While I kept telling myself that my new online courses were College-level and not Graduate level, I realize now that I had confined my assumptions to the level of language used in assignment instructions and forum introductions. I hadn't really counted on people entirely new to e-learning or even people who were not very familiar with computers at all.
(Okay, so I now have some ideas on an e-learning 101 asset, or series of assets, but I digress)
I think that part of the battle will be won by sticking with Salmon's best practices for "weaving" and "summarizing" threaded discussions (but I will need to go back and explore different examples), but the other part of the battle is just getting people to realize how to work through an online course so that it's not a "finish all 14 weeks' content in a few days" event. I will definitely need to take things slowly, use smaller words, and try not to leave anyone behind. I am also going to have to be very careful with showing people the requirement for group work in an online course....I have a feeling that's going to be a rough road for some at the outset.
A challenge for sure, but one I definitely signed up for.