What?

What do online graduate students want from instructors? Just ask them.

Instructional strategies for online learning are a frequent topic of these posts, for good reason. A well designed online course relies on an intentional approach to learning supported by evidence and learning theory. Formative feedback , authentic learning , and instructor presence are examples of instructional strategies that are well-supported and effective for online learning. Using the right instructional strategies to…

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Writing Discussion Forum Prompts

Discussion forums are a hallmark of asynchronous online courses like those at UNE. Previous posts on this site have offered an excellent introduction to Best Practices for Discussion Board Facilitation , and an overview of current conversations around learning outcomes and instructional implications of online discussion forums. In this post, I aim to provide a closer look by offering practical tips for writing discussion forum prompts and instructor posts…

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Blackboard Releases Results from Usage Study

Blackboard Learn. North America. Spring 2016. 927 Institutions 70,000 Courses. 3,374,462 unique learners. The most recent Blackboard usage study  casts a much wider net than has been their scope in the past. Titled “Patterns in Course Design,” the learning management system heavyweight released an interpretation on the current environment of course design. By crunching the aggregate data across their broad sample,…

Tips for Strengthening Your Course Narrative

A good story generally contains the following elements: Protagonist: The hero (or anti-hero) of the narrative. Central premise: The argument or thesis of the story. Backstory: The context of the story. Conflict: The challenges faced by the protagonist. Narrative arc: The chronological movement of the story. Should any of these be missing, readers will find…

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Using Course Announcements to Maximize Instructor Presence

Research shows that online students appreciate a strong instructor presence. Online instructors who leave regular digital footprints in their classes show that they are actively engaged and committed to supporting student success. In addition to discussion boards and assignment feedback, course announcements provide an excellent opportunity for instructors to maximize their online presence while also…

Engagement and Interactivity in Online Lectures: Exploring TED-Ed

In the best circumstances, a lecture attended in person is an exercise in engagement and interactivity as well as instruction. Understandably, this too is what we strive for in online education, but we are presented with additional hurdles. The instruction being given is prerecorded, has already happened, and cannot be influenced in real time by…

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Learning Styles: How we engage with the world

If you have been following this blog, just a few months ago, we wrote about common learning styles and what effect they have on learners and teaching methods and practices, and that to a large extent these are not well-evidenced in either science or practice, but for some reason have a wide acceptance. Today, we are tackling a different take on learning styles – rather learning preferences in…

Gamification – An Implementation of Immersive Role Playing

Former colleagues of mine, Robert Prince and Owen Guthrie of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, developed a journalism course wherein the professor constructed the lesson plan to mimic the internal organization of a struggling newspaper. The students in the course were new hires looking to climb the professional ladder he’d constructed for them, from intern…