pdf viewer in mvc c# : How to copy and paste image from pdf to word software Library cloud windows .net asp.net class Ten%20Principles%20of%20Effective%20Online%20Teaching0-part1717

Featuring content from
AMAGNA
PUBLICATION
10 Principles of Effective
Online Teaching:
Best Practices in
Distance Education
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10PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:BestPracticesinDistanceEducation•www.FacultyFocus.com
10 Principles of Effective Online Teaching:
Best Practices in Distance Education
Inthetraditionalcollegeclassroomtoday,facultyandstudentsarrivewithacertainsetof
expectations,shapedlargelybypastexperiences.Andalthoughstudentsmayneedtheocca-
sional(orperhapsfrequent)reminderofwhat’srequiredofthem,there’susuallysomething
veryfamiliarabouttheexperienceforbothfacultyandstudentsalike.
Intheonlineclassroom,anentirelynewsetofvariablesenterstheequation.It’salittlelike
tryingtodriveinaforeigncountry.Youknowhowtodrive,justlikeyouknowhowtoteach,
butitsureishardtogetthehangofdrivingontheleftsideoftheroad,you’renotquitesure
howfarakilometeris,anddarnitifthoseroadsignsaren’tallinJapanese.
Thisspecialreportexplainsthe“rulesoftheroad”foronlineteachingandlearningand
featuresaseriesofcolumnsthatfirstappearedintheDistanceEducationReport’s“Between
theClicks,”apopularcolumnbyDr.LawrenceC.Ragan,DirectorofInstructionalDesignand
DevelopmentforPennState’sWorldCampus.
Thearticlescontainedinthereportwillhelpyouestablishonlineinstructorbestpracticesand
expectations,andincludethefollowingprinciplesofeffectiveonlineteaching:
•ShowUpandTeach
•PracticeProactiveCourseManagementStrategies
•EstablishPatternsofCourseActivities
•PlanfortheUnplanned
•ResponseRequestedandExpected
•ThinkBeforeYouWrite
•HelpMaintainForwardProgress
•SafeandSecure
•QualityCounts
•(Double)ClickaMileonMyConnection
Theseprinciples,developedatPennState’sWorldCampus,outlinethecorebehaviorsofthe
successfulonlineinstructor,andhelptodefineparametersaroundtheinvestmentoftimeon
partoftheinstructor.Inhisarticles,Raganidentifiespotentialbarriersandlimitationsto
onlinelearning,andspecificstrategiestoassistinstructorsinachievingtheperformance
expectations.
ChristopherHill
Editor
DistanceEducationReport
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10PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:BestPracticesinDistanceEducation•www.FacultyFocus.com
Table of Contents
EstablishingOnlineInstructorPerformanceBestPracticesandExpectations..............................................................4
PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:#1ShowupandTeach ..................................................................................5
PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:#2PracticeProactiveCourseManagementStrategies....................................7
PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:#3EstablishPatternsofCourseActivities......................................................9
PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:#4PlanfortheUnplanned............................................................................11
PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:#5ResponseRequestedandExpected..........................................................13
PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:#6ThinkBeforeYouWrite ........................................................................15
PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:#7HelpMaintainForwardProgress ............................................................17
PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:#8SafeandSecures ....................................................................................19
PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:#9QualityCounts........................................................................................21
PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:#10(Double)ClickaMileonMyConnection ..............................................23
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10PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:BestPracticesinDistanceEducation•www.FacultyFocus.com
I
wasrecentlyinvitedtoconducta
Magnaonlineseminarbasedona
researchprojectidentifyingstrate-
giestohelpfacultymanagetheonline
workload.Apparentlythistopichita
nerveofconcernforfaculty,support
staffandadministratorsalike.The
responsetothepresentation
suggestedthiswasanimportantarea
forfurtherexplorationanddevelop-
ment.Thepresentationgenerated
manymorequestionsthanIwasable
toaddressduringtheprogram.
Helpingfacultylearntosurviveand
eventhriveonlineiscriticalifweare
torealizethepotentialofthisnew
learningspace.Thiscolumnwillbe
myattempttoteaseoutthemost
criticalofthequestionsIreceived,to
reflectandrespond,andtosharemy
insightsonavarietyoftopics.Ihope
youwillfinditinformativeand
helpful.
