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Sunday, June 12, 2011

APUS Webinar Series on Teaching Online in Community Colleges - Tammy Herdner

Best Practices for Online Learning, Part 1 (May Webinar), Tammy Herdner, APUS Legal Studies Faculty
  • Lead
  • Timeliness
  • Stick to a Schedule
  • Don't get behind the email 8 ball
  • No Surprises!
Lead:  Stay in front, build rapport, lead your student's educational experience.  Manage is not the same as leading.  Leaning is an opportunity to touch people, a platform that allows us to share our ideas with a lot of people.  Be remarkable and leave a mark.  Be very intentional and proactive about your class.  

Consider going through your class as a student, so you see exactly what they see.  Think about the class from beginning to end and be intentional about the entire experience from the student perspective.

Timeliness:  Is critical to prevent isolation.  When in doubt, communicate.  Consistent, adequate, timely feedback is a key way to prevent student's from feeling isolated.  Consider a weekly announcement on a regular date and time.

Stick to a Schedule:  This ensures good classroom management.  Tell students when you are going to have something done and then stick to it.  (This is a schedule for the instructor).  Sets a good pace for the instructor and helps you set expectations for students.

Don't get behind on email:  student panic = student email = overwhelming for the instructor.

No Surprises!: Students, especially in the online environment, don't like surprises. Plan the entire course before the semester begins.  Let students know exactly what will happen when, when due dates are, what the assignments are, etc.  Publish entire course before term begins.  Then don't change unless you have a very, very good reason.  Students are adults, they have full lives with families, jobs, community responsibilities.  They need to know ahead of time what they will need to do for your course and when they need to do things. (Lisa would add that it's a good idea to build some flexibility into your class.  Students also have crises.  It's nice to allow them the flexibility to manage those crises or other responsibilities without impacting the course.)

This was a very basic webinar, but had a lot of good ideas re organization and planning -- and I agree with the presenter that those are the keys to success in online teaching.  Following her ideas allows you to have the time to be a real person to students, to be present in the teaching space, and to lead your students to successful learning outcomes.


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