Design a Synchronous Learning Environment that Promotes Community, Interactivity, and Equity

Description As institutions continue to pilot and implement models where students in remote or satellite locations join an existing on-campus classroom through a videoconferencing system, the literature shows that these environments fall short as an extension of that classroom. It is not enough to add video conferencing technology where the remote students end being spectators …

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Digitalizing Gallery Walks: A Method for Student-Centered Feedback and Engagement

Description Traditional gallery walks let students stroll through the classroom viewing their peers’ work, which is often set up on the top of their desks. At its heart, a gallery walk is an interactive, discussion technique where students move around the room, actively analyze information, and provide peers with feedback about their work (Fasse & …

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Create Screencasts to Present Content and Focus Attention

Description Screencasting refers to as a digitally recorded playback of computer screen output which often contains audio narration (Udell, 2005). Faculty choose to use them to record portions of lectures to provide overview, describe procedures, present concepts, focus attention and elaborate content (Sugar, Brown & Luterbach, 2010). Here are a few examples of instructional uses …

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Use Digital Posters for Online Community Introductions

Description A sense of community within a course can increase student engagement, persistence, and performance (Rovai, 2002; Vesely, Bloom, & Sherlock, 2007). In asynchronous teaching, creating community can be challenging. Instructors can facilitate a sense of community by providing ways for students to introduce themselves to each other. Glogs (graphic blogs) are interactive electronic posters …

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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 Mobile Communication Technologies to Increase Students’ Feelings of Connectedness and Instructor Support

Description Use of mobile communication technology in the higher education setting is still a relatively new area of study. On brick and mortar campuses, students who have face-to-face interaction with their professors and peers can often be seen texting or “tweeting” between classes or in class. Such mobile messaging usage in class can be very …

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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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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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Include FERPA Statements in Course

Description Some faculty may find it useful to have their students access certain public online services (e.g., blogs, wikis, social media tools, etc.) as part of their course work. It is up to the faculty member to evaluate the educational value of such activities, but it is also a responsibility of the faculty member to …

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Choose a Discussion Facilitator

Description While students may express a desire for more student-centered collaboration in the discussions, they may not fully understand the responsibility required to achieve it (Kanuka et al., 2007). Along with a thoughtful discussion prompt, facilitation during the discussion is often necessary to support students to engage in critical discourse (DeSmet et al., 2008; Maurino …

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