Adult learners typically have very specific reasons for taking online courses and are usually highly motivated. They also bring a wealth of experience. However, being away from formal learning and having to adapt to the online learning environment can be quite challenging even for the most motivated and intelligent students.
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
Online Assessment, Grading, and Feedback
An integral part of nearly all online classes is the threaded discussion—it is where students interact on a nearly daily basis, posting their thoughts and information on main discussion topics, your postings, and the postings of other students. While you have measured control over the content, length, and tone of student postings, you have full control over your own.
International student and online course enrollments had noted increases for 2010 at U.S. tertiary institutions (Institute of International Education, 2010 & Sloan-C, 2010). These enrollment data remind us that U.S. campuses are continually becoming more culturally and internationally diverse in their student populations. However, this diversity may not always be apparent in the increasing numbers of students taking online courses as the instructor-student interaction is not face-to-face as in seated classes. The latter interaction allows for more awareness of students’ cultural differences and any immediate adjustment in verbal and non-verbal communication as the need arises.
When I first began teaching online, I believed that anytime students wrote anything, they should be held accountable for both spelling and grammar and my discussion rubric reflected that. As a result, I got very brief, very stiff, very formal discussion posts in which students were clearly speaking to me rather than to each other.
The intermediate statistics class I took quite a number of years ago had two types of learners at the outset—those who were worried about passing the course and those who were sure they couldn’t pass it. The professor clearly understood the “fear-of-stats” phenomenon and used a number of instructional techniques to help learners gain confidence and skills.
I have always enjoyed teaching in the classroom environment. There is something special about watching a student’s eyes light up as a new concept changes perceptions. When I first taught in the online environment, I wondered how I would communicate with students without seeing them in person. Would they get my assignments? Would they understand the requirements? Could they produce the level of work I expected? Could we overcome the potential miscommunications of the written word?
Shortcomings of an online course are not always obvious to the person who created it or teaches it. That is why it is helpful to seek other sources of information to determine whether a course is meeting its objectives. Mary Hricko, library director and associate professor of library and media services at Kent State University Geauga Campus and Twinsburg Center, recommends doing this in the following three ways:
Even the most experienced educators can feel overwhelmed when they teach their first hybrid or fully online course. On top of dealing with the time and space constraints of asynchronous learning, there are so many different tools to learn. Tools, it seems, that all of their students either know how to use or master very quickly.
Multiple-choice tests are commonly used to assess achievement of learning objectives because they can be efficient. Despite their widespread use, they’re often poorly designed. Poorly
Preparing students for the online learning experience and managing expectations are critical to student satisfaction, says Marie Gould, assistant professor and program manager of Business