IRS - Lessons for online classroom April 15

Five Lessons Online Faculty Can Learn from the IRS

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Another Tax Day is upon us. I’ll keep this post brief, just in case you haven’t yet filed.

The Internal Revenue Service is good for lots of things, but it’s not usually viewed as a source of sound teaching advice. In 2016, however, the government agency created an online publication called the Behavioral Insights Toolkit. At just 72 pages, the toolkit is a relatively short guide for IRS employees and researchers to help promote compliance and improve taxpayer engagement by leveraging strong communication practices.


engaged online student April 3

What is ‘Swift Trust,’ and Why Do I Want it in My Classes?

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Due to the shift to performance-based funding in many states, colleges and universities have sharpened their focus on student retention. Because of this, I have sought out information about best practices in retaining students, in particular online students, to help do my fair share in this effort for the schools where I teach. While I found many articles about the importance of social presence, one of the more interesting discoveries was from a chapter in Trust in Organizations on the concept called “swift trust.” Although it is mostly put into practice and studied in workplace settings, it certainly applies to education, too.




student on a laptop February 1

The Art & Science of Quality Course Announcements: How to Avoid the Trap of the Info Dump

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It’s the night before a major assignment is due and you sit down to post an announcement in your online course. You want to remind your students of the impending due date, and oh yes, there’s a great webinar offered by the career center coming up on Tuesday. That reminds you, there’s also that article about the history of Wikipedia that you want to share with them too. Come to think of it, now’s as good a time as any to discuss the lack of analysis you noticed in their discussion board posts last week. As you write about their discussions, you also decide to include one last link to a citation website you hope will help them improve in this area.


developing oniline courses January 16

Seven Things to Consider Before Developing Your Online Course

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As the number of online courses and degree programs in higher education continues to increase, more faculty are being asked to design and develop online courses. Sometimes this course design and development process is done somewhat reflexively, in a short time period, and with limited planning and preparation. This is not ideal as it can lead to a more stressful course development process for instructors and negatively impact the quality of online offerings. This article will explore seven things that instructors should consider prior to developing an online course.


online mentoring November 5, 2018

An Online Mentoring Model That Works

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Recent findings indicate that higher education enrollment is being outpaced by online enrollments while overall enrollment in higher education has declined over the last three years (Betts, 2017). Data analyzed from the U.S. Department of Education confirm that enrollment in online courses in higher education has more than tripled in the years from 2002 to 2014: 2002, 1.6 million; 2014, 5.8 million (Poulin & Straut, 2016).


personality types October 30, 2018

8 Student Personality Types in Distance Learning Part 2

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The first part of this article spent time discussing some of the less motivated student personality types I have encountered through the years, as well as providing some context to the learning environment. Distance learning (DL) presents a unique set of challenges for instructors ranging from the basics like methodologies to interact with students, to motivating students to keep pace with the curriculum and help them balance the external challenges like family and work issues; student types being part of the equation. We already discussed “After the Fact Jack,” “Intermittent Irene,” “The Winger,” and “Coat Tail Tom,” so it’s time to explore some of the other types.


personality October 29, 2018

8 Student Personality Types in Distance Learning Part 1

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I was taking advantage of some down time, cleaning out some of my old files on my computer, when I ran across a great article I saved that covered student personality types. When I originally read this article, I only had several years of experience working in the distance-learning realm. Now, years later, I have seen all these student types at one time or another, and throughout the years, noticed several others worthy of mention.


balanced feedback September 10, 2018

The Need for Balanced Feedback

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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.