Cynthia Janet Tanis. (2020). The seven principles of online learning: Feedback from faculty and alumni on its importance for teaching and learning. Research in Learning Technology, 28(0), 1–25. https://doi-org.geisel.idm.oclc.org/10.25304/rlt.v28.2319
Effective online teaching and learning requires a carefully designed classroom that promotes student engagement with faculty, peers and course content. This research included an investigation of the importance of faculty–student communication and collaboration; student–student communication and collaboration; active learning techniques; prompt feedback; appropriate time for tasks; high performance expectations; and respect for diverse learning styles (preferences) (Chickering and Ehrmann 1996) to faculty in their online teaching and to alumni in their online learning. The participants were 14 college faculty and 111 alumni, from the same graduate program. A 45-item Likert survey and two open-ended questions were presented to the participants to explore the important factors contributing to their online teaching and learning. The results demonstrated that holding students to high standards of performance, academic honesty and professional conduct was the most important factor to both faculty in their online teaching and alumni in their online learning. Additionally, alumni valued engagement with their faculty more than engagement with other students or course content. Students need an online instructor who is organised and communicative in the online classroom, and faculty need a solidly designed online classroom, with engaged students who are timely in their work. An analysis of the findings with specific application to online teaching and learning is presented in this article.
The explosive growth of online learning in institutions of higher education has created a dire need for guidelines that instruct new and continuing online instructors about how best to teach in online spaces. The purpose of this exploratory study was to identify the roles of the online instructor and categorize critical competencies for online teaching based on a review of research and the perspectives of award-winning online faculty members. We interviewed eight award-winning online faculty members from across the United States. Based on interviews, it was found that online instructors assume five different roles: Facilitator, Course Designer, Content Manager, Subject Matter Expert, and Mentor. Common tasks of an online instructor course fell into two areas: Course Design or Teaching. This research has clear implications, not only for the literature research base, but for our institutions as well, as we continue to offer increasing numbers of effective online courses and programs to our students.
Cifuentes, L., Janney, A., Guerra, L., & Weir, J. (2016). A Working Model for Complying with Accessibility Guidelines for Online Learning. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 60(6), 557–564.
We describe our activities that emerged in the context of an Office of Distance Education and Learning Technologies' efforts to systematically and systemically address accessibility for online learning in order to comply with ethical principles, best practices, and laws. The activities include three overarching continuous tasks: strategically monitoring campus needs and resources, building a supportive infrastructure, and evaluating outcomes. Conscientious assessment of needs informs development of the collaborative support infrastructure necessary to establish a supportive campus culture with instructors and staff who use facilitative software to create accessible online opportunities for students. We provide a practical checklist for reviewing online instruction for accessibility.
Zydney, J. M., McKimmy, P., Lindberg, R., & Schmidt, M. (2019). Here or There Instruction: Lessons Learned in Implementing Innovative Approaches to Blended Synchronous Learning. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 63(2), 123–132.
Here or There (HOT) instruction is a blended synchronous approach that enables students from on-campus ("here") or a remote location ("there") to participate together in class activities in real time. The purpose of this article is to share three different cases at two universities that illustrate different implementations of HOT instruction, explain the affordances of these varied approaches, provide best practices that are common to each, and share lessons learned along the way. Readers will gain a better understanding of how to implement a range of innovative HOT approaches, and in what context(s) they might choose one approach over another. The authors' experience indicates that sound pedagogical principles along with pragmatic considerations, such as class size, available technology, and instructor's skills, should guide decisions regarding use of these blended synchronous approaches. Future research should look towards what impact blended synchronous environments have on student outcomes.
This article highlights interaction within physical and virtual spaces in a higher education HyFlex learning environment with live streamed lectures and seminars. What kinds of learning spaces do we shape when we connect physical and virtual spaces? How does a group of teachers interact in these spaces and how do the HyFlex spaces affect the interaction? The perspective of 'designs for learning' theoretically frames the study. The result shows that several different spaces are shaped: physical space, representational space, interactional space, and liminal space. The results also imply that a HyFlex model requires an increased didactic awareness of designing for learning.