Communicatingexpectations
Duringthepresentation,Imade
referencetoastrategythataninstitu-
tioncanemploytohelpfacultysave
timeonline.Ireferredtoadocument
createdattheWorldCampusasthe
“10commandments”offacultyper-
formance.Simplyput,itisthearticu-
lationofwhatourorganization
expectsfromouronlineinstructorsin
ordertoensureaqualityteachingand
learningexperience.Althoughthis
mayinitiallysoundlikea“heavy
handed”approach—facultybeingtold
howtoperform—Iwouldoffer
anotherinterpretation.
Whenwestepintoaphysical
classroomwearesteppingintoa
time-testedmodelwithwell-defined
operatingparameters.Thereisaclass
scheduleandsyllabusthattellsme
whentomeetwithmyclass,forhow
long,andeventheroomlocation.
Thereareasetoffamiliartoolssuch
asachalkboard,apodiumand
seatingforthestudents.Thereisalso
aninheritedprotocolofclassroomex-
perience—Iamtheteacherandyou
arethestudent.Webothroughlyun-
derstandthedynamicsoftheinterac-
tionsofthisarrangement.My
responsibilityasthecourseinstructor
istoshowupinthedesignated
location,andconductthecourseto
thebestofmyabilitythroughtosuc-
cessfulcompletionforthestudents.
Theresponsibilityofthelearneristo
meetthecriteriaforsatisfactory
coursecompletionasmeasuredbythe
instructor.
Theasynchronousonlineclassroom
haslittleornosimilaritytothe
classroomexperience.Theremaybe
no“classschedule,”nomeetingroom
orphysicallocation,and,certainlyin
theasynchronousclassroom,no
definedtimeframeforoperation.Even
thedynamicsbetweenteacherand
studentischallengedbecauseonline
wecanallappearto“beequal.”
Otherthanavaguesenseofresponsi-
bilityto“teachthecourse,”thein-
structorhaslittledefinitionofthese
newandoftenill-definedoperating
parameters.Thecourseinstructoris
leftontheirowntofigureoutwhat
constitutesasuccessfullearning
experience.
ManyyearsagoIwasinafaculty
meetingandwewerediscussingthe
issueofdefininginstructorperform-
ance.Iwassoft-sellingtheideaof
definingthesebehaviorsforfearof
insultingourfaculty.Onesenior
faculty,wellversedinthedomainof
onlineeducation,respondedtomy
approachbysaying,“ifyoudon’ttell
uswhatisexpected,howwillwe
knowwhattodotosucceed?”His
pointwaswelltaken.Althoughwe
assumethatfacultyknowsomething
oftheface-to-facelearningsetting,we
cannotassumethatknowledgetrans-
latestotheonlineclassroom.Itisour
responsibilitytoprovidetheinstructor
withthebestdefinitionofsuccessful
performancefortheirsuccessandthe
successoftheirstudents.
Clearlydefiningandcommunicating
theexpectedperformancebehaviors
foronlineinstructorssavesfaculty
timebecauseiteliminatesuncertainty
Establishing Online Instructor
Performance Best Practices and
Expectations
ByLawrenceC.Ragan,PhD.
PAGE5
Oneseniorfaculty,well
versedinthedomainofonline
education,respondedtomy
approachbysaying,“ifyou
don’ttelluswhatisexpected,
howwillweknowwhattodo
tosucceed?”Hispointwas
welltaken.
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5
aboutrolesandresponsibilities.
Thesesuggestedguidelines,basedon
bestpracticesgatheredthroughexpe-
rience,serveasabenchmarkfor
facultytogaugetheironlinecourse
activitiesandmanagetheironline
workload.Theintentofthe“Online
InstructorPerformanceBestPractices
andExpectations”(or“10
Commandments”)document
generatedbytheWorldCampusis
notmeanttobeall-inclusivebut
rathertodefineabaselineofonline
performance.
Inrecentdiscussionsaroundthis
topicweacknowledgedthisisan
evolvingdocumentbasedonwhat
weandourfacultyhaveexperienced
inouronlineactivities.Myintentin
sharingthisdocumentmorebroadly
istotestourbasicassumptionsand
refineourthinking.Iwelcomeinput
andinsightsintothisdocumentand
knowthatitwillevolveandchange
overtime.Additionally,eachinstitu-
tionororganizationmustreviewand
considerhowtheseexpectationsare
interpretedwithintheoperating
contextoftheirownonlineprogram.
TheapproachIwilltakeoverthe
nextseveralcolumnswillbeto
expandonthe10principlesoutlined
inthedocument,providinga
rationale,identificationofbarriers
andlimitations,andspecificstrate-
giestoassistinstructorsinachieving
theperformanceexpectations.
