September 28, 2010

Online Teaching Challenge: Creating an Emotional Connection to Learning, part 1

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Learning research indicates that people learn better in the presence of some emotional connection—to the content or to other people. Creating this emotional connection is particularly challenging in the online classroom, where most communication is asynchronous and lacks many of the emotional cues of the face-to-face environment. Nevertheless, it is possible to do, with a learner-centered approach to teaching and a mastery of the technology that supports it, says Rick Van Sant, associate professor of education at Ferris State University.




October 19, 2009

Understanding the Instructor’s Role in Facilitating Online Discussions

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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.


July 4, 2008

What’s the Future of Online Education?

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To many students and would-be students who have yet to experience them, online colleges are sometimes viewed with a combination of suspicion and distrust—and occasional newspaper headlines talking about some CEO who, it was learned, received his or her advanced degree at an online “paper mill” do not help these impressions. And many in traditional academic institutions—including those who offer online courses—continue to quickly turn their noses up at online colleges, believing that any for-profit online college could not possibly offer the same quality education that they can.