Revisiting the Distracted Mind

As both an online student and an instructional designer, I find myself thinking about attention spans often. Last year, I wrote a post here about harnessing the distracted mind, in which I offered tools and methods for staying focused, even when hilarious YouTube videos or brilliant longreads are just one browser tab away. What I’ve come to realize over the past…

Carrot and stick motivation

How to stay motivated in an online class

As human beings, our behaviors and our goals are bridged by many factors, a major one being motivation. In essence, the more motivated we are, the more likely we are to act towards the goal. Similarly, as motivation diminishes, so does performance. In the context of online learning, sustaining motivation is vital in committing to…

Writing effective emails

A Story of Two Emails: Using best practices to construct an effective email

Email. When it comes to communication it is the best and worst of tools. Most of the time it’s quick and easy. While we all know and accept that occasional typos will happen, there are a few ‘mistakes’ that are truly unforgivable. As you might expect, online graduate students use email to correspond with their…

group project

6 Communication Rules for Success in Online Student Groups

“In this course you will have a group project…” I think it is fair to say we’ve all been let down by a working group or by individual team members. No matter the setting, there seems to be an aura of dread when group projects are announced.  Add in the fact that online graduate students…

The Scholar-Practitioner: Bridging the Gap between Research and Profession

Teaching teachers to teach is about as meta as it comes. But how do we best prepare professional educators to teach students who will likely work in jobs that haven’t yet been created? One answer to that question may very well lie in research. Research has long been a cornerstone of graduate education, but the…

whiteboard, dry erase

What Happens in Those Writing Support Appointments Anyway?

The paper you’re reading has lost you: the commas are out of control, the word choices are weird, and that last paragraph doesn’t seem to have a point. It can be hard to know if lack of time was the culprit or if the student has not yet mastered the writing skills needed to express…

mac and paper

Think pen and paper are obsolete? Think again.

In distance education, many students type lecture notes on their computers, rather than writing on paper. After all, students use laptops to watch lectures, answer assessment questions, and participate in class discussions. It’s only natural to use the same device for taking notes, too, right? Not so fast. Last year, Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M.…

Large lecture hall at UNE, instructional design

UNE Instructional Design: demonstrating excellence in online graduate education

What is Instructional Design? Very broadly, Instructional Design is the process by which instructional materials are designed, developed, and delivered. It’s the job of the Instructional Designer to coordinate learning experiences that are efficient, effective, and appealing. The terms instructional design, instructional technology, educational technology, curriculum design, and instructional systems design (ISD), are often used interchangeably. Instructional design…

online student time management

Using Google Docs as Online Student

Among the things that online students point out as the most important to success are time management and staying motivated ( see all the seven factors listed in this Educause article ). Clearly, it’s easy to get side-tracked if you don’t have to go to a class at a particular scheduled time – remember this was actually the best thing about asynchronous classes when you signed…