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Effective Blended and Online Teaching
As you begin to work on your course, consider these course design tips based on the research of Yoram and Edith Neumann (2016):
- Engagement in a variety of learning activities and assignments resulted in higher student learning outcomes when a component of self-assessment was included with each activity.
- Outcomes improved when assignment feedback from the instructor and/or peers was immediate (less than 24 hours), frequent (at least twice a week), constructive, and substantial.
- Courses that included problem-based learning, project-based components, threaded discussions, and/or self-reflective components resulted in higher learning outcomes.
- Students who participated in pre-course orientation activities outperformed students who did not. Weekly learning tips provided by the instructor further increased student performance.
To see the full list of lessons learned, read the article Lessons About Online Learning (May 3, 2016) by Neumann and Neumann, posted on InsideHigherEd.com.
The Chronicle of Higher Education Advice Guide: How to Be a Better Online Teacher (Darby, 2020) provides some great resources and advice, including the following 10 Essential Principles and Practices:
- Show up to class
- Be yourself
- Put yourself in their shoes
- Organize course content intuitively
- Add visual appeal
- Explain your expectations
- Scaffold learning activities
- Provide examples
- Make class an inviting, pleasant place to be
- Commit to continuous improvement
Use the link above to learn more about any one of these strategies.
You are also encouraged to read the following Inside Higher Ed article, What Online Teachers Have Learned from Teaching Online, where online teachers discuss:
- In what ways have you changed your approach to teaching online?
- What challenges have you overcome in adapting to the ever-changing landscape of online education?
- How has your relationship with students in online classes changed? Do current online students have different expectations/facility for the format than in the past?
Blended/Online Q&A: What are a few suggestions to streamline the learning experience for online students?
Online learning is particularly susceptible to the effects of extraneous “noise” or burdens that can decrease students’ capacity or attention to learning. One way to decrease noise is to use your Sakai course site as a “home-base” that provides a well-organized place for students to access all the aspects of their learning experience. If you are integrating supplemental programs/apps/technology into your course, be sure to include links to such items within your Sakai site along with contextual information or directions. Resources should be posted at the point of need, not buried in folders, emails, or other locations where students may waste time looking. Refrain from sending individual assignments through email; instead, create and share assignments within your Sakai site. Every graded activity, whether completed in Sakai or elsewhere, should be represented in your Sakai Gradebook. To increase transparency, all graded tasks should be listed in a detailed course assessment plan and communicated to students at the beginning of the term. At the beginning of each week, students should be apprised of what they will be learning and doing in your course that week. Consider using a Lessons Checklist to help students track the tasks they need to complete each week. Checklists can reduce students’ anxiety while helping them monitor their progress more effectively.