Individualizing assignments in an online course

Description Individualizing assignments in an online course promotes student and instructor interest, challenges students to strengthen their research skills, and prevents students from paraphrasing other students’ work and presenting it as their own. This entry describes a strategy used to teach an online course in Urban Sociology, however, this strategy could be applied to many …

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Provide Non-Linguisitic Representations to Foster Reflection

Description Nonlinguistic strategies require students to create a representation of new information that does not rely on language. Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock (2001) define non-linguistic representations as the use of visual, kinesthetic, and whole body systems to acquire and store knowledge. Mental images and physical sensation combined with linguistic modes allow students to better reflect. …

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Require online exit tickets for active engagement

Description Changing the culture of the online university classroom from one of passivity to active engagement requires purposeful planning by the university professor (Kuh, 2005). Related to the so-called “minute paper,” exit slips offer easy, quick, and informative assessments that help encourage student connections to content, self-reflection, and a purpose for future learning (Marzano, 2012; …

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Strengthening STEM laboratory assessment using learner portfolio and electronic assessment

Description Weekly lab reports are an integral part of the foundational engineering curriculum. In many conventional science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curricula, students are required to write a report after each weekly experiment, documenting the lab process. Recent research by Vargas and Hanstedt (2014), however, indicates limitations of weekly lab reports, including reduced effectiveness …

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Use academic challenges and experiential missions to provide learner choice and engage students in online course activities

Description Aligning students’ instructional preferences with course activities and providing opportunities for learner choice are widely recognized as educational best practice, helping students to engage with content and learn more effectively (Kern & State, 2009; Patall, Dent, Oyer, & Wynn, 2013; Patall, Cooper, & Wynn, 2010), and researchers and practitioners have started extending this instructional …

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Use online debates to enhance classroom engagement

Description A debate is a formal competition between two teams, usually with three members each, arguing a discussion statement known as “the moot”. Shaw (2012) believes that debates stimulate critical thinking and can be a highly effective way to actively engage students in research in the online classroom. Student-generated debate presentations can become a welcome …

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Use student created discussion prompts for peer review

Description Reading assignments are often the basis for understanding much of the information and material content delivered in class. It can often be challenging – and overwhelming for students – to encourage reading and assess comprehension in the absence of traditional face-to-face class discussions. Utilizing student created discussion prompts as a means for peer review …

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Using student created blogs as a progressive formative assessment in an online STEM course

Description The utility of writing assignments to enhance learning biology is well documented (e.g. Mynlieff et al., 2014; Couch et al., 2015). Such assignments can provide the basis for assessing higher-order and critical-thinking skills (Kelly et al, n.d.). Furthermore, when students are able to react to instructors’ feedback by re-drafting or adjusting their written work, …

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Assess Individual Learning from Group Projects

Description While many instructors across instructional venues integrate collaborative activities that emulate professional realities, collaboration assessments often disenfranchise some contributors. When evaluation hinges on groups producing a cohesive, homogenized artifact, the outcome favors compromise. Homogenized perspectives don’t generally reflect the complementary visions of individuals. This can foreclose on participant satisfaction if the outcome silences or …

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Use video self-modeling software to strengthen reading and speaking fluency

Description Using video self-modeling (VSM) is an effective and engaging method for strengthening a student’s reading and speaking fluency; it has been a popular tool used for decades to effectively improve individuals’ behaviors and skills (Prater et al., 2011). This activity provides students with an opportunity to watch and listen as they model a skill …

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