Dr.LawrenceC.Raganisthe
DirectorofInstructionalDesignand
DevelopmentforPennState’sWorld
Campus.
I
nthepreviousarticle,Iintroduced
theneedtoeffectivelydefineand
communicateforinstructorswhat
itisexpectedintheonlineclassroom.
Thisisbasedonthepremisethat,for
manyinstructors,theonlineteaching
andlearningenvironmentisdifferent
fromtheface-to-faceeducational
setting.Often,instructorsteachinthe
face-to-facesettingthewaytheywere
taught.Thatis,theyusesimilarin-
structionalstrategiesasinstructorsas
thosetheyengagedinaslearners.
Thiscanbeagoodthingiftheyex-
periencedsoundinstructionalstrate-
giesduringtheirformativeyears.
Mostwouldagreehowever,thatour
ownlearningcameineducational
settingsthatweresometimeslessthan
optimal.So,manyinstructorsendup
repeatingthesamemistakesastheir
professors.Now,overlaythenew
dynamicsoftheonlineclassroom.
Whatweknowaboutteachinginthe
classroom,goodorbad,maynot
translatewellonlinewithsomewhat
complicatedtechnologies,newsocial
orders,andmedia-richresources.
Withoutexpressguidanceonwhatis
expectedoftheonlineinstructor,they
areleftto“figureitout,”leadingto
frustratedstudentsandprobablya
lessthandesirableteachingexperi-
ence.
The“10principles”ofonlinein-
structionweredevelopedbyPenn
State’sWorldCampustospecifically
definetheperformanceexpectations
oftheonlineinstructor.This
documentattemptstocreateanex-
pectationofthecorebehaviorsofthe
successfulonlineinstructor,and
servestocleartheaironhowthein-
structorcanbemosteffectivein
teachingtheironlinecourse.These
expectationsestablishaminimumset
ofactivitiesforonlineinstructors,and
helptodefineparametersaroundthe
investmentoftimeonpartofthein-
structor.
Duringarecentonlinefacultyde-
velopmentprogramweengagedinthe
questionofqualityofperformanceby
theonlineinstructor.Oneindividual
expressedtheirunderstandingthatthe
onlineinstructorshouldbeavailable
tothestudents24/7.Iraiseda
concernaboutthisapproachwiththe
participantsbecauseIfearedthis
beliefwouldinhibitgoodinstructors
fromgettinginvolvedinteaching
online.Itwasclearthat,although
wellintended,askingtheonlinein-
structortobeavailable,thatisonline,
allthetimewassettingthemupfor
failureandfrustration.Wedonot
expectthatdedicationfromtheface-
10PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:BestPracticesinDistanceEducation•www.FacultyFocus.com
PAGE6
FROMPAGE4
Principles of Effective Online Teaching:
#1 Show up and Teach
ByLawrenceC.Ragan,PhD.
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6
to-faceinstructor,andnorshouldwe
expectthatofouronlineinstructors.
Principle#1:ShowUpandTeach
“Studentsinanonlinecourserely
ontheinstructortofollowtheestab-
lishedcoursescheduleandtodeliver
thecoursewithinthescheduledtime
frame.Theonlineinstructoris
expectedtomakescheduleadjust-
mentsasneededtomanagespecial
circumstances.”
Thismayseemlikeanunnecessary
statementoftheobvious.Theonline
instructorisexpectedtoconductthe
classfrombeginningtoendandto
makeadjustmentswhennecessaryin
orderforthestudenttocompletethe
learningexperience.However,the
necessityofthisstatementisborneof
themisimpressionthattheonline
class“teachesitself.”Sincemostof
thecourseisalreadyauthoredand
designedforonlinedelivery,thein-
structormaybelievetheysimplyneed
toserveastheproverbial“guideon
theside”asthestudentsnavigatethe
learningsystem.
Additionalevidenceofthisbelief
wasexpressedearlyoninthedevel-
opmentofonlinelearning,when
someeducatorsexpressedconcern
thattheonlineclasscouldbe“self
taught”andreducetheneedforthe
instructor.Althoughtherearecourses
designedasself-instructedmodules,
thisisnotthepredominantmodelfor
theeffectiveonlineclassroom.The
roleoftheinstructorisactuallymore
importantthaneverbefore.The
studentsarelookingtotheinstructor
toserveastheguide,facilitatorand
“teacher”andtheneedforthemtodo
soispronouncedbecauseofthelack
offace-to-faceinteractions.
