How to make and break online classes: Lessons learned - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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How to make and break online classes: Lessons learned


To discuss effective and ineffective online teaching and learning strategies ... Provide resources on how to study as an online learner. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How to make and break online classes: Lessons learned

How to make and break online classes Lessons
  • Betül Özkan
  • Barbara K. McKenzie
  • Marty Bray
  • University of West Georgia

  • To discuss effective and ineffective online
    teaching and learning strategies
  • To share some of the software we use to support
    our online classes

Online course planning Effective Strategies
  • Make all course materials accessible to students
    at the beginning of the course.
  • Documents in Word format are preferred
  • If students need plug-ins or specific readers to
    open the documents, they should be provided in
    the course site

Online course planning
  • Students should be informed about the differences
    of online environment from the traditional
    face-to-face environment at the beginning of the
  • PowerPoint presentation with audio
  • Handout explaining the differences
  • Selected web sites
  • Instructor presentation
  • Class discussions

Online course planning
  • Instructors should set up a protocol for
    student-instructor and student-student
    communication at beginning of course.
  • Instructor sends a welcome message to the class,
  • Instructor asks students to introduce themselves,
  • Instructor checks-in with students on a regular
    basis to facilitate interaction and make sure
    students are keeping up with the course each

Online course planning
  • Instructors should let students know about
  • their availability,
  • where and how they can be contacted,
  • how quickly they can expect a response to their
    assignments and e-mail

Online course planning Ineffective Strategies
  • Making big changes in the course content,
    assignments and evaluation strategies after the
    online course started.
  • Not reflecting on the course and doing
    preplanning before the course goes up.
  • Not pilot testing the distance course before it
    goes up and getting feedback for improvements.

Ineffective Planning
  • Not providing a media rich learning environment
    for students.
  • Using very large documents within the course
    where students with dial-up connection might have
    difficulties downloading.
  • Having a unstructured, messy, and confusing

Assessing student needs and subsequent system
requirements Effective Strategies
  • Design and use a needs assessment instrument
  • to understand students prior experiences with
    the course content.
  • Design and use a distance/technology assessment
  • to collect information on students prior
    experience with distance courses and technology.

Student Needs
  • Use of incentives, small awards, positive
    feedback and encouragement
  • e.g., extra points, certificates, praise.
  • Provide resources on how to study as an online
  • Create a safe environment for students
    communication, and treat questions and comment
    with respect.
  • Send students information on what is
    netiquette if they are new to the distance

Student Needs
  • Track student access to the course environment at
    least once or twice a week to get an idea of how
    frequently they are online.
  • If they are not going online a sufficient number
    of times send them an e-mail encouraging them to
    participate more in class to keep up with the
    course and the information that is being
  • Create folders for students to submit their work
    with the title of the work assignment and the due
    date listed.

Assessing student needs and subsequent system
requirements Ineffective Strategies
  • Using a rigid teaching strategy that assumes one
    way of teaching fits all students enrolled in the
  • Having a disorganized course website where
    students have to search for information for a
    long time.

Student Needs
  • Having conflicting information in the course that
    frustrates students such as different due dates
    on assignments.
  • Not providing enough assistance in developing
    study skills and time management.

Building support systems Effective Strategies
  • Give students options to select and register
    online courses without coming to the campus.
  • Have easy electronic access to students grades
    and transcripts.
  • Provide built-in technical and educational
    support for students in the course website.
  • Provide an opportunity for students to retrieve
    books, journals, library collections and other
    course readings through online course website.

Building support systems
  • Establishing an advising message board open at
    the beginning of each term and/or during
    registration periods.
  • Provide the phone numbers of support services in
    the course syllabi where students can easily
    access this information
  • (e.g., Distance Office, Library Support, Distance
    support on the weekends)

Building support systems
  • Provide the web addresses of support services in
    the course syllabi where students can easily
    access this information
  • (e.g., Distance Office, Library Support, ABCs of
    Online Learning Student tutorial, Advising)
  • Use the grading tool in course management program
    for immediate feedback to students on their work.

Building support systems Ineffective Strategies
  • Not having any type of support system in place
    for students causes students to feel isolated in
    an online course.
  • Not having clear directions for student advising.
  • Requiring the use of resources that are not
    easily accessible to the students.
  • Not setting up a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
    for students within the course website.

Changed roles for online instructors Effective
  • Establish peer study groups and incorporate peer
    reviews to encourage students to discuss their
  • Foster a sense of community in the online
    environment where instructor and students share
    their thoughts, experiences, and feelings.
  • Provide a strong mentoring program for the new
    online instructors (Mentor/ mentee program)

Changed roles for online instructors
  • Get familiar with the different ways online
    communication can take place in class
  • (e.g., online chat, Skype -free Internet phone),
  • Use some of the new and emerging types of
    technologies in class to make the online
    environment more interactive and interesting for
  • (e.g., Impatica, Camtasia, streaming video).

Changed roles for online instructors
  • Share some of the decision making
    responsibilities with the students where and when
  • (e.g., when to have the final class
  • Provide incentives for online instructors
  • (e.g., reassigned time for designing online
    classes, professional development funding, Apollo
    Award, merit pay, technology such as a laptop,
    software and hardware).

Changed roles for online instructors Ineffective
  • The online instructor learns by doing and has no
    formal or informal training.
  • Following a bottom-down, didactic teaching
    methodology in online courses.

Changed roles for online instructors
  • Not giving students an opportunity to call the
    instructors attention to valuable information
    and resources.
  • Not archiving interactions, solutions and
    exemplary student work for future reference.

Designing course and the curriculum Effective
  • Let students know early in the course about the
    extent of online and face-to-face meetings.
  • Use multimedia features while designing the
    online course site (background, selecting which
    tools to use in the course such as discussion
    boards, schedule, chat, private email, individual
    assessment tools, chat, so on).

