Use Rubric Rationale to Improve Student Performance on Peer Review Assignment

Description Research shows that students perform better when the rubric provided by an instructor is deconstructed for them (Jones 2017). This allows the students to see not only how they are going to be graded, but why they are going to be graded that way. The ideas for the evaluation categories on the rubric came …

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Use Twitter @replies/mentions to reach out to professional networks beyond the class

Description Twitter is a social network that allows individuals to follow other users, post their own tweets, and create a network within which they can communicate. Participants on Twitter receive a Twitter “handle” or username, which is preceded by an “at” symbol: @. For example, this author’s Twitter username is @digirhet. Discussions and conversations among …

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Use Digital Communication Tools to Enhance Online Communities of Inquiry

Description Learning online may be an isolating experience which may lead to student attrition. Digital communication tools may help to enhance online communities of inquiry and address students’ feelings of social connectedness, perceived instructor presence, cognitive engagement, and persistence. Research shows that faculty use of various new media and communication tools (including social media) may …

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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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Send a Welcome Message

Description A welcome message to students before the course begins is an important step in establishing your online persona (Bellafiore, 2007; Gibson & Blackwell, 2005; Mensch & Ali, 2007; Phillips, 2011). The message should include vital information for the course and not be your entire syllabus. The purpose of this communication is to welcome the …

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Use Three-Before-Me as a Communication Strategy in a Large Class

Description The concept of “Three Before Me” pushes the responsibility of locating an answer to commonly asked questions to the student. The student must prove to the professor that he/she has contacted three different sources prior to contacting the professor. Link to example artifact(s) If you have questions regarding the material, assignments, technical issues, and/or …

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Send Students an Introductory Email Message Before the Course Begins

Description Many faculty members begin their online courses by contacting students in advance of the course start date or during the first week of classes with an introductory email message (Bellafiore, 2007; Gibson & Blackwell, 2005; Mensch  & Ali, 2007). The purpose of this communication is to welcome the students, establish a comfortable class environment, …

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Reach More Students with Targeted Office Hours

Description One of the biggest challenges instructors face with large class sizes is connecting with students individually. Often students will make use of office hours for that personal connection, but there are only so many hours in the day, and teaching online adds another layer of complexity. What are targeted office hours? Have you ever …

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Create Effective Discussion Prompts

Description Discussion prompts are the written “springboard” from which online discussions are launched and are essential to encourage shared understanding (Du, Zhang, Olinzock, & Adams, 2008). Discussion prompts can vary from pithy (e.g., “Discuss [Topic X]”) to verbose (e.g., an entire printed page of instructions). However, the best standard for gauging the effectiveness of a …

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Using Blogs as a Communication Tool

Description Blogs offer an easy way for peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and acquisition outside of the learning management system (EDUCAUSE, 2005). Link to example artifact(s) Example Instructor: UCF’s Dr. Thomas Brueckner Course Title: PSC1121 Physical Science UCF physics professor Dr. Thomas Brueckner uses a blog as a tool to communicate with students. He posts class announcements, …

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