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:
As a very young teacher, I remember pulling all-nighters to get my students’ essays back within the one-week limit I set for myself. Even in those days this “cram grading” was miserable and exhausting; but now at 50—especially with the added responsibilities of husband, father, and homeowner—this style of grading papers is all but impossible.
“Do we really need to buy the textbook? It’s so expensive!”
“Can’t you just summarize it for us?”
“Would you just tell us what parts will be on the exam?”
“It was so long and so boring. I couldn’t get through it!”
If you’ve worked in higher education long enough, you’ve already had this experience. A supervisor or member of your institution’s governing board calls an administrative retreat, and there, following the inevitable icebreakers, brainstorming, and team-building exercises, you are presented with the “bold new paradigm” that is to determine how you are to reorganize your unit, “reconceptualize” your leadership style, or modify every policy and procedure that is already in place. Someone, it seems, has been reading a management book and has bought into a new approach to how you should do your job.
One of the biggest changes in recent years has been the adoption of student-centered instruction. Here are a few tips for taking this approach to teaching in your online courses:
A survey of senior campus officials responsible for managing online and distance education programs revealed some interesting findings, including almost half of the participants not knowing whether their program is profitable.
Tuesday’s post discussed the goals and core practices of effective learning communities. Today we outline elements of sustainable learning communities as well as some of the challenges of learning community development.
There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned all-day orientation program to get new academic leaders acclimated and ready to tackle the challenges of their new positions, right? Wrong.