In the traditional college classroom today, faculty and students arrive with a certain set of expectations, shaped largely by past experiences. And although students may need the occa-sional (or perhaps frequent) reminder of what’s required of them, there’s usually something very familiar about the experience for both faculty and students alike.
In the online classroom, an entirely new set of variables enters the equation. It’s a little like trying to drive in a foreign country. You know how to drive, just like you know how to teach, but it sure is hard to get the hang of driving on the left side of the road, you’re not quite sure how far a kilometer is, and darn it if those road signs aren’t all in Japanese.
In the traditional college classroom today, faculty and students arrive with a certain set of expectations, shaped largely by past experiences. And although students may need the occasional (or perhaps frequent) reminder of what’s required of them, there’s usually something very familiar about the experience for both faculty and students alike. In the online classroom, an entirely new set of variables enters the equation. It’s a little like trying to drive in a foreign country. You know how to drive, just like you know how to teach, but it sure is hard to get the hang of driving on the left side of the road, you’re not quite sure how far a kilometer is, and darn it if those road signs aren’t all in Japanese.
This special report explains the “rules of the road” for online teaching and learning and features a series of columns that first appeared in the Distance Education Report’s “Between the Clicks,” a popular column by Dr. Lawrence C. Ragan, Director of Instructional Design and Development for Penn State’s World Campus.
The articles contained in the report will help you establish online instructor best practices and expectations, and include the following principles of effective online teaching:
• Show Up and Teach
• Practice Proactive Course Management Strategies
• Establish Patterns of Course Activities
• Plan for the Unplanned
• Response Requested and Expected
• Think Before You Write
• Help Maintain Forward Progress
• Safe and Secure
• Quality Counts
• (Double) Click a Mile on My Connection
These principles, developed at Penn State’s World Campus, outline the core behaviors of the successful online instructor, and help to define parameters around the investment of time on part of the instructor. In his articles, Ragan identifies potential barriers and limitations to online learning, and specific strategies to assist instructors in achieving the performance
Much has been written about the challenges of teaching an online course. While not discounting the unique (and sometimes frustrating) aspects of the online learning environment, it could be said that, despite the numerous differences, many of the same course management strategies that are essential to success in a traditional classroom also apply in the online classroom. These strategies include the importance of a strong syllabus, clear directions, well-organized materials, and timely feedback.
Much has been written about the challenges of teaching an online course. While not discounting
the unique (and sometimes frustrating) aspects of the online learning environment, it could be said that, despite the numerous differences, many of the same course management strategies that are essential to success in a traditional classroom also apply in the online classroom. These strategies include the importance of a strong syllabus, clear directions, well-organized materials, and timely feedback.
Of course, the big challenge for online instructors is that the very nature of online education amplifies the importance of properly addressing these management issues, while throwing a few more additional obstacles into the mix. Choosing the right communication tools and protocols, addressing technology problems, managing student expectations, and building community are just some of issues that can stretch online instructors to the breaking point.
11 Strategies for Managing Your Online Courses was created to help online instructors tackle many of the course management issues that can erode the efficiency and effectiveness of an online course. It features 11 articles pulled from the pages of Online Classroom, including:
• Syllabus Template Development for Online Course Success
• The Online Instructor’s Challenge: Helping ‘Newbies’
• Virtual Sections: A Creative Strategy for Managing Large Online Classes
• Internal or External Email for Online Courses?
• Trial by Fire: Online Teaching Tips That Work
• The Challenge of Teaching Across Generations
It’s important to keep in mind that you’re not the only one who may be a little anxious about going online. Students often have anxiety when taking their first online course. It’s up to you to help them feel more confident and secure, all the while keeping your workload at a manageable level. The course management tips in this report will help.
In 2013, the national economy began to recover more earnestly. Some states even increased funding for higher education, although not by much.1 Performance-based funding, greater accountability, student completion rates and gainful employment became the often-heard buzz words of 2013. Not to be out done, most distance education programs are pressured to find ways to close the student achievement gap many online programs still experience as compared to face-to-face courses, or risk
seeing further budget and staff reductions. As the authors of the ITC survey have suggested for the past several years, the Great Recession has forced many states to undergo a paradigm shift in how they will make funding decisions for colleges and
universities in the years to come.
What are the most popular practices and tactics for electronic student recruitment at the undergraduate level? To find out, Noel-Levitz conducted a web-based poll in the spring of 2014 as part of the firm’s continuing series of benchmark polls for higher education. As a special bonus, a number of gaps between campus practices and prospective students’ expectations are identified based on a parallel study of college-bound high school students in spring 2014 (see information at bottom).
