Envision the online student sitting alone, in their home, staring at a computer. Their only communication with the professor is on the computer screen. With this image in your mind, build your course prior to the start of the term with organized and comprehensive content.
The first week of class, the faculty should communicate seven times with the students. Communicate with the student in multiple modes such as emails, post announcements, record a video welcome, post discussions and timely responses to questions. Continue the communication throughout the term.
This article from Faculty Focus is excellent. The best online classes require more work for the faculty than the traditional class. I would advise faculty to use the technology tools achieve the success. Each item listed in the article is right on target.