Articles and information for online and distance educators to advance their e-learning and distance education skills and knowledge.
Add Student Interaction to Course Content
Keep your students motivated to learn by giving them ways to interact with the content of your course. Here are several suggestions to start you thinking about how to accomplish that.
Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning [offsite link]
Archives of Conference keynotes, forums and other presentations via Real Audio and Windows Media streaming files.
Assessment in Distance Learning Courses
An article discussing how instructors of distance learning courses can use assessments to best reflect the learning of the students.
Assesssment in Distance Learning Courses
Instructors of distance learning courses must do assessments during their courses for their own, the students' and the school's benefits. There are differences in online courses that must be considered in assessing students. How can you plan the course to best reflect the students' learning?
Assignments for Adult Learners
Adult distance learners know what their goals are when they sign up for an online course. Keep those learners interested and involved in the course by giving them assignments that help them to meet those goals while making use of their existing skills and knowledge.
Baby Boomers - Teaching Adults
Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 and adopted their name because more babies were born in the year 1946 than ever before. This was a result of couples postponing marriage and childbirth during the Great Depression and World War II.
Building Community in Online Courses
Would you like to develop a sense of community in your online classroom? One of your best tools for doing that is your discussion board.
Building Online Community
More students drop out of distance learning courses than on campus courses. It may be possible to change those statistics by creating community in online courses. This could decrease students' feelings that they are completely on their own in the course and therefore increase their motivation.
Campus Technology [offsite link]
Professional online magazine and conference center dedicated to educators, administrators and course developers interested in technology for higher education.
Challenges of Teaching Online
Technology has been a great instigator in promoting the growth of online teaching, but with the demand for online education come complex choices that instructors must face in developing effective online courses.
Characteristics of a Motivated Instructor
According to Robert Wlodkowski’s book Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn: A Comprehensive Guide for Teaching All Adults, there are five characteristics an instructor must exhibit to motivate students: expertise, empathy, enthusiasm, clarity, and cultural responsiveness.
Chunking Course Content
Chunking information when designing your online courses can make your job easier and help your students do better in the course.
Whether teaching an online or on-campus class, there is one essential factor of which all instructors must be aware—namely, the importance of effective introductions on the first day of class.
Communicating Your Expectations
Would you like your students to develop a feeling of confidence to help them be more successful in their learning? There are some ways that the teacher can encourage this to happen by giving clear instructions and expectations for coursework.
Course Authoring Tools
Depending on the goals you have for your courses, you may need or want to use some course authoring tools that you are not presently using. Here are some things to consider when deciding which ones to add to your repertoire.
Creating a Syllabus
At some point, high school, college or university instructors will be involved in the process of creating a syllabus, an outline of the subjects in a course of study, whether the class is on campus or online. A syllabus lays out the course objectives at a glance.
Designing Courses for Diverse Learning Needs
Students have diverse learning needs. It is best to design courses from the beginning in such a way that all students will have access to them. Usually when a course is designed to ensure that special needs students can learn, positive outcomes occur for many other students too.
Distance Educator.com [offsite link]
Led by Fred Saba, PhD., this group of experts has helped shape the growth of distance education through their research, consulting and development work in the field.
Distance Learning Administration [offsite link]
The annual Distance Learning Administration (DLA) Conference, sponsored by the University of West Georgia and the Online Journal of Distance Administration, addresses issues of concern and interest to online learning administrators and educators.
Distance Learning Conference [offsite link]
Held annually in Madison, WI, the Distance Learning Conference is a three-day event where an exchange of current resources, research, and best practices from around the world relevant to the design and delivery of distance education/training are shared.
Edu-Tools [offsite link]
Resources related to Course Management Systems, Student Services and e-learning Policies from the British Columbia Centre for Curriculum, Technology & Transfer.
Edutopia [offsite link]
Presented by the George Lucas Foundation, this futuristic site provides tips and guidelines for innovative, learner focused teaching, with an emphasis on using technology in the process.
Encouraging Participation in Discussions
Most instructors want their students to do well in their course. If you are one of these instructors, then you need to track student participation and encourage students to participate in the discussions that are taking place for the course. Here are a few ideas to consider.
Giving Constructive Feedback
During distance learning classes, both teachers and students will be required to give feedback to each other. That feedback will be useful to the other person concerned only when it is constructive. Here are some tips on giving constructive feedback when it is required.
