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.
Last month I began outlining factors which contribute to online student success. I highlighted a few that I’ve seen over and over both through literature and in my own experiences as an instructional designer, doctoral student, and online instructor. To recap my first post on “What factors contribute to online student success?”, good course design and facilitation, feeling a part of a community, and effective feedback loops are all factors which contribute to student engagement, motivation, and ultimately success online.
There are many factors which contribute to any students’ success, but online students face more of an uphill battle. Success in online learning requires more self-direction, more persistence, and more assertiveness than traditional face-to-face learning environments do.
If we were to mention “online group work” to you or your students, you may cringe and remember all of the challenges encountered when attempting such a task. You are likely familiar with feedback from students such as:
OLC Accelerate is an international conference which focuses on improving quality online learning, advancing best practices, and accelerating change in eLearning. The conference attracts academic leaders, educators, administrators, and online learning professionals in higher education and related fields from around the world.
This is the first in a series of posts, intended to provide actionable Canvas strategies that instructors can easily implement to help improve motivation and engagement among online students. Students often feel isolated in online courses, and crave the connection with peers and instructors that occurs more naturally in the face-to-face environment. While students of course have a responsibility to take charge of their own learning strategies, there are certain strategies that you, the instructor, can implement to help students feel more engaged and motivated, and ultimately become more successful in their online learning.
When writing discussions, you'll want to ask yourself a few questions which will help define the types of prompts you'll prepare for your students: What level are my students at in this topic/field? (entry level, mid-level, mastery level, etc.) and At this point in the semester, what is the goal for my students? (foundational knowledge, critical thinking, application, etc.)
Are you ready to breathe new life into your online discussions? [Roles in group discussions] You might want to try out integrating roles into small discussion groups, which can provide more variety in the discussion forum and clearly define tasks. Roles can be assigned to students each week, or you can opt for self-selection using a variety of methods.