Online discussions are sometimes difficult to get going, and often the students (at least at first) seem to respond too superficially, punctuated by an occasional treatise by an overeager student. Here’s how I jumpstart discussions in my family relations online course.
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Some students are reluctant to enroll in online courses, afraid they will miss some of the social aspects of the face-to-face classroom. For these students, it makes sense to incorporate online synchronous sessions to provide some of the benefits of the face-to-face class while maintaining most of the flexibility of an asynchronous online course.
In order to be part of an effective learning community, online learners need to feel the presence of the instructor and fellow learners. Jane Dwyer, a senior lecturer at Rivier College, uses the following techniques to create this sense of social presence in her online psychology courses:
Of the many lessons learned from the early years of distance education one of the most persistent to remain, and thankfully so, is the fact that you cannot simply pluck an instructor out of the classroom, plug him into an online course, and expect him to be effective in this new and challenging medium.
One instructor’s study of student participation in online discussions in two of his asynchronous online courses over a five-year period has yielded some interesting results that have influenced how he conducts his courses.
To say that my first year as division chair was a “learning experience” filled with “teaching moments” is an understatement. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! In addition to the normal duties of chair, my division was moving to a new building, the college was working on its accreditation self-study, we began collective bargaining, we added two new members to the division, we conducted a search for an additional new member, and I taught a fully online course for the first time.