Onecommonlyheldbeliefabout
thelearningdesignanddevelopment
oftheonlineclassroomisthatthe
coreteachingmaterial,resources,and
instructionalstrategiesneedtobein
placepriortothestartoftheclass.In
general,thisistrue.Whereasinthe
face-to-faceclassroomtheinstructor
maycraftthelearningastheclass
unfolds,theonlineclassroom
generallyrequiresmorepreparation
anddevelopmenttimebeforethe
eventbegins.Ifyouthinkofthetime
ittakesinboththeface-to-faceand
onlineclassroomasroughlyequal,
youbegintorealizeonedifference
betweenthetwomodalitiesisashift
inthetimeandenergyittakesto
developanddeliver.Moretimemay
bespentpriortodeliveryofthe
onlineclassroomwithmoreenergyin
teachingoncetheclasshasbegun.
Thisapproachcreatesamorestable
andusuallymoreenjoyableteaching
experiencefortheinstructorbecause
theyarenotcontinuingtocreate
coursematerialwhilealsoproviding
instruction.Thisapproachhowever
alsodependsontheinstructorbeing
anactiveparticipantintheonline
classroommanagingthelearningata
distance.
Ofalltheresponsibilitiesofthe
onlineinstructor,theroleas
“teacher,”howeverthatisdefined,is
themostcritical.Formany,thedesign
anddevelopmentofthelearning
spacepriortodeliverycanbealiber-
atingexperience.Foronce,more
attentionisplacedoninteractingwith
thestudentsaroundthecourse
contentthanworryingaboutthegen-
erationoftomorrow’sslidepresenta-
tionorhandoutmaterials.Facultyare
freetoconcentrateonrespondingto
studentinquiriesregardingthecourse
content,addressingparticularly
difficultsubjectmatterordiscussing
relevanttopicsindiscussionspaces.
Manyfacultyrespondthattheyenjoy
thisaspectofonlinelearningmore
thanface-to-facebecausetheycanbe
moreefficientandmoreequallyreach
allstudents.
Theonlineclassroomdoeshowever
haveaslightdrawbackinthisareaas
well.Thatis,theinstructorisrequired
to“attend”totheclassroomdynamics
andmanagethelearningexperience
morethanintheface-to-face
classroom.Studentsmaycometo
dependontheinstructorastheir
primarylinktothecourseand
demandmoretimeandattentionindi-
viduallysincethatattentionisonlya
clickaway.Onestrategyoften
employedbyexperiencedinstructors
istheuseofa“frequentlyasked
questions”sectionandwelldeveloped
syllabusthataddressesmanyofthe
coursedynamicsmostlikelyto
generatestudentinquiries.
TheRoleoftheLMS
Mostlearningmanagementsystems
providearicharrayoftoolsthatassist
thefacultyinattendingtothedetails
ofcoursemanagement.Forexample,
reportingfunctionssuchas
summariesofstudentonlineactivity,
participationindiscussiongroupsand
completionofcourseassignmentscan
easilybegeneratedandtracked.Itis
totheadvantageoftheonlineinstruc-
tortobecomefamiliarandcompetent
withthelearningmanagementsystem
inordertotakefulladvantageofthis
capability.
Ultimatelyitistheroleofthein-
structortooverseethecoursefrom
beginningtoend.Not“showingup
forclass”intheonlineenvironment
leadstoconfusedandfrustrated
learners.Theonlineclassroom
requiresdiligentattentiontocourse
progress.Theface-to-faceclassroom
providesadefinedsetofparameters
includingtimeandlocationforboth
instructorandlearner.Theonline
classroomdoesaswell--theparame-
terssimplyneedtobecommunicated
andmanagedforasuccessfullearning
experienceforboththeinstructorand
thestudent.
Dr.LawrenceC.Raganisthe
DirectorofInstructionalDesignand
DevelopmentforPennState’sWorld
Campus.
10PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:BestPracticesinDistanceEducation•www.FacultyFocus.com
FROMPAGE5
7
I
nthepreviousarticle,Idiscussed
thefirstexpectationofinstructors
teachingonlineas“ShowUpand
Teach.”Theprimarypointofthis
simplestatementwastoexplicitly
definetheanticipationthatthein-
structoractivelyparticipateinalldi-
mensionsoftheonlineclassroom.