Student engagement is understood to be an important benchmark and indicator of the quality of the student experience for higher education; yet the term "engagement" continues to be elusive to define and it is interpreted in different ways in the literature. This paper firstly presents a short review of the literature regarding online engagement in the higher education environment, moving beyond discipline-specific engagement. It then presents a conceptual framework which builds upon recurring themes within the literature, including students' beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. The framework was developed by adopting a constant comparison method to analyse the literature, and to search for and identify current and emerging themes. The framework identifies indicators for five key elements of online engagement, and the authors propose that the framework provides a guide for researchers and academics when exploring online engagement from a conceptual, practical and research basis. Finally, the paper provides recommendations for practice, outlining how the framework might be used to reflect critically upon the effectiveness of online courses and their ability to engage students.
Czerkawski, B., & Lyman, E. (2016). An Instructional Design Framework for Fostering Student Engagement in Online Learning Environments. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 60(6), 532–539. https://doi-org.geisel.idm.oclc.org/10.1007/s11528-016-0110-z
Many approaches, models and frameworks exist when designing quality online learning environments. These approaches assist and guide instructional designers through the process of analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation of instructional processes. Some of these frameworks are concerned with student participation, some with motivation and some with student success. All these variables affect active participation and engagement of the student to some degree but the main concern is how to design online instruction conducive to high level of engagement. Therefore, this paper presents an instructional design framework along with a set of strategies that could be used to foster learner engagement in online learning. This framework is result of an extensive literature review on student engagement and is aimed at summarizing the results in a cohesive way for online instructors. For e-learning design and development to be successful online designers and instructors need better approaches to increasing student engagement and its authors hope that proposed framework provides such an approach.
Student engagement increases student satisfaction, enhances student motivation to learn, reduces the sense of isolation, and improves student performance in online courses. This survey-based research study examines student perception on various engagement strategies used in online courses based on Moore's interaction framework. One hundred and fifty-five students completed a 38-item survey on learner-to-learner, learner-to-instructor, and learner-to-content engagement strategies. Learner-to-instructor engagement strategies seemed to be most valued among the three categories. Icebreaker/introduction discussions and working collaboratively using online communication tools were rated the most beneficial engagement strategies in the learner-to-learner category, whereas sending regular announcements or email reminders and providing grading rubrics for all assignments were rated most beneficial in learner-to-instructor category. In the learner-content category, students mentioned working on real-world projects and having discussions with structured or guiding questions were the most beneficial. This study also analyzed the effect of age, gender, and years of online learning experience differences on students' perception of engagement strategies. The results of the study have implications for online instructors, instructional designers, and administrators who wish to enhance engagement in the online courses.
The article highlights the radical change theory and its three principles including connectivity, interactivity, and access. Topics discussed include a guiding framework to foster the community in online learning spaces; importance of intentional development of community for instructor librarians; and the course elements necessary to support learning community's existence and growth.
Distance education in the 21st century often relies on educational technology as the primary delivery of teaching to learners. In distance education, the source of the information and the learner do not share the same physical setting; therefore, the information is delivered by a variety of methods. The new emerging tools that are used in online learning have changed the view of pedagogical perspective in distance education. Although online learning shares some elements with traditional classroom environments, the shared elements often take very different forms, and each type of learning environment has distinct limitations and affordances. Because current practices often compare or assess the effectiveness of online learning by comparing it with traditional instruction methods, educators and researchers often find it important to consider the methods and strategies that are used in classroom settings when designing online learning environments. Online environments should provide opportunities for students to master necessary tasks by using appropriate strategies, such as self-regulation. Self-regulation is one of the predictors of student performance in both traditional and modern learning environments. In an online platform, when students use strategies that are related to self-regulation, they can regulate their personal functioning and benefit from the online learning environment by changing their behaviors accordingly. Thus, it is important to explore and embed new interactive functions to the online learning environments and lead learners to use self-regulatory behaviors in those learning environments. This article discusses the importance of self-regulation in online environments, and provides recommendations for best practices in the design and implementation of interactive online learning environments with the self-regulated learning approach.
