Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Online Education

Is There Too Much Interaction in Your Online Courses?

Interaction has always been seen as a key component of an online course. Whether it is student-student or student-teacher interaction, the ability to discuss and exchange ideas has long been considered to be the piece that adds value to an online course, keeping it from becoming simply the posting of written course material on a web page, the digital equivalent of a correspondence course. In fact, many programs promote the highly interactive nature of their curriculum as evidence of its educational value.

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Helping Online Students Connect with Business Leaders

Providing students with mentors can be an effective way for students to learn directly from experts in real-world situations. It’s a technique used widely in face-to-face courses, and it can work in online courses as well. Al Widman, professor of management and business administration at Berkeley College, has matched students with practitioner mentors in his online undergraduate non-profit management course.

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Ensuring Online Course Quality Requires Constant Vigilance

Online programs are under a microscope. Some school faculty and administrators are concerned with maintaining academic quality, while others have already identified problems with quality and integrity. Negative media exposure has caused accreditors and other stakeholders to scrutinize online learning, and college and university administrators know that they need to respond.

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Using Synchronous Tools to Build Community in the Asynchronous Online Classroom

Sometimes students in the online environment just need that extra nudge to feel connected in order to truly excel. As instructors, we can facilitate community-building in an asynchronous environment by utilizing synchronous tools, such as Wimba, Skype, Elluminate, and others available to us via our learning management system or outside of the LMS.

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Get Your Online Course Off to a Good Start

The beginning of an online course is a critical time in which the instructor establishes expectations, sets the tone, and helps students navigate the course. Here are some points to consider for the time leading up to and including that first week:

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What Are Students Telling You by the Questions They Ask?

A few years ago I had a student, one of the best in her high school class, who told me she hadn’t completed an online college-credit course because she was afraid of the “system,” which she thought was too anonymous and impersonal. Online instructors have to be able to spot such worries and spot them early, and then help students overcome their fears.

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The Underbelly of Online Teaching

No matter how much we embrace and enjoy online teaching, the human frailties of mistakes, disappointment, anger, frustration, and oversights will come calling each time we teach a class. And when any of these happen we can respond with an emotional and unchecked action—never good—or we can accept that these negatives will always be part of our online teaching efforts and learn how to deal with them in a sensible, appropriate manner. What follows are the most common of the negative issues one will find when teaching online.

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Distance Education Administrators Face Unique Challenges

Distance education administrators must constantly juggle concerns about academic integrity, technology, and student access, along with campus politics and their own learning curve. Fred Lokken is chairman of the Instructional Technology Council and associate dean for teaching technologies at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nev. As part of an ITC Conference panel, he and his colleagues considered some of the challenges that distance education administrators face

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