you this term is that you become an independent and confident learner. To help you acquire and practice these skills we will be using the 3-Then-Me rule.

This means that before you ask me a question (either by email or in the Ask the Instructor discussion forum), you need to search at least 3 resources to find the answer. Here are a list of places to check out:

      • course syllabus
      • assignment instructions
      • announcements
      • Ask the Instructor discussion forum – someone else might have posted the question and I answered it
      • your learning community

If you have checked at least three of these and still can’t find the answer, post your question in the Ask the Instructor discussion forum, along with the resources you checked and I will answer your question there. 

By the way, if you email me a question, I will ask you to post it in the discussion forum and will answer it there. I want everyone to benefit from your question and my answer.

By the way, if your question is of a personal nature, then it is fine to email me right away.

I’m looking forward to a great term where you excel and grow!

Dr. Toledo

You can also put the 3-Then-Me rule in the syllabus and in a video or audio message. Remember … good instructional design is redundant!

Let me know what happens when you try this strategy.

Oh, by the way … I used the 3-Then-Me rule in my face-to-face classes, too! 🙂