An increasing number of students entering Australian higher education are choosing to study in an online mode. Attrition rates for online students are considerably higher than for students studying primarily on-campus, with evidence suggesting that the isolation of online study combined with the challenges of technology, academic expectations and pressure from other areas of students' lives, are significant contributors to this. However, there is also evidence to indicate that a supportive and engaging online teaching and learning environment, can help to mitigate against these difficulties and lead to increased student retention. This paper outlines the findings from a recent study with 16 universities, which demonstrated the importance of online 'teacher presence', combined with engaging, inclusive and interactive design, content and delivery. One example is provided of changes implemented in an online unit of study at a regional Australian university, in response to these findings, with positive effects on student engagement. Such changes at the individual unit level can indeed make a positive difference on a small scale; however, institutional commitment to improving the quality of online education is needed to extend such successes to the broader online student population.
Makani, J., Durier-Copp, M., Kiceniuk, D., & Blandford, A. (2016). Strengthening Deeper Learning through Virtual Teams in E-Learning: A Synthesis of Determinants and Best Practices. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education, 31(2).
Globally, e-learning is gaining popularity as its potential contributions to economic and social development are recognised. However, its full potential has not been realised, as most e-learning practices merely replicate traditional existing teaching methods and have not fully exploited the interactive and social components of peer learning. Recently, there has been an increased focus on deeper learning in higher educational settings, in particular, a focus on the skills and knowledge that reinforce each other and together promote deeper learning (Chow, 2010). In other words research shows that to be successful all students must have access to educational opportunities that foster deeper learning. Virtual teams (VT) are said to foster "deeper" learning, but have not been empirically studied in the academic sphere, and little is known about their effectiveness as a learning mechanism in e-learning. In this paper the findings of a systemic review and interpretive synthesis of the body of literature on e-learning and VT are presented. The objective of the study was to identify the core skills and knowledge from research that reinforce each other and together promote deeper learning. The results from this study will strengthen e-learning program planning and delivery within higher education centres that are already engaged in e-learning, as well as convey important best practices for learning centres at the beginning stages of e-learning development. Presented is an e-learning framework, which may serve as the foundation of future empirical studies in e-learning.
Barber, W. (2019). Developing Creative Online Learning Communities: A Case Study of Student Perceptions. Proceedings of the European Conference on E-Learning, 59–64. https://doi-org.geisel.idm.oclc.org/10.34190/EEL.19.016
This paper is a qualitative case study measuring student perceptions of a pedagogical strategy for developing creative interactive online communities. The article reviews a teaching strategy for increasing student engagement through the use of creative and artistic expression. Using "Digital Moments" as a way to build inclusion in two synchronous graduate online courses, the author describes how the teaching strategy increased student participation, developed student ownership of learning, and encouraged collaborative processes between participants. This teaching strategy makes a significant contribution to digital pedagogy. Although the growth of online learning is quite substantial, our ability to develop online communities that inspire creative thinking has not kept pace. With online education becoming an integral part of academic institutions and corporations worldwide, support for such endeavors can be critical to the innovative and nimble approach required of organizations facing the fourth industrial revolution. This paper analyses and interprets the graduate students' perceptions of the value of using "Digital Moments". Specifically, the research methodology involved using a 12 question online survey, followed by semi-structured open-ended one on one interviews. Data were analysed using SPSS software and examined to reveal that overall student perceptions of the level of creativity in the online community were improved using this pedagogical approach. This also improved a sense of belonging and engagement in the class, and improved the learning environment by increasing connections between and among students and the instructor.