With experts projection that five million K-12 students will enroll in online course by 2016, thee is no doubt that blended learning asking the key question: "Does blended learning give better outcomes than traditional classes?"
We are a group of undergraduate and graduate students from York University connected with each other through sociology professor Cary Wu’s research methods courses. Led by Dr. Wu, we recently came together as a virtual group to discuss what makes in-person classes unique and different from online-learning. Through this productive discussion, we were able to determine what it is about in-person classes that we long for. Here, we share with you seven main themes that emerged in our conversations.
I was taking advantage of some down time, cleaning out some of my old files on my computer, when I ran across a great article I saved that covered student personality types. When I originally read this article, I only had several years of experience working in the distancelearning realm. Now, years later, I have seen all these student types at one time or another, and
throughout the years, noticed several others worthy of mention.
Before moving into some observations, I do need to provide some context for the environment in which I work. Our population consists of postgraduate students working in middle management positions. The classes are small, 18 students to one instructor, and progress through the year as a group. The yearlong curriculum is not self-paced. The college delivers
the content in a mix between asynchronous and synchronous modalities. Blackboard is the asynchronous platform that delivers the lesson material using a combination of computerbased instruction, online exams, and discussion board forums. We use Blackboard Ultra and/or Defense Connect Services for the synchronous portions of the curriculum, which
include delivery of student briefing products. Of course, there are the standard necessities like email, telephone, and administration that accompany facilitation.
Whatever the budget or maturity level of a given educational institution, there is a trend toward putting assessments online. With this comes new opportunities, but also new challenges. In a recent webinar hosted by edWeb.net, administrators from the Hampton
Township School District in Pennsylvania point out that there is a wrong way to do online assessments. Here are a few of their top tips for making sure you do them the right way.
Handheld devices are widely applied to support open and distributed learning, where students are diverse. On the other hand, customization and personalization can be applied to accommodate students’ diversities. However, paucity of research compares the effects of customization and personalization in the context of handheld devices. To this end, a customized digital learning system (CDLS) and personalized digital learning system (PDLS) were implemented with the handheld devices and they tailored to the needs of different cognitive style groups. Furthermore, we conducted two empirical studies to examine the effects of cognitive styles on the use of the CDLS and PDLS. More specifically, Study 1 identified the preferences of each cognitive style group while Study 2 investigated how students with different cognitive styles react to the CDLS and the PDLS. The results from these two studies showed that student with the CDLS and those with the PDLS obtained similar task scores and post-test scores, regardless of their cognitive styles. However, cognitive styles affected the efficiency of completing tasks and perceptions for customization and personalization.
Keywords: customization, personalization, handheld devices, cognitive styles
While competency-based education is growing, standardized tools for evaluating the unique characteristics of course design in this domain are still under development. This preliminary research study evaluated the effectiveness of a rubric developed for assessing course design of competency-based courses in an undergraduate Information Technology and Administrative Management program. The rubric, which consisted of twenty-six individual measures, was used to evaluate twelve new courses. Additionally, the final assessment scores of nine students who completed nine courses in the program were evaluated to
determine if a correlation exists between student success and specific indicators of quality in the course design. The results indicate a correlation exists between measures that rated high and low on the evaluation rubric and final assessment scores of students completing courses in the program. Recommendations from this study suggest that quality competency-based courses need to evaluate the importance and relevance of resources for active student learning, provide increased support and
ongoing feedback from mentors, and offer opportunities for students to practice what they have learned.
Using a dataset containing nearly 500,000 courses taken by over 40,000 community and technical college students in Washington State, this study examines how well students adapt to the online environment in terms of their ability to persist and earn strong grades in online courses relative to their ability to do so in face-to-face courses. While all types of students in the study suffered decrements in performance in online courses, some struggled more than others to adapt: males, younger students, Black students, and students with lower grade point averages. In particular, students struggled in subject areas such as English and social science, which was due in part to negative peer effects in these online courses.
The ubiquity of online meeting software has made it increasingly easy for professors to include live online class sessions to both brick-and-mortar and online courses. I have learned in recent years that live online class sessions not only increase flexibility for students and the professor but can also be a powerful tool in creating community and engaging students in a range of dynamic learning opportunities. That said, I have also learned that in order for online class sessions to be more than just office hours or students passively listening to lecture, three careful considerations for course design and pedagogy are needed: structuring learning activities, communicating the expectations for participation and rational behind it, and grading.
Concerns over the usefulness and validity of student ratings of instruction (SRI) have continued to grow with online processes. This paper presents seven common and persistent concerns identified and tested during the development and implementation of a revised SRI policy at a Canadian research-intensive university. These concerns include bias due to insufficient sample size, student academic performance, polarized student responses, disciplinary differences, class size, punishment of rigorous instructor standards, and timing of final exams. We analyzed SRI responses from two mandatory Likert scale questions related to the course and instructor, both of which were consistent over time and across all academic units at our institution. The results show that overall participation in online SRIs is representative of the student body, with aca-demically stronger students responding at a higher rate, and the SRIs, them-selves, providing evidence that may moderate worries about the concerns.
In this two-part consideration of the future of online learning, we look at the patterns and trends which will shape
online learning in the future and how the various components of the post-secondary education system, such as
student population, course design and delivery, assessment, resource bases, teaching and learning models, and
partnerships will be different from what we have now.
The first part, A 2016 Look at the Future of Online Learning: Advancing Technology and Online Learning – An
Ideal Match for the Future, looks at developments in technology and what potential they offer for better learning,
teaching, collaboration, mobility and other key aspects of online learning.
The second part, A 2016 Look at the Future of Online Learning: Transformations in Learners, Programs,
Teaching and Learning, and Policy and Government, is a more in-depth consideration of the inter-related
changes we see taking place across online learning and the implications of this for post-secondary education.
n this two-part consideration of the future of online learning, we look at the patterns and trends which will shape online learning in the future and how the various components of the post-secondary education system, such as student population, course design and delivery, assessment, resource bases, teaching and learning models, and partnerships will be different from what we have now.
The first part, A 2016 Look at the Future of Online Learning: Advancing Technology and Online Learning – An Ideal Match for the Future, looks at developments in technology and what potential they offer for better learning, teaching, collaboration, mobility and other key aspects of online learning.
The second part, A 2016 Look at the Future of Online Learning: Transformations in Learners, Programs, Teaching and Learning, and Policy and Government, is a more in-depth consideration of the inter-related changes we see taking place across online learning and the implications of this for post-secondary education.
Educators tasked with finding instructional materials for their districts and classrooms face a dizzying array of options these days. Classroom resources are available in print, digital textbook formats, and online. They can be paid for, subscribed to, or downloaded for free. They’re available as comprehensive, yearlong curricula; individual thematic units; and single activities and games.
Several forces have collided to bring the market to this confusing, yet ultimately academically promising point: The majority of states are now using the Common Core State Standards, meaning there are more opportunities to share materials across state lines. States are increasingly letting districts choose their own instructional materials, rather than forcing them to select from an approved list. There’s been a recent push, including from the federal government, to make online instructional materials free and open to the public—known as open educational resources
Online education programs continue to rely on a significant contingent of adjunct faculty to meet the instructional needs of the students. Discourse relating to this situation primarily focuses on the extent to which adjuncts are able to ensure the rigor and quality of instruction as well as the ability of the organization to attract, retain, and support qualified professionals. In response, organizations have created very structured,standardized professional development opportunities, meticulous monitoring of adjunct activities and inflexible policies to guide interactions with learners. This one-size-fits-all strategy limits the organization’s ability to facilitate an adjunct-organizational relationship that supports the adjunct in ways that meet their individual needs. The purpose of this exploratory, quantitative questionnaire study was to examine the difference between the adjuncts’ primary rationale for teaching, and their self-identified professional category. In addition, the study sought to explore the difference between the adjunct’s primary professional needs and their self-identified professional category. The results of the study demonstrated that there was a significant difference between the self-identified professional employment groups in the areas of student focused instruction, personal needs, an interest in online pedagogy, career advancement, and flexible work schedule categories. There was not a significant difference in the self-identified professional employment groups and the category of skill development
Interaction is a critical component of successful online learning and by extension an important component inoverall online program quality. The researcher studied the impact of course design on participation in an online university course. The participants were university students’ (n= 62, male= 33, female= 29). Their responses from online discussions were analyzed using repeated measures factorial ANOVA finding a statistically significant decrease in student participation in weeks when major assignments were due. The impact of assignments was similar for female and male participants. Measures of effect size indicated that course design accounted for more variation in online participation than gender. The key finding of the study was that course design can have a significant impact on level of participation and therefore student success in the online course. Ways to prevent or mitigate the impact of the reduction in student participation are presented.