Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Online Education

Selecting Online Learning Technologies: An Interview with Tony Bates

With so many technologies available to enhance online learning, it’s important to choose wisely. In an interview with Online Classroom, Tony Bates, an e-learning and distance education planning and management consultant, offered some insights on what to consider when making technology choices. We offer an excerpt of that interview here.

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Cultivating Stronger Relationships with Online Faculty through an On-Campus Visitation Program

Strategic relationships build strong commitment and a measurably higher expectation of compliance in all areas, including institutions of higher learning. Columbia Southern University (CSU), a fully online institution, developed an on-campus visitation program in the spring of 2011, inviting groups of faculty to attend a one-day or two-day event for the purpose of connecting faculty to their campus support structure.

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The How, Why, and When of Posting Resources in the Online Classroom

Resources—that amalgam of nearly anything and everything related to the subjects we teach and offered to our students as “extras”—give students a broader, deeper, and enhanced understanding of what they are being taught. Resources come in a variety of forms and often reflect our deep interest in our specialties. Sharing them in the online classroom gives students a better learning experience.

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Creating an Ongoing Feedback Loop with Your Students

Feedback is often given to students after the fact. After they completed their assignments, and after they turned in their exams. Likewise, faculty receive feedback from students in much the same fashion. After a paper is late because they didn’t know how to submit it electronically, after they dug a grading hole that will be difficult to climb out of, or after the course has ended.

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The Online Educator’s Complete Guide to Grading Assignments, Part 2

On Tuesday, I provided general suggestions on course-based grading expectations practices. Here I share some ideas for grading specific assignments.

Use a bank of comments that are precise, detailed, and clear. The smart online educator is the one who has a bank of comments from which he/she can draw on to give students feedback on any number of items in the course. But there are two important items here that will make these precast comments most effective: 1) Have comments point out not only when something is wrong but also why it is wrong and how to get it right. In this manner, each comment becomes a mini teacher’s aide in the assignment. 2) Adjust (personalize) any comment as is necessary when your comment as written does not exactly match the problem you see in the student’s assignment. This way each comment is a perfect fit for the error, allowing the student to learn more fully.

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The Online Educator’s Complete Guide to Grading Assignments, Part 1

Students know that in any online course assignments will be required, and students expect the online educator to read the assignments and give feedback that can help them improve their understanding of the subject and improve grades on future assignments in the course. All instructors give feedback—but there is an approach to grading assignments that is merely okay, and another that involves grading mini lessons in the subject matter while also motivating the students to do better. It is this latter approach that must be practiced so that the student can do the maximum learning in the online environment.

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Making Online PowerPoint Content Engaging: Writing a Narration Script

Giving your students PowerPoint slides with only text or graphics is a problem because slides, even with text and graphics on them, really do not stand alone. It’s hard to add enough context without adding tons of text to explain what’s on the slide. And, well, PowerPoint isn’t really the right media for tons of text. If you want students to do a lot of reading, you really should provide students with printed or downloadable print materials.

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Media Richness and Communication in Online Education

Communicating in an online environment, especially within the confines of an institution’s learning management system (LMS) and an academic budget, often poses a challenge to even the most well-intentioned instructors. Many times we find ourselves constrained not by our imaginations or abilities but by the technological tools we have at our disposal. Given the systems in which we work, how do we select the best technological tool—the best medium—to communicate a message? One framework for answering these questions is through the lens of Media Richness Theory (MRT).

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