Howard, J. R. (2015). Making online discussion work. In Discussion in the college classroom: Getting your students engaged and participating in person and online, pp. 105-139. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.geisel.idm.oclc.org
Mejia, C. (2020). Using VoiceThread as a discussion platform to enhance student engagement in a hospitality management online course. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism Education, 26. https://doi-org.geisel.idm.oclc.org/10.1016/j.jhlste.2019.100236
Video- and voice-enabled discussion platforms have the potential to increase student engagement, leading to student success. The cloud-based discussion platform, VoiceThread, was used with undergraduate students in an online hospitality facilities management course. The findings revealed that students’ use of the audio function, both for posting their own responses and for listening to others, was a statistically significant predictor of student engagement with their classmates. The results from this mixed mode exploratory study offer theoretical implications for the CoI framework, as well as best practices for instructors interested in using VoiceThread, including discussion design and grading strategies.
Aloni, M., & Harrington, C. (2018). Research based practices for improving the effectiveness of asynchronous online discussion boards. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 4(4), 271–289. https://doi-org.geisel.idm.oclc.org/10.1037/stl0000121
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of theoretically- guided, instructional design strategies in an online learning module that was implemented in four undergraduate sport management and recreation courses. The study was framed within Social Cognitive Theory, a well-studied model for adult learning, and several instructional design hypotheses were examined. Using an experimental research design, the effects of online discussion groups and multiple formats on students' self-efficacy perceptions in an online learning module were examined. Results of the analyses indicated that the use of discussion groups produced significantly higher self-efficacy perceptions compared to the other instructional design strategies. Findings from the study are discussed.
Research indicates the use of interactive online learning (IOL) instructional strategies such as multiple choice, "drag and drop" matching exercises, and case discussions, in online courses enhances learning and results in better learning outcomes. While some instructors might use interactive resources for regular assessments that only allow for one attempt, this experiment examines whether limiting the attempts and the time to complete IOL instructional strategies significantly improves learning outcomes as measured by performance scores on two required exams. The author posit that students who have limited attempts (2) and limited time (20 minutes) will in fact read the chapters before attempting to complete the interactive online activities, thus increasing the correlation between the interactive online activity scores and exam scores. Unlimited attempts and unlimited time provide students with the opportunity to search the textbook for the answers without reading the assigned chapters. As anticipated, the experimental groups with limited attempts and limited time on the IOL activities did demonstrate a statistically significant relationship to combined exam scores. The findings indicate that limited attempts and limited time on formative assessments correlated with exam scores while those formative assessments without constraints did not.
The purpose of this study was to examine effective design elements for online courses in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields at a large four-year public university in southeastern United States. Our research questions addressed the influence of online design elements on students' perception of learning and learning satisfaction. An online survey was completed by 537 students from 15 online STEM courses in spring 2016. The survey results indicated that student perceptions of learning and satisfaction were correlated with their perceptions of the efficacy of specific design elements, such as integrated active learning activities, interactive engagement strategies, and robust assessment design. In particular, perception of assessment design efficacy was significantly correlated with students' self-perceived learning and learning satisfaction for students of all subpopulations. The findings inform instructors and instructional designers on how to design effective, inclusive, and engaging online STEM courses. Student survey responses were observed to support universal design for learning (UDL) and in light of this, online STEM instructors are also strongly encouraged to utilize UDL principles in course design, which benefit not only students with disabilities but all students.
Farrel, D., Ray, K., Rich, T., Suarez, Z., Christenson, B., & Jennigs, L. (2018). A Meta-Analysis of Approaches to Engage Social Work Students Online. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 38(2), 183–197.
With an increase in social work courses being offered in online and hybrid formats, it is imperative that social work programs understand the new teaching tenets and engagement mediums employed to meet the new Council on Social Work Education's Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. This meta-analysis explores best-practices pedagogy for student engagement using the delivery of content through both asynchronous and synchronous methods