Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Online Education

How Much Multimedia Should You Add to PowerPoint Slides When Teaching Online?

PowerPoint is versatile in allowing us to add multimedia (graphics, sound, audio, video, text, animation, etc.) to our presentations for keeping online students’ rapt attention. But how much multimedia should you add? In answering this question, I find that taking into consideration students’ learning styles and cultural/international backgrounds can help to lessen the risk of using too much or too little multimedia in your online PPTs.

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How to Design Effective Online Group Work Activities

There are many reasons why students don’t like group work, and in the online classroom the list of reasons grows even longer as the asynchronous nature of online courses not only makes collaboration more difficult but almost counterintuitive.

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Observing Online Instruction: View of Instructors and Students

The tremendous growth of online learning has been spurred by improved student access, the increased rate of degree completion, and the growth of varied and/or professional education1 (Seaman and Allen, 2008). For long-term success in online education , institutions must establish an overall program composed of recruitment, training, scheduling, and mentoring. They also need a system for evaluating and observing faculty to ensure that course standards are maintained and courses are taught within institutional policies.

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Improving Online Learning, part 2

Editor’s Note: In Tuesday’s post, the author explained how he used streaming media to enhance the delivery of his online course content. In this post, he discusses the impact on student learning, and answers the question … Was it worth the extra work?

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Integrating Social Media into Online Education

Many people take it on faith that online education must be run through a learning management system (LMS) like Blackboard, Angel, etc. Those systems were originally designed to allow faculty to move their courses online without having to learn HTML coding. They provided all of the tools needed to deliver an online course in one package.

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Improving Online Learning, part 1

Instructors have a myriad of technological tools available to enhance online instruction, such as blogs, wikis, and streaming audio and video. I have been particularly interested in streaming audio and video to deliver course content in a dynamic mode that captures the energy of the traditional classroom presentation while taking advantage of the Web’s functionality to combine text, audio, and images. However, given the significant time it takes to design and create a presentation for streaming over the Web, I have wondered whether the time commitment is justified by the learning benefit for students. Do bells and whistles enhance learning online?

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Distance Education: The Centralization vs. Decentralization Debate

The debate for “control” of distance education at institutions of higher learning continues. On one side, the administration side, there is a need for centralization of operations, to include course development, instructor training and development, scheduling, evaluation, and student and faculty issues. On the other side of the debate, faculty leaders (deans, department chairs, program coordinators) tend to favor decentralization.

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Humor in Online Classrooms: New Ways to Learn and Laugh

Humor, whether in the form of jokes, riddles, puns, funny stories, humorous comments or other humorous items, builds a bond between the instructor and students; bridging the student-teacher gap by allowing students to view the instructor as more approachable. A number of researchers have found that humor is instrumental in creating an inviting classroom environment, reducing stress, improving attention, enhancing learning, creating a positive emotional and social environment, reducing anxiety, enhancing self-esteem, and increasing self-motivation.

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Providing Multiple Paths for Learning

Students come to an online course with different interests, prior knowledge, and preferred learning styles. This is something that Stephen Holland, chair of the English department at Muscatine Community College and online learning and training associate at the Eastern Iowa Community College District, takes into account whenever he creates or seeks to improve an online course.

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