Mostimportantlyhowever,“ShowUp
andTeach”wasdesignedtocounter
themisperceptionthat,oncecreated,
theonlineclassroomcanmanage
itself.
Since,inmostcases,thecourse
contenthasbeencreatedandstored
inthelearningmanagementsystem,
someinstructorsmaybelievethat
theirroleofprovidingthecourse
contentiscompleteandtherefore
theirroleasinstructorsintheonline
experienceiscomplete.Justaswe
expectintheface-to-faceclassroom,
theonlineinstructorisrequiredtobe
visibleandactiveinleadingthe
learningexperience.Thesecondex-
pectationinthelistdescribesthetype
ofactiveparticipationrequiredinthe
onlineclassroomandspeakstothe
needforclassoversightand
management.
Principle#2:Practice
ProactiveCourseManagement
Strategies
Theonlineinstructorcanhelp
createasuccessfullearningexperi-
encebypracticingproactivecourse
managementstrategies.Thesestrate-
giesinclude,butarenotlimitedto,
monitoringassignmentsubmissions,
communicatingandreminding
studentsofmissedand/orupcoming
deadlines,andmakingcourse
progressadjustmentswhereand
whennecessary.
NOTE:Theterm“coursemanage-
ment”canencompassmanydimen-
sionsoftheeducationalexperience.
Forexample,managingstudent
rosters,assigningteamstructures,
gradingassignmentsandsubmitting
gradesandtakingdisciplineaction
canallbepartof“coursemanage-
ment.”Forthepurposesofthis
article,“coursemanagement”isused
torefertothoseactivitiesdirectly
relatedtotheteachingandlearning
activitiesinvolvedintheonline
course.
NowIwhollyexpectthisexpecta-
tiontoraiseafeweyebrowsandeven
drawaknee-jerkreactionof“Iexpect
mystudentstomonitortheirown
progressinthecourse,justlikeinmy
face-to-faceclassroom,iftheyfail
theyfailandit’stheirownfault!”In
mostcases,onlineinstructorsusethe
samephilosophytowardmanaging
theeducationalactivitiesandpartici-
pationasemployedintheface-to-
faceclassroom.Thelevelofoversight
andmanagementoftheeducational
activitiesisfundamentallyapersonal
choiceandreflectsanindividualphi-
losophyaswellasthepracticallimi-
tationspresentedbytheeducational
setting.Thedegreeofcourseman-
agementmustbebalancedwiththe
timeandenergyavailableand
demandsofthecoursestructure.Itis
alsodependentupontheageandex-
perienceofboththeinstructorand
thelearner.
Initially,adifferentlevelofcourse
managementbytheonlineinstructor
mayberequired.Thisinstructional
oversightisnecessarybecausethe
onlineclassroompresentsasignifi-
cantshiftintheunderstandingof
rolesandresponsibilitiesonpartof
boththeinstructorandthestudent.
Also,thedegreeofcoursemanage-
mentwillevolveandbecomemore
efficientwithexperience.Theinstruc-
torwilllearnhowtoclearlydefine
andcommunicatestudentexpecta-
tionsaswellasdefineandcommuni-
catetheirownperformance
standards.Withanewcourse,new
instructorandperhapsnewstudents,
itwillbenecessarytomonitorand
respondtostudentactivity(orlack
thereof)moreproactively.Through
trialanderror,theinstructorwill
developasenseofwhereandwhen
toinsertcoursemanagementstrate-
giesthatleadtothebestlearning
outcomesforthestudentspositively.
Thechallengefortheonlinein-
structoristofindthedegreeofinter-
actionandinterventionthatworks
withthedynamicsoftheironline
classroom.Thegoalistostructure
thecoursemanagementstrategiesso
10PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:BestPracticesinDistanceEducation•www.FacultyFocus.com
Principles of Effective Online
Teaching: #2 Practice Proactive
Course Management Strategies
ByLawrenceC.Ragan
PAGE8
Withanewcourse,new
instructorandperhapsnew
students,itwillbenecessary
tomonitorandrespondto
studentactivity(orlack
thereof)moreproactively.
