What makes a learning experience for online students truly remarkable? We recently surveyed a group of ASU faculty to identify course design and facilitation elements they believe help to create remarkable learning experiences for online students. For this article, we’ll review online teaching recommendations the faculty shared in the survey. An article on course design recommendations from ASU faculty is also available. Continue reading →
What makes a learning experience for online students truly remarkable? We recently surveyed a group of ASU faculty in order to identify course design and facilitation elements they believe help to create remarkable learning experiences for online students. For this article, we’ll review course design recommendations the faculty shared in the survey. An article listing online teaching recommendations is also available. Continue reading →
“How do you prevent cheating in online courses?” Since 1995, when the ASU Online instructional design team first started working with faculty to develop online courses, this is one of the most common questions we’ve received.
At ASU Online, our aim is to preserve the integrity of our students, and the credibility and rigor of our degree programs, which requires keen attention to academic integrity.
We provide the following resources in an effort to minimize opportunities for cheating and promote academic integrity in online courses.Continue reading →
With accessibility to online education increasing, the retention of online students has become a concern of academic leaders in higher education (Allen & Seaman, 2015). As a result, many universities have launched initiatives to improve course completion, program completion, and student support services (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2015). Although many causes for students withdrawing from an online course are beyond the realm of instructor control, retention and attrition can be reduced through various means. Continue reading →
This is the third article in our series on Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) which can be used to gauge lesson effectiveness and student comprehension. To review, CATs were developed by Angelo and Cross (1983) to efficiently check whether students understand a certain concept. For more examples of these formative assessments, please see our previous posts:
In this article, we will present three CATs focusing on developing Higher Order Thinking Skills (see Collins, 2014) and that can also be used face-to-face, hybrid, or online teaching. Continue reading →
The ability to establish presence is closely connected to the ability of the instructor to create a sense of community among learners in an online course. (Palloff & Pratt, The Excellent Online Instructor, 2011)
Research has long pointed to engagement as a key predictor of student success (Pascarella & Terenzini (2005), Kuh, (2005) CITE). Fortunately, new online learning environments and tools (see ASU Online Digital Learning Platform) provide a variety of opportunities for students to engage not only with course content, but during student-student and student-interaction as well. (Swan, 2004) Continue reading →
Faculty, instructors, graduate students, and staff from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) recently met for the 3rd CLAS Demofest to showcase innovative teaching practices across diverse content areas. For this semester’s event, eight presenters from seven different departments and schools in CLAS shared and discussed their teaching, spanning a variety of course formats (face-to-face, blended, online) and different student enrollment (large lecture courses, small undergraduate and graduate seminars, etc.). Continue reading →
With finals week coming to an end and grading about to be completed, it is only natural to make a mad dash for the door and enjoy a well-deserved break. There is no question that we all need a break to relax and find inspiration, but before heading out, keep in mind that there is a good chance that you will have to return and teach the same or a similar course again. To save time in the future and perhaps “tweak” some elements of the course, consider the following five things successful instructors do when the semester is over.
1. Reflect on the Course
Reflection is not only an important aspect of student learning but also offers an opportunity for faculty to seek insights from past teaching experiences. At the end-of-the semester, when the memories are still fresh, take a few moments to reflect on the course (e.g., what went well, what did not?). It is helpful to write down a few notes to avoid forgetting important details over the break. As an alternative, one can also discuss the course with a colleague, a friend, or instructional support at the university.
2. Make a Plan
As an essential part of reflection, certain topics or issues emerge that one would like to address in future courses. Since there might be multiple options or solutions, it is good to brainstorm on potential actions one might undertake. Occasionally, this might require talking to others or finding additional information and resources. Then, it is time to select an option and make a plan! One recommended method is to identify required steps and develop a timeline (e.g., What are some steps that need to be done? By what time?). Depending on the number of topics, it might be necessary to prioritize.
3. Archive the Course
Many Learning Management Systems (LMS) provide the option to archive a course which could come in handy when teaching again. Instead of starting from scratch, one has a version that is already developed and potentially reusable. The archived course is also a good place to make any changes without impacting enrolled students. Additionally, many universities are now making teaching portfolios a critical component of degree programs or tenure requirements. Certain LMS allow to share the archived versions without revealing confidential student information.
4. Ask Students for Permission
Student artifacts are a powerful and helpful resource that can be used as a model for future students or as proof of student learning. To avoid any privacy or copyright concerns, the end-of-the-semester is a good time to ask students for their written permission for sharing those artifacts with outsiders.
5. Take Time Off
Although it might be tempting to continuously “tweak” a course, it is also important to relax and focus on other aspects of life. Taking time off generally helps to finds new inspiration and motivation for the next semester. It is completely fine to avoid thinking about teaching for some time to find time to read a book or explore places… as long as one remembers that the next semester is right around the corner.
Do you do anything at the end-of-the-semester that helps with your future teaching? Please share your tips with our community.
This post further breaks down some of the activities of Instructional Designers mentioned in the previous TeachOnline post, Introducing the ASU Instructional Designer, and discusses the importance of the relationship between the faculty and instructional designer.
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.