January 6, 2011

How to Create Effective Activities for Online Teaching

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We’ve all used them, first as students and now as online instructors: activities in a class meant to highlight, spotlight, underline, enhance, or explain some aspect of the subject we are teaching. Too often, not much thought or effort is given to these activities, resulting in outdated and unsuccessful activities. With the right approaches and a bit of knowledge, online instructors can create activities that are dynamic, effective, and interesting.


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.


September 23, 2009

Using Screencasting to Engage and Build Community with Online Learners

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In the online classroom, faculty work hard to engage their distance learners and build a strong sense of academic community in the electronic setting. Screencasting can be an effective and easy way to do this. Screencasting allows you to take a digital video of what you are doing on your computer desktop, and most screencasting tools allow you to narrate your video while recording. The possible uses for screencasting are endless; these include providing course orientations, delivering instructional lectures, providing feedback, and encouraging student sharing.



April 27, 2009

Classroom Management Tips for Online Courses: Dealing with Difficult Students

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“Managing student expectations is important in any class but even more so for online and blended courses where it’s easy for students to feel lost,” says Susan Ko, executive director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC). “Even well structured, academically rigorous online classes can have diminished effectiveness due to a lack of clear expectations.”