Tag Archives: Schedule Development

Essential Online Instructor

In online classes, instructor presence, instructor immediacy, and a sense of community are essential for successful student completion and retention. Improve student participation and satisfaction by making the online classroom inviting.

Karen Liebhaber, an online adult upgrading English instructor from Black River Technical College in Pocahontas, AR presented in the Learning and Teaching stream. The full title of her presentation was The Essential Online Instructor: Present, Immediate, and Community Facilitator. It is available online at http://www.scctv.net/league-dl/ppt/INV2014/s19478.zip 

She is an experienced online educator who was concerned about the low retention rate, poor completion rates, poor grades and poor student satisfaction that many online courses report. Her goal became to improve student retention and completion by being more present to her online students. That involved being available ‘almost 24/7′ to her learners. She reports that the result of this immediacy is that students feel supported, encouraged, important and part of a community of learners. She now feels she knows more about her online learners than her face-to-face learners on campus. She had created trust between herself and her learners. There is more accountability. They now realize their absences will be noted and they are less likely to squeak by. She did this by increasing instructor presence online, giving students a sense of immediacy and community. This increased visibility of the online instructor comes through course design, facilitation and direct instruction.

Course Design

Organization of the course is critical to student success. The course needs to be logically setup, with material grouped according to context. Grading turn around time is also critical. Response to student inquiries needs to be immediate. While she may take time to mark essays, she provides them with timely feedback on when they can expect to have marked essays returned. It is also important to provide quality feedback.

Facilitation

Facilitation of students in the online classroom is important. Be a ‘tour guide’ to your online classroom. Once you get a second question on a particