This article is featured in the resource guide, Effective Online Teaching Strategies. The discussion forum plays a central role in our online graduate-level, advanced research
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
Does it matter if students leave courses with a positive attitude toward the content area? Maybe successful acquisition of content is all that really matters. Maybe teachers don’t need to be concerned if students “liked” the content. As physics professors Duda and Garrett (reference below) point out, this is about more than whether or not students “liked” physics.
“One of the biggest barriers to online learning is our inability to respond in the moment, unless we happen to be on live chat or video, which is really rare in most of the online learning world,” says Rick Van Sant, associate professor of education at Ferris State University.
Most universities press their faculty to add technology to their classroom by adopting the Learning Management System—Blackboard, Moodle, etc. This is a mistake. Faculty often end up spending hours learning the system and loading the same content that they use in the classroom, and finish wondering if the benefit was worth the effort.
Hiring, promotion, and tenure activities are full of risk and potential landmines. Poor hiring decisions are not only costly, but the hiring process itself opens the institution up to litigation if everyone on the hiring committee is not trained properly.
If you want to start a lively debate with your colleagues, just say one word: Facebook. You’re likely to hear many different arguments and at some point someone will declare that if students would spend less time on Facebook and other social networking sites they’d get better grades. Maybe, maybe not.
Teaching and learning support professionals, particularly those who must perform miracles as a “Department of One,” can have one of the most challenging jobs on campus. They not only support the course design, content delivery strategies, technology integration, and training/orientation for faculty and students in online learning programs (asynchronous and synchronous formats), but they also support all other teaching/learning needs for classroom, blended, and any other teaching environment. This professional may be an instructional designer, an educational technologist, or very often, a designated faculty member with some or all of these skills.
Opportunities for meaningful synchronous and asynchronous interaction are plentiful, provided you design and facilitate your online course in the correct manner and with the proper tools. This free report provides practical advice on effective ways to promote learning and build a sense of community in your online courses.