Disclaimer: No animals were harmed while writing this blog.
Do you find yourself wondering whether your online students are really learning? Whether they are really getting it? During face-to-face classes, an instructor often can use visual cues, such as a puzzled look or a nodding head from a student, to gauge whether students are understanding a certain concept. If they don’t, an instructor has the flexibility to easily explain the concept again or even change the lesson’s activities to ensure that students get it. But what if you are teaching online and can’t always see these visual clues?
Generating discussion in the online classroom can often be a difficult process, especially for those used to facilitating in a more traditional manner. Many learning platforms offer limited opportunities for faculty-student interaction and some instructors often wonder how to best engage students in asynchronous learning environments. Others are concerned with whether or not students will be able to effectively demonstrate subject knowledge given the limited opportunities for face-to-face interaction. Despite the occasionally restrictive nature of the online learning environment, it is possible to engage and interact with students but it is imperative that facilitators understand how to incorporate meaningful discussion into the online classroom.
We want our students to develop those higher order thinking skills that are so crucial to developing those much talked about 21st Century Skills including the ability to think critically, synthesize, and evaluate. The development of these skills is essential for students to complete their degree programs, and enable them as citizens to be able to solve the complex problems facing our society in the future. As the Critical Thinking Foundation points out, “…as students learn to think more critically, they become more proficient at historical, scientific, and mathematical thinking. They develop skills, abilities, and values critical to success in everyday life.”
Should an instructor offer extra credit? Some education professionals hold the notion that giving extra credit is unfair and inflates grades. Others insist that students should earn their grades based only on expected work. The decision to offer extra credit can be difficult and ultimately comes down to the instructor’s personal education philosophy, the expectations set by the institution, and how the extra credit contributes to the value of the educational experience.
A syllabus quiz acts as a contract to verify understanding of important elements of the syllabus. The purpose of a syllabus quiz is not only to familiarize students with the syllabus content, but also gives students a chance to reflect on questions that were asked in previous terms. This helps the instructor avoid answering the same questions repeatedly, and a syllabus quiz can ensure that students are responsible for their own learning.
In these Pearson produced videos, instructors Meredith Carpenter, Steve Lurenz, and Tom Stoudt discuss how they flip, create community, and change lives in their respective classrooms. Specifically, they mention:
- the fail-safe learning environment of the flipped classroom. In a flipped classroom, the students can’t “do something wrong” as the instructor is there as a guide to redirect.
- that online learning success is when the students come together as an online learning community with common goals.
- the flexibility that the online environment affords the student the opportunity to review material repeatedly until either the student understands the concept or can compose an intelligent question.
View more: The Voices of Online Learning
“Wait, are we already that far into the semester? There is so much left to do in so little time!“
If this is a constant thought on your mind, or an all-familiar expression in recent conversations with other faculty and instructors, we might be nearing an crucial waypoint in the semester (e.g., midterm, holidays). Although it is tempting to be overwhelmed by the approaching deadlines and all the content that needs to be covered, this time also offers an opportunity to address other important elements of teaching and to check in with your students (Chickering & Gamson, 1987).
About 40 staff members at Arizona State University have the words Instructional Design or Instructional Designer in their job title. Even though there are a lot of them about (and some have been at ASU for quite a long time), for many of us, the full range of what Instructional Designers do may be unknown. We asked a large group of ASU Instructional Designers and Technologists to tell us about the work they do and here is what we discovered.
Embedding video in a course can be a messy process. There are a lot of steps and if you use videos from multiple platforms, there is little consistency in size and format. This can quickly make a course media page look like it was put together by Dr. Frankenstein. Read More
In this video, Dr. Heather Farmakis and Dr. Melissa Kaulbach discuss proven effective strategies for retaining students in online programs. Read More