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best practices in online teaching


Five Things Online Students Want from Faculty

Through regular student feedback, Jennifer Luzar, associate professor of language arts at Northwood University, has compiled the following things students want in their online courses and ways that she has adapted her instruction accordingly.

1. Quick responses – From the time she started teaching online, Luzar has made it a point to respond as soon as possible to her students. The typical reply from students is, “Wow! Thanks for the quick response,” as if this is not usually the case. “I used to be surprised by that because I feel that as online instructors it is our responsibility to try to get back to these people as quickly as possible,” Luzar says.


Five Pedagogical Practices to Improve Your Online Course

Because online courses have fewer opportunities for the spontaneous, real-time exchanges of the face-to-face classroom, online instruction requires a deliberate approach to design and facilitation. As Bethany Simunich says, “Online, learning doesn’t happen by chance.” In an interview with Online Classroom, Simunich, associate director of online learning at Kent State University, offered the following techniques to improve an online course:


Build Community, Extend Learning with Online Synchronous Sessions

Consideration of convenience and flexibility typically leads instructors and instructional designers to favor asynchronous over synchronous learning. But given the potential benefits of synchronous communication, perhaps it’s time to rethink the 100 percent asynchronous course.


Teaching Online: Essential Elements for Faculty

This three-part online course provides an in-depth, yet straightforward explanation of online teaching’s essentials. You’ll gain valuable insight into the pedagogy of online teaching, the tools and technology at your disposal in the online classroom, and how to get your courses up and running efficiently and painlessly!


Creating a Sense of Instructor Presence in the Online Classroom

Online instructors need to be intentional about creating a sense of presence in their courses so that students know that somebody is leading their educational experience. According to Larry Ragan, director of instructional design and development for Penn State’s World Campus, this sense of presence consists of three dimensions:


Recent Seminars


Six Practical Strategies to Improve Your Online Courses

If you’re new to the online classroom, or having been teaching online for years, we invite you to spend an hour with Oliver Dreon, PhD, director of Millersville University’s Center for Academic Excellence, for this one-hour online seminar. You’ll learn how you can use a half-dozen research-based, easy-to-implement practices to help you create truly student-centered instruction, and come away with a tremendous “toolkit” of ideas for making your online classes even better than they are now.

Online Seminar • Recorded on Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Ideas for Active Online Learning

Heidi Beezley, instructional technologist at Georgia Perimeter College, strives to instill online courses with active learning, “providing opportunities for students to meaningfully talk and listen, write, read, and reflect on the content, ideas, issues, and concerns of an academic subject” (as defined by Meyers and Jones). To this she adds: “interact[ing] with realia, manipulatives, simulations,


Adapting PowerPoint Lectures for Online Delivery: Best Practices

If you use PowerPoint lectures in your face-to-face classes, you can use those same lectures as jumping-off points for creating narrated animations for your online students to watch. That’s the good news.
However, chances are you’ll need to make extensive changes—both to your existing PowerPoint slides, and to how you deliver them. Typically, this means scripting the lecture before narrating and recording it so that all information presented online is:


Instructor Characteristics That Affect Online Student Success

Which online instructor characteristics help students succeed? It’s a rather basic question that has not been adequately answered. We did a literature search to find if anybody had done any research from the students’ perspective on what constitutes a quality online instructor. There were perhaps 10 articles by professors speculating about what they thought defined quality online instruction, but nobody had asked students.


Managing Instructor Presence in the Online Classroom

Teaching is a knowledge business – but it’s also a relationship business. To teach students, you have to reach them. That can be a big challenge in the online classroom. So how do you project yourself, and develop the teacher-student connections that facilitate learning? Dr. Lawrence Ragan and Dr. Kimberly Eke, two of the most respected figures in distance learning, will share strategies for doing just that.

video Online Seminar • Recorded on Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

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