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Incorporating Active Learning into the Online Classroom

Gary Ackerman, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Mount Wachusett Community College, works with faculty to incorporate active learning into their online and face-to-face courses, and while there are differences in these learning environments, active learning can be implemented just as well online as face-to-face.


A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats: Raising, Communicating, and Enforcing Expectations in Online Courses

As an instructor new to the online environment, I carefully reviewed the syllabus and the requirements for the course discussions and assignments and incorporated the following ideas from Myers-Wylie, Mangieri & Hardy: a “what you need to know” document that includes policies about late work, formatting, source citations, grading and feedback, and the dangers of plagiarism; a separate “assignments at a glance” calendar that details due dates and submission instructions; a “frequently asked questions” thread in the discussion forum; detailed scoring rubrics for each assignment, and example assignments. As is typical in the online environment, my course was equipped with areas for announcements and discussions and a grade book with a place to post comments for individual students. I used all these formats to communicate with students about course requirements and provide detailed feedback.


Top 10 Rules for Developing Your First Online Course

Years of helping faculty pass to the dark side of online education have taught me a few simple rules that I brow beat (in a collegial way) into all new online teachers.


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!


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

Nine Online Course Development Tips

As an instructional designer and online instructor at the Community College of Baltimore County Catonsville, Dionne Thorne has worked with many instructors as they develop their online courses. Based on this experience, she offers the following advice on the course design process:


Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher

Teaching face-to-face and teaching online are both teaching, but they are qualitatively different. In comparison, driving a car and riding a motorcycle are both forms of transportation, but they have enough differences to warrant additional training and preparation when switching from one to the other. The same is true when faculty move from the traditional classroom to the online classroom. There are some things that the two have in common, but there are also plenty of differences. With this in mind, consider the following eight roles of an effective online teacher.


Who Are You? Putting Faces on Virtual Learners

One of the first and most difficult tasks an online instructor faces is how to establish the presence of a learning community. Learning in isolation may be possible, but it’s neither enjoyable nor complete, and many online students end up quitting or failing the course simply because they miss the classmate support that is readily available in face-to-face classes. To ignore the importance of peer learning and personal connection in any classroom, including those in which participants might not physically meet, is to deny the significance of social interaction in learning.


Tips for Online Instructors: Managing Files, Feedback, and Workload

Teaching online is a rewarding experience; but any instructor who makes the transition to online education, thinking it will be easier and less time-consuming than face-to-face classroom teaching, is in for a big surprise! Establishing a regular presence in the online classroom, grading assignments and discussions, and maintaining records and notes from term to term are all time consuming – but essential – tasks. Learning to take care of the details of online teaching more efficiently makes it possible to be more effective in your teaching. The following is an abbreviated version of guidance I provide to new instructors about ways to keep their course files organized, students engaged, and workload manageable.


Working with Online Teaching Assistants

The presence of Teaching Assistants (TAs) in a college course benefits both instructor and students. An assistant’s responsibilities typically include grading, troubleshooting, and fielding student questions, and their role is evolving to meet the needs of the online classroom.


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