ff-icon-default-200x200 December 7, 2009

Primed for Learning: Maximizing Teachable Moments When Students are Ready and Willing to Learn


Teachable moments, those special times when students are most ready and willing to learn, are traditionally considered unplanned opportunities. But should teachable moments be treated like unexpected gifts or can they actually be set in motion with a little advanced anticipation and planning by the instructor?

ff-icon-default-200x200 October 19, 2009

Understanding the Instructor’s Role in Facilitating Online Discussions


In my classroom-based courses I have always valued discussion as a powerful learning tool that provides students with opportunities to explain their reasoning and understanding, learn different perspectives and points of view, and re-think and possibly revise their own conceptions based on careful reflection of potentially disparate viewpoints. As I prepared to teach my first online course five years ago, it was only natural that discussion would be a part of it.

ff-icon-default-200x200 August 31, 2009

Using Rubrics to Improve Online Teaching, Learning, and Retention


I have always enjoyed teaching in the classroom environment. There is something special about watching a student’s eyes light up as a new concept changes perceptions. When I first taught in the online environment, I wondered how I would communicate with students without seeing them in person. Would they get my assignments? Would they understand the requirements? Could they produce the level of work I expected? Could we overcome the potential miscommunications of the written word?

October 31, 2008

Student Collaboration in the Online Classroom


One of the best teaching tools in a traditional classroom is the team project. When students work together, they learn a great deal – not just about what they’re studying, but about how to work with others toward common goals, with shared responsibilities, for shared reward. Traditional classrooms have an innate advantage in bringing students together … the students are sitting there right in front of them. A collaborative project can begin by simply seating the team at the same table.

ff-icon-default-200x200 September 9, 2008

Six Recommendations for the Physicality of Distance Learning Classrooms


In the past, I have used the spatiotemporal aspects of my office for online teaching. My workstation, which has undergone multiple ergonomic reinventions over the years, fits my body, habits, and routines. Although teaching elsewhere is an option, my workstation helps me prevent (or slow down) what I call “professor posture,” that is, head forward and shoulders rounded. And in my office I can disappear into time, emerging hours later with completed products. For faculty who wish to use their offices as online classrooms, I provide the following recommendations:…