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:
Online Course Delivery and Instruction
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.
Students with disabilities are drawn to online courses for many of the same reasons as everyone else, but it’s often the anonymity that makes learning
The cliché that you only get one chance to make a first impression is especially true when you teach online. Each item you post—email, discussion message, announcement, etc.—must be created with much thought, and none is more important than the first post to your class.
“There is no personal interaction between student and teacher…the spontaneity of teaching is lost…the only rapport exists in exchanging bits and bytes of info.”
Perhaps you’ve heard someone make this objection to online learning? Or even uttered it yourself?
My answer to this is very simple: hogwash.
No one doubts the assertion that online students are more likely to be successful if they feel connected to their instructor and fellow students, but
Why are you interested in improving your courses and instruction?
That was the question posed to attendees to kick off the online seminar Five Steps to Improve Your Online Courses and Instruction by presenter Dr. Patti Shank. Most of the respondents selected as their answers “to better support students” or “I hope this will reduce some of the hassles of teaching online.” A few of the more honest ones chose “I’m expected to do this” and a couple more came because they “need to address specific problems.”
Helping faculty learn to survive and even thrive online is critical if we are to realize the potential of this new learning space. During a
Instant messaging can be an effective online learning tool that can build community and foster collaborative learning. The following are some suggestions from Debby Kilburn, computer science professor at Cero Coso Community College, for making the most of this tool.
In course evaluations, 90 percent of the students in John Thompson’s graduate-level education courses at the University of San Diego indicated that the online learning experience was as good as or better than the traditional classroom and 91 percent would take another online course.