There are so many gadgets out there - laptops, smartphones, tablets, to name a few. Nowadays, there is an app for everything. Apps can be downloaded and become beneficial in your Online Classroom for several reasons! They can improve student communication, promote collaboration and create stronger relationships between students and faculty.

Asynchronous courses are a cornerstone of online learning. At the same time, asynchronous courses present challenges in terms of self-motivation, community-based learning, and combating feelings of isolation. One approach to addressing some of these challenges is to add synchronous elements to your online course. When used correctly, synchronous elements can add a layer of direct interaction and engagement that doesn’t detract from the benefits of the asynchronous format. However, adding synchronous elements isn’t as easy as just setting up regular meeting times. We need to plan with purpose, diligence, and a bit of creativity.

Using an approach of "outreach hours" as opposed to typical office hours fits in perfectly with the Community of Inquiry model that we often refer to in our work with faculty. I see it as an expansion of what teaching presence can look like in the online classroom, along with infusing both social and cognitive presence into the activity as well. That’s perhaps what I like about it most; by rethinking what our traditional office hours look like online, we can engage students more deeply in the tenets of the Community of Inquiry and help improve success.