8
10PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:BestPracticesinDistanceEducation•www.FacultyFocus.com
thattheonlinelearnerisableto
controltheirownlearningexperi-
ence.Asmaybeexpected,themore
activelymanagedclassroomwill
placemoredemandsoftimeand
energyontheinstructor.Theexpecta-
tionthattheinstructorteachaswell
asmanagetheonlineclassroomcan
placeadditionalresponsibilitiesonto
analreadybusyonlineinstructor.If
theinstructorisbusywithsending
reminderstoindividualstudents
regardingmissedclassassignments
orprojectcompletiondatestheymay
notbespendingtimerespondingto
inquiriesandinteractionsaround
coursecontent.Afterthecoursehas
beentaughtatimeortwo,itmaybe
helpfultoreflectonthetimespent
teachingtheonlineclass,theinstruc-
tormayreveal“timedrains”of
classroommanagementthatdetract
fromtheprimaryroleofproviding
instruction.
Thereisanadditionaldimension
ofthisperformanceexpectationthat
relatestothenumberofstudents
enrolledinthecourse.Low-enrolling
courses(under40students)enablea
higherdegreeofinstructoroversight
duetothestudent-teacherratio.Itis
simplyeasiertomonitortheactivities
of40studentsthan400.These
coursesaretypicallydesignedfor
moreinteractionanddialogue
betweencourseparticipants.
Monitoringandmanagingstudent
performance(orlackthereof)may
happenbysimplyreviewingthe
postinglogoractivityrecordsinthe
learningmanagementsystem.A
quickfollow-upemailcanremindthe
studentoftherequiredclassassign-
ment,ormissedhomework.
Inmediumtolargeenrollment
courses,adifferentapproachto
coursemanagementmayberequired.
Typicallythecourseactivitymonitor-
ingtoolswithinthelearningmanage-
mentsystemcanservetoidentify
studentsnotkeepingpacewiththe
course.Anautomatedresponsemay
beprogrammedtoremindthoseindi-
vidualsofmissedassignments.The
generalcourseannouncementtool
canbeusedtoremindallstudentsof
importantdeadlinesorupcoming
courseevents.Ifthelargeenrolling
coursehasmultiplediscussion
spaces,othercreativesolutionsmay
berequiredtomonitorstudent
participation.
TheKeytoSuccess
Regardlessofthesizeofcourseen-
rollments,thekeytoasuccessful
teachingandlearningexperiencefor
boththelearnerandinstructoris
communication.Clearlydefiningand
communicatingtheexpectationswill
addresstheuncertainlyofwhatrole
andresponsibilityisrequiredofeach
participant.Theefficiencyandeffec-
tivenessofthiscommunicationwill
evolvewithexperience.Chancesare
itwillnotbeperfectthefirst,second
ormaybeeventhirdoffering.
Refiningthecoursemanagementisa
continual“workinprogress”that
requiresacommitmentonpartofthe
instructortocarefullymonitor,adjust
andimprovethecommunicationsof
expectationstothelearners.
Withproperdesign,management,
trackingandadjustments,theman-
agementofthelearningactivitiesof
theonlineclassroomcanleadtoa
rewardinglearningexperienceforall
courseparticipants.Thegoalisto
empowertheonlinelearnertotake
responsibilityformanagingtheirown
learningexperienceandfreethein-
structortoconcentratetheirtimeand
energyoncraftingatrulyengaged
learningexperience.Watchingand
learningfromothers,usingstudent
feedback,analyzingevaluationdata
andfrequentlyaskedquestionscan
provideinsightsintowhereandhow
toimprovethelearningexperience.
Someareofthebeliefthatthetools
andcapabilitiesoftheonline
classroomcanleadtoaricherand
moreequitablelearningexperience
thantheface-to-faceclassroom
becausewecanprovidecommunica-
tionstoallparticipants.Certainlythe
opportunityexiststostructurea
learningexperiencerichininterac-
tion,student-managedandfocused
onaddressingtheneedsofthe
studentsinattainingthecourse
learningoutcomes.
Dr.LawrenceC.Raganisthe
DirectorofInstructionalDesignand
DevelopmentforPennState’sWorld
Campus.
FROMPAGE7
Thegoalistoempowerthe
onlinelearnertotake
responsibilityformanaging
theirownlearningexperience
andfreetheinstructorto
concentratetheirtimeand
energyoncraftingatruly
engagedlearningexperience.
9
10PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:BestPracticesinDistanceEducation•www.FacultyFocus.com
S
ofarinthisserieswe’ve
definedseveralfundamental
“principles”ofteachinginthe
onlineclassroom.Number1:“Show
UpandTeach"expressedtheexpecta-
tionthattheinstructor,althoughnot
requiredtobephysicallypresentina
location,beanactivepresenceasthe
teacherintheonlineclassroom.