Help Your Students Be Successful
If you are a course instructor I am sure you would like your students to do well in their online learning. Here are some thoughts about answers to questions to include in your course design that might help them to be successful.
Increasing Online Student Teacher Interaction
Will your first contact with your students begin to develop the sense of community that is essential to dispel the students' feelings of isolation, so common in online courses? A willingness to help and clear instructions will help to achieve that.
Instructional Design and Online Course Development [offsite link]
Overview website on instructional course design and development by Ann Gordon.
Instructional Design Models [offsite link]
Martin Ryder of the University of Colorado presents a useful overview of various learning theories from behaviourist to postmodern approaches.
Learning Theory in Cyberspace
The discipline of education rests on a myriad of learning theories. Dozens of learning theories and principles can be considered, but a select few are appropriate for online distance learning.
Macromedia Breeze [offsite link]
Quickly and easily share important information through online meetings, presentations and training courses. Breeze enables individuals at all skill levels to achieve powerful results in hours, not months—using the familiar PowerPoint application and sharing information over the Internet in Macromedia Flash format.
MERLOT Website Review
There is a great deal of work to finding and developing materials for distance learning courses. Fortunately there are a few websites that can help you and one of them is the MERLOT website. It can lead you to some high quality peer reviewed materials that may be valuable to you and save you time.
Moodle – a User-Friendly, Open Source Course Management System
Moodle is a free, open source Course Management System (CMS) that is currently used by many universities, colleges, schools, companies, and individual instructors.
Online Instructor - Job Interviews
Today, teaching qualifications at the university level are becoming more demanding, as candidates selected are expected to hold a PhD in addition to years of teaching experience. However, with persistence and dedication to achieving your passion, you will eventually get your foot in the door.
Online Instructors More in Demand
Advancements in technology will continue to be one of the key drivers behind growth in education technology. There is no denying the best formula for a well-rounded education consists of both online and classroom instruction because of the unique skills acquired in each.
Pedagogy, Andragogy, and Technology
In the past century, methods of learning and teaching have been affected greatly by a number of factors including economic changes, cultural changes, technological innovations, and globalization.
Preparing to Teach Your First Course
Preparing to teach your first course can be intimidating. Colleges, universities, and other educational institutions have required materials such as selected textbooks, curricula, and syllabi that are necessary to begin your teaching experience.
Presentation Creator [offsite link]
This software enables companies to quickly create, manage and deliver time sensitive business knowledge. In only two easy steps a user can transform a simple presentation into rich-media with the addition of the user´s voice, photo or video.
Professional Development for Online Instructors
Whatever your reasons may be, once you become an online adjunct instructor, there are certain requirements that will be expected of you in addition to your teaching responsibilities.
Provide Good Feedback to Students
Lack of good feedback is a common complaint of distance learning students. Here are some ideas on how to improve the feedback for students in your distance learning courses.
Sidebars [offsite link]
This ezine is brought to you by the Learning Resources Unit of BCIT: provides useful information and news items for instructors, course developers, educational technologists and anyone else who has an interest in distributed learning in its various manifestations.
Study Skills Include Chunking
Many instructors chunk the content of distance learning courses in order to make the courses easier for you to learn. However, if your instructor places whole lectures online with a large amount of information in each lecture, you can chunk the content into smaller units yourself to study.
TCRecord.org [offsite link]
"The Voice of Scholarship in Education." Excellent free resource for educators from the Teachers College of Columbia University in New York.
Teacher World [offsite link]
Teacher Education: Become a teacher or advance your current teaching career. Browse an extensive list of online and campus universities for teachers.
Teaching Online - Job Search
The demand for college instructors is on the rise, and by 2020, it is anticipated that half of the students attending college will participate in some form of online course during their degree program.
teachLEARNING [offsite link]
A rich resource for tech learning leaders. A blog,forums, magazine, webinars and resources for teachers, administrators, and tech coordinators.
The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning [offsite link]
A refereed e-journal to advance research, theory, and best practice in open and distant learning worldwide.
Updating Course Content
Save time while updating course content. Make use of student projects or assignments. Include content that is as recent as last year or even last semester in a creative way that might also make the content more interesting and more motivating for students.
Using Multimedia in Online Courses
In online courses, text is usually the main format that is used for communication between the instructor and students. There are very good reasons for using audio and video formats in online courses.
Links marked with the [offsite link] designation point to websites not associated with BellaOnline.com. BellaOnline.com is not responsible for the material found there.
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