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Online Education

With nearly 7 million students taking at least one online course, understanding best practices for teaching online is critical. Turn to Faculty Focus for news on the latest trends in online education.


February 25 - Collaborative Research Circles Extend Learning Beyond the Online Course

By: in Online Education

As an experienced online educator, I am confident that my students are not only learning but also excelling. Through our classroom activities and interactions, they are simultaneously mastering content and developing higher-order thinking strategies. Yet I am plagued with concerns that this is not enough.


February 14 - Selecting the Appropriate Communication Tools for Your Online Course

By: in Online Education

When designing an online course it’s important to carefully consider which tools align with the course’s learning objectives and the types of communication that will occur.

There are three types of communication that can occur in an online course—one to one, one to many, and many to many. In an interview with Online Classroom, Sara Ombres, faculty development instructor, and Anna Reese, production coordinator/instructional designer, both at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus, talked about how they help instructors select communication tools to suit the situation.


February 4 - 10 Assessment Design Tips for Increasing Online Student Retention, Satisfaction and Learning, part 2

By: in Online Education

In the part one of this article, we started our exploration of assessment ideas for your online courses. We explored the value of designing ample opportunities for formative feedback. We examined the value of authentic assessments and the dangers of using assessment as a punishment. We also reflected upon alternatives or enhancements to the traditional letter grade system, as well as designing with the realization that most learners approach our courses as a buffet rather than a pre-served meal, and the implications for our assessment plans.


February 3 - 10 Assessment Design Tips for Increasing Online Student Retention, Satisfaction and Learning

By: in Online Education

How much time do we put into the design of the assessment plans in our online courses? Is most of that time focused upon summative graded assignments that factor into the course grade? Or, do they also include opportunity for practice and informal feedback?


January 28 - Creating a Learner-Friendly Online Course

By: in Online Education

Cynthia Schmitt, senior director of continuing education at Florida Institute of Technology, tries to make the online learning experience comfortable and efficient for students. Students want their courses to be convenient, easy to use, responsive, and accessible so that the technology does not get in the way of learning. Here are some ways Schmitt recommends achieving these goals:


January 17 - Structure and Expectations Can Improve Student Participation in Online Discussions

By: in Online Education

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


January 10 - The Need for Balanced Feedback

By: in Online Education

In the online class environment, students enjoy many advantages, such as increased scheduling flexibility, ability to balance work and school, classroom portability, and convenience. But there are potential shortcomings as well, including the lack of student-instructor interaction and a student not understanding the instructor’s expectations. A key mechanism to convey expectations while increasing student-instructor communication is relevant, timely, constructive, and balanced instructor feedback.


January 7 - Creating a Sense of Instructor Presence in the Online Classroom

By: in Online Education

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:


December 16 - Why Demand Originality from Students in Online Discussion Forums?

By: in Asynchronous Learning and Trends, Online Education

As an online instructor, I require my students to engage in weekly discussion forums. In the online college environment, discussion forums are designed to simulate a professor and his or her students engaged in a traditional classroom discussion. Students respond to a question and then reply to the responses of their classmates. The point is to keep the discussion moving, keep students engaged in the topic for the week, and facilitate learning.


December 3 - Have Students Generate Content to Improve Learning

By: in Online Education

Online instructors face the challenges of keeping a course up to date, engaging students, and maintaining integrity. Having students generate some of the course content can address all three of these challenges.