Number2:“PracticeProactiveCourse
ManagementStrategies,"stressedthe
importanceofinstructorengagement
intheonlineclassroomandtakinga
proactiveroleinmanagingthe
learningactivitiesinthevirtual
learningspace.Thisarticlefocuses
ononeaspectoftheonlineclassroom
thatbenefitsboththelearnerandthe
instructor,thatofestablishingthe
paceandsequenceoflearningevents
andactivities.
Principle#3:Establish
PatternsofCourseActivities
“Althoughtheonlineclassroomen-
vironmentprovidestremendousflexi-
bilityoftimeandplaceofstudy,
establishingandcommunicatinga
coursepaceandpatternofworkcan
aidbothinstructorandstudentand
alleviateconfusionofcourse
operation.Forthestudent,anestab-
lishedpatternofcourseactivities
allowsforplanningandmanagement
ofothernon-courseactivitiesaround
theire-learningactivities.Forthein-
structor,establishingandcommuni-
catingacoursescheduleandpattern
ofworkservestodefinethebound-
ariesbetweentheonlineclassactivi-
tiesandtherestoflife.”
TheSeemingly“Timeless”
Classroom
Inthebeginning,theonline
classroomwasseenashaving
tremendousadvantageoverafixed-
timecourseformat.The“answer”for
thosebusyadultswhowantedto
continuetheireducationwithout
leavinghome,workandtheir
communitywastoutedas“studyat
yourconvenience,anytimeandany
place!”Whocoulddisagreewiththe
conceptofgettinganadvanced
degreewithoutleavinghomeor
needingtotakealeave-of-absence
fromtheworkplace?Asamatterof
fact,someoftheearlymarketing
materialsspoketotheeaseofaccess
withphrasessuchas,“yourdegreeis
justaclickaway!”and“earnyour
degreeonyourterms!”
Forthetraditional-agecollege
studentthedrawtotakeacoursethat
didnotrequireattendingclassesat
8:00amMondaymorningalsohad
greatappeal.Itseemedthateveryone
couldfindareasontoliketheflexi-
bilityofstudybasedonone’s
personalscheduleandneeds.Asit
turnsout,thepotentialofthe
“timeless”classroomwasslightly
oversoldforthemajorityofonline
coursework.Althoughthereareex-
ceptions,mostonlinecoursesfollow
adefinedscheduleofoperationfrom
starttofinish.
Oneofthemostchallenging
aspectsofdesigninganonline
classroomisworkingwithoutthe
confinesoftimeandlocation.
Althoughthismayhavegreatinitial
appealtobothlearnerandinstructor,
therealityofthislackofoperating
parametersbecomesquicklyevident.
Courseswithouttimeandlocation
operatingparameterscanbecome
managementchallengesforbusy
studentsparticipatinginonlineclass
activitieswhilestillbalancingthe
demandsofworkandfamilylife.For
theinstructor,thelackoftimeand
locationconstraintscancausea
blendingofclassandnon-classactiv-
ities.Establishingapatternofcourse
activityandcommunicatingthis
sequencetothelearnerenablesthe
learnertodevelopaplanofstudyto
addresstherequirementsofthe
course.Thiscoursescheduleand
patternalsoaidstheinstructorto
containthecourse-relatedactivities
toanappropriatedurationand
workload.
LearnerBenefits
Inmanyways,theoperationofthe
Principles of Effective Online
Teaching: #3 Establish Patterns
of Course Activities
ByLawrenceC.Ragan,PhD.
PAGE10
Oneofthemostchallenging
aspectsofdesigninganonline
classroomisworkingwithout
theconfinesoftimeand
location.Althoughthismay
havegreatinitialappealto
bothlearnerandinstructor,the
realityofthislackofoperating
parametersbecomesquickly
evident.
10
10PrinciplesofEffectiveOnlineTeaching:BestPracticesinDistanceEducation•www.FacultyFocus.com
on-lineclassroomresemblestheface-
to-faceformatmorethanitdoesthe
independentlearningmodelofthe
correspondencedistanceeducation
class.Therearesetstart-andend-
dates.Tasksneedtobecompletedand
assignmentssubmittedwithindefined
timeframes.Insomecases,anactual
synchronouseventsuchasachat
session,teleconferenceorwebinar
stylemeetingmayberequired.Thein-
dividuallearnermayprogressthrough
thecoursematerialandtakeself-check
quizzesontheirownbuttherearefre-
quentlygroupprojects,presentations,
anddiscussionforumsrequiringa
highdegreeofteam-workand
cooperation.