Designing course and the curriculum
  • Provide a variety of course materials that
    address the diverse learning styles and
    preferences of your students
  • (e.g., reading materials, e-reading materials,
    materials that students need to hear audio from a
    PowerPoint, materials that students are required
    to problem solve, group work, individual work).

Designing course and the curriculum Effective
  • Decide how interaction will occur in the online
  • (learner-learner, learner-technology
    learner-instructor, learner-content).
  • Decide on the online teaching strategies you will
    use to accomplish your course objectives.
  • (e.g., presentations with and without audio, case
    studies, collective problem solving activities,
    e-readings, online tutorials).

Designing course and the curriculum Effective
  • Assign students to virtual learning groups and
    have the group select, research, and prepare a
    presentation on a topic.
  • This may take the form of a paper, webpage,
    PowerPoint presentation, brochure, and/or digital
  • Create a cyber café where students can come
    online to communicate with others in the class at
    designated days and times.

Designing course and the curriculum Ineffective
  • Not informing students the first class that the
    course is online and requires the students to
    have a computer and Internet access.
  • Courses that do not incorporate some type of
    virtual learning groups or collaborative learning
    opportunities for students tend to be less
    successful that online classes with virtual
    learning groups
  • The online learner feels isolated and all alone
    in the online class without interacting with
    anyone other than the instructor.

Designing course and the curriculum
  • Not giving timely feedback
  • (e.g., taking more than 48 hours to respond).
  • Not moderating class discussions can cause
    communication accidents among students.

Selecting web-based tools Effective Strategies
  • Get familiar with the available distance
    education tools for online course management
  • Try them out to see what is most user friendly to
    you and your students.
  • Attend professional development seminars
    available in ones institution.
  • Network with the Distance Education office or
    support staff.

Selecting web-based tools
  • Consider students technical skills when adopting
    new tools.
  • Provide clear instructions for their use.
  • Share ones experiences with other distance
  • Talk to professionals about the pros and cons of
    the web-based tools you are considering using
  • Then select the tools you feel you can
    incorporate into your course.

Selecting web-based tools Ineffective Strategies
  • Trying to use a distance platform without the
    training is virtually impossible and in most
    institutions cannot take place.
  • Taking on more technology than you can handle at
    one time.
  • (e.g., streaming video takes a while to learn how
    to do so give yourself the training time you need
    before incorporating it into your course).

Selecting web-based tools Ineffective Strategies
  • Start using a new feature of the course
    management tool before fully evaluating its
  • Not piloting a course management tool or
    technology before using it in actual online
  • Not backing up your course

Evaluating student mastery and program
effectiveness Effective Strategies
  • Use peer evaluation and feedback when it is
  • Use formative, summative, online course and
    instructor evaluation instruments to maintain
    course quality.
  • Use multiple assessment techniques
  • (e.g., formative assessments, e-mail, informal
    discussions, summative).

Evaluating student mastery and program
  • Match your course projects with the course
  • Use project based authentic assessment techniques
  • (e.g., electronic portfolios, PowerPoint
    presentations reflecting research that was
    conducted on a selected group topic, digital
    photographs, digital videotapes).
  • Assign reflection papers.
  • Use journaling during the course to demonstrate
    students reflections over time, class projects,
    assignments, and the overall impact of the

Evaluating student mastery and program
effectiveness Ineffective Strategies
  • Using only the final summative course evaluation
    instrument provided by the university to evaluate
    student learning.
  • Not providing alternative assessment strategies
    for diverse learners.
  • Not creating a trusting environment within the
    distance course.
  • Not stating course objectives, project goals, or
    assignment purposes explicitly.

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for
Learning and Online Teaching)
  • MERLOT is free and open database of resources for
    faculty and students in higher education.
  • Many high quality links of online resources are
    collected in this database. Faculty and students
    can also contribute to these resources by
    becoming a member of the MERLOT. However,
    membership is not required and everybody who is
    interested in online instruction can search the
    database and retrieve the resources free.

Skype (Free Internet telephone)
  • Skype is a program for making free calls over
    the Internet to anyone else who also has Skype.
    Its free and easy to download and use, and works
    with most computers.
  • It works on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and PDAs
    using Pocket PC.
  • It is also possible to share files via Skype as
    well as sending instant messages, or just using
    like a telephone service
  • http//

Online video cases
  • A case is a descriptive research document based
    on a real-life situation or event (Merseth,
    1996, p.726).
  • Cases provide important practical information for
    pre-service and in-service teachers and stimulate
    discussions, which may encourage reflective
    thinking about different frameworks, paradigms,
    and methods of teaching and learning.

Online video cases
  • Over the past decade video cases have also
    become popular, and, recently, online cases have
    emerged as a way of sharing cases across the
  • Two good examples of online video case databases
    can be located at the following websites
  • InTime (http//
  • Authentic Classroom Practices at Teacher
    Resources Bank (http//

  • Weblogs or blogs are chronological websites of
    personal thoughts and web links. There are
    several websites where you can create your own
    blog but most well known one is located at address.
  • Blogs are useful teaching and learning tools
    because they provide a space for students to
    reflect and publish their thoughts and
  • Blogs provide opportunities for feedback and
    potential scaffolding of new ideas.

  • Blogs also feature hyperlinks, which help
    students begin to understand the relational and
    contextual basis of knowledge, knowledge
    construction and meaning making (Ferdig and
    Trammel, 2004).
  • Here is one example of an educational blog that
    has been used for one of our online courses

  • Betül Özkan
  • Barbara McKenzie
  • Marty Bray
  • University of West Georgia