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Structure and Expectations Can Improve Student Participation in Online Discussions

Clear expectations, structure, and instructor intervention can go a long way toward getting students highly engaged and highly interactive in online discussions.


Tips from the Pros: Reducing Instructor Workload in Discussion Forums

Keith Restine, associate director of distance education, and Allison Peterson, senior instructional designer, both at Texas Woman’s University, offer the following tips for reducing instructor workload in discussion forums: You don’t have to be an active participant in every discussion. Let students know that although you will monitor all discussions, you may not be an


Is There Too Much Interaction in Your Online Courses?

Interaction has always been seen as a key component of an online course. Whether it is student-student or student-teacher interaction, the ability to discuss and exchange ideas has long been considered to be the piece that adds value to an online course, keeping it from becoming simply the posting of written course material on a web page, the digital equivalent of a correspondence course. In fact, many programs promote the highly interactive nature of their curriculum as evidence of its educational value.


Cultural Sensitivity Needed in Online Discussion Rubric Language

International student and online course enrollments had noted increases for 2010 at U.S. tertiary institutions (Institute of International Education, 2010 & Sloan-C, 2010). These enrollment data remind us that U.S. campuses are continually becoming more culturally and internationally diverse in their student populations. However, this diversity may not always be apparent in the increasing numbers of students taking online courses as the instructor-student interaction is not face-to-face as in seated classes. The latter interaction allows for more awareness of students’ cultural differences and any immediate adjustment in verbal and non-verbal communication as the need arises.


Enhancing Learning Through Vibrant Online Discussions

The discussion board is the heart and soul of online learning. As such, the life and livelihood of online teaching and learning flows through threaded, asynchronous conversations inspired by thought-provoking questions. To maximize the potential of online discussions, these conversations need to be relevant and inspiring dialogs that empower and enlighten online learning.


Making Online Discussion Boards Work for Skills-Based Courses

If you teach a skills-based course and wonder how online discussion can enhance the learning experience, consider Roger Gee’s approach to the use of online discussions in his introduction to accounting course.


Online Teaching Challenge: Creating an Emotional Connection to Learning, part 2

“One of the biggest barriers to online learning is our inability to respond in the moment, unless we happen to be on live chat or video, which is really rare in most of the online learning world,” says Rick Van Sant, associate professor of education at Ferris State University.


Lessons Learned: Advice to Online Instructors

If you have taken online courses, you have likely gained some valuable insights into what to do and what not to do as an online instructor. If you have never been an online learner, here are some lessons learned from Anna Brown, a learning technology specialist enrolled in a hybrid doctoral program in learning technologies.


Tapping Into Higher-Level Thinking in Online Courses

One of the most important responsibilities online instructors face is teaching students how to think critically. Successful achievement of this task requires that instructors provide the right setting and the appropriate activities that will prompt a student on to higher-level thinking. Though this mission is not exclusive to online instruction, the online environment presents some unique challenges and opportunities that distinguish this type of learning environment from traditional face-to-face classroom instruction.


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