Thechallengefortheonlinelearner
istoestablishthedisciplineandtime
managementskillstokeeppacedwith
therequirementsoftheonline
classroom.Someresearchhas
suggested,atleastanecdotally,that
traditionalagedlearnersandyounger
maybemorechallengedintheonline
classroombecausetheyhavenot
developedthesecoreskills.
Acoursewithapredictablepattern
ofoperationandsequenceofevents
providestheonlinelearnerwiththe
structuretheyneedtosucceed.Anin-
structionaldesignmodelwithconsis-
tentpacingandcourseactivities
allowsthelearnermorecontrolover
theironlinelearningexperience.For
example,iflessonsbeginandendon
consistentdaysandassignmentsare
dueonaregularschedulethelearner
canplanotherlifeactivitiesaround
theseaspectsoftheironlinecourse.
Wherethecoursestructuredeviates
fromanestablishedpattern,earlynoti-
ficationandremindersarehelpfulin
ordertoaidthelearnerinmakingthe
necessaryadjustments.
InstructorBenefits
Anunforeseenchallengeforthe
onlineinstructorisknowingwhenthe
classdayis“over.”Thetemptationto
reachoutandbeavailabletothe
onlinelearnerallthetimeishardto
resistwhenthelaptopandwireless
computersmakeaccessingthecourse
soeasy.Theveryadvantagesofflexi-
bilityandfreedomofchoiceregarding
whereandwhentoconductthecourse
turnsintoatrapthatmakesthein-
structorfeeltheonlineclassroom
demandsconstantandreadyaccess.
Theresultscanbeanexhaustedand
overwhelmedinstructor,evenwhen
classsizeismanageable.Asinthe
face-to-faceclassroom,onlineinstruc-
torsneedtoestablishdefinedandrea-
sonableworkperiodswhere
course-relatedactivitiesoccur.These
worktimeframeshelptoconfine
courseworktoatimeframeseparate
fromotherlifeactivities(suchas
familytimeandvacations!).
Definingandcommunicatingthese
workpatternsalsoaidsthelearnerin
understandingthattheinstructor“has
alife.”Althoughinstructorsareopen
toreceivingemailsandcoursecom-
municationsatallhoursoftheday
andnight,thelearnerquicklycomes
torealizethattheinstructors’response
(exceptincasesofdireemergencies,
ofcourse)willbeconfinedtoa
definedtimeframe.Bothlearnerand
instructorfallintoacomfortable
rhythmofclass-relatedactivities.One
well-seasonedonlineinstructorIknow
sharedwithmethathisstudentsknow
exactlywhenheisavailableandwhen
heisnotandtheybehaveaccordingly.
TheKeytoSuccess
Afewsimplestrategiesforapplying
theprincipleofestablishingapattern
ofcourseactivitiesinclude:
1.Establishandmaintainapredica-
blecoursepatternofcourse-
relatedactivities.Thismayinclude
suchactivitiesas “opening”new
lessons,duedatesandtimesfor
assignments,schedulesforsyn-
chronousactivitiesandself-assess-
mentandonlinequizzes/exams.
2.Usethesyllabusorcourseinfor-
mationpagetocommunicatethe
scheduleofcourse-relatedactivi-
ties.
3.Useadynamiccommunications
methodsuchasgroupemailorthe
generalclassannouncementpages
toinformtheclassofunplanned
changestothecourseactivity
schedule.Ifpossible,describewhy
thechangehasoccurred.
4.Providetheinstructor“work
schedule”informingstudentsof
thetimeconstraintsofyourcourse
relatedactivities.Thesemayalso
bepostedtothesyllabusor
welcomeletter.
Summary
Themanyadvantagesof“anytime,
anyplace”educationcanalsopresent
challengesforbothlearnerandin-
structorintimemanagementand
operation.Establishingandmaintain-
ingapredictablepatternofcourse
studiescanservethelearnerby
providingafoundationforplanning
otherlifeactivities.Fortheinstructor,
adefinedscheduleofclassactivities
canservetopreventtheclassfromin-
terferingwithotherresponsibilities
andbalancetheexpectationsof
learnerswhomaydesire24/7access
totheir“virtualteacher.”
Dr.LawrenceC.Raganisthe
DirectorofInstructionalDesignand
DevelopmentforPennState’sWorld
Campus.
FROMPAGE9
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