Use Smart Phones for Student Interaction

Description Instructor Testimony I Professor: Rick Brunson, Journalism, Nicholson School of Communication, UCF Professor Brunson encourages his students to use only their smartphones to collect and file information to be used in a news story. They used voice-to-text conversion apps, digital notepads, and other applications on their smartphones to interview students, capture the information, and …

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Managing Student Interaction with Sign Up Sheets

Description In a distance learning environment, Moore (1989) suggests there are 3 different interaction types: student to student, student to instructor, and student to content. Given various variables such as class size, student location, student needs, teaching load, and content complexity, managing student to instructor interaction can be a difficult and time consuming process. How …

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Group Discussion Strategy

Description Working in groups can be challenging if groups don’t take the time to outline each member’s strengths and potential contributions and also the guidelines for how the group will act and react to situations as the project develops. This is especially true for large-size classes. Link to example artifact(s) UCF professor Susan Jardaneh clearly …

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Engage adult learners with course-long role play

Description Role playing in the context of educational simulations has been cited as a particularly engaging strategy for online courses (Ausburn, 2004; Bender, 2005; Cornelius, Gordon, and Ackland, 2011; Lytle, Lytle, and Brophy, 2006; and Serby, 2011). Such role playing when conducted for an extended time period (e.g., for the duration of an academic term) …

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Email messages with a “hook” or scenario that prompts logging into an online course

Description An email message with a “hook” employs a concise, narrative-driven scenario to motivate students to log into an online course. These email messages have a provocative subject heading that summarizes a specific real life situation where learners would need to apply the content covered in that installment of the online course. When the learner …

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Discussions large classes

Description Holding effective, engaging discussions in large classes can be a challenge. However, they provide an opportunity for online students to engage with each other and the instructor in a way not possible with other kinds of assessments. Here are some ideas to structure this effectively. Group Size: The most common acceptable number for groups …

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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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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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Discussion Facilitation

Description Setting up a discussion prompt is important for initial structuring, but it is crucial to facilitate during the discussion to ensure it is progressing. Baker (2011) warns, “Unmanaged discussions invite chaos.” However, most instructors agree that participation and grading of discussions takes the majority of one’s time (Cranney, Alexander, Wallace, & Alfano, 2011). Here …

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Intervention messages

Description Intervening with Students It is important to contact students when their observed behaviors within the course indicate cause for concern (e.g., disengaged or at-risk of not succeeding). In addition to the obvious behavior of not submitting assignments, checking the Learning Management System’s (LMS) “Student Tracking” tool frequently (sorting by last access) allows the instructor …

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