The online learning environment offers great potential for individualized learning. One way to achieve this is through adaptive hypermedia—using learner use patterns to adapt course presentation, navigation, and content to suit individual students’ needs and preferences.
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At the heart of every online course is the discussion forum. This is where ideas, information, and new material are shared, discussed, analyzed, built upon,
Online instructors receive poor evaluations for any number of reasons, including lack of experience, inadequate training, and poor communication skills. Other times, the poor reviews are more reflective of the course design than the instructor who’s teaching the course. That distinction is unimportant to the students.
It’s not easy to get unanimous agreement on anything these days, but on this most educators can agree:
- An instructor’s personality impacts student learning;
- More is learned in a class than just course content; and
- It can be difficult to show your personality in an online course.
Student participation is perhaps the biggest challenge of teaching online courses, says Deborah Raines, professor and director of the Accelerated Second-Degree BSN Program at Florida
“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
Cognitive engagement is important to student success in any learning environment. However, cognitive engagement takes on more significance in the online learning environment, where students learn in a physically isolated environment and often lack elements that typically engage students in the face-to-face classroom.
What is the best way to train and support a beginning online faculty member? At some colleges, the only option is on site training held on the campus over a day, a weekend, or a period of days during the summer. These on-site workshops, while potentially very effective, commit the faculty members to time, travel, and often inflexible scheduling. However, Berkeley College, with campuses in New York and New Jersey, has designed an online faculty workshop and set of training and support tools to complement its other professional development offerings.