Monday, March 10, 2008

Ten best practices for teaching online - or are they?

Educashun Judith Boettcher lists her ten best practices for teaching online. Generally speaking, this is good advice, although I do have a few quibbles:
  1. Be present at the course site.
  2. Encourage a supportive online course community (motherhood and apple pie?).
  3. Share a set of very clear expectations for your students and for yourself as to (1) how you will communicate and (2) how much time students should be working on the course each week.
  4. Use a variety of large group, small group, and individual work experiences. Uh-oh, I feel "learning styles" about to butt in here.
  5. Use both synchronous and asynchronous activities - why? Depends on the situation, surely.
  6. Early in the course ask for informal feedback on "How is the course going?" and "Do you have any suggestions?" And then what? Are you prepared to change course depending on the feedback?
  7. Prepare discussion posts that invite questions, discussions, reflections and responses. quick one-liner hints: Model good Socratic-type probing (everybody likes a good Socratic-type probing) and follow-up questions. Why do you think that? What is your reasoning? Is there an alternative strategy?
  8. Focus on content resources and applications and links to current events and examples that are easily accessed from learner's computers.
  9. Combine core concept learning with customized and personalized learning (motherhood and apple pie again).
  10. Plan a good closing and wrap activity for the course: Important advice which is frequently overlooked - how often have you been a participant in an online course which has just fizzled out...

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of wrapping up - had a good suggestion from an OU colleague which may kill two birds with one stone and get some apple pie involved - summarise the an initial discussion yourself and ask the students to comment on how they think it went and what they learnt from it. Next time, ask a student to sum up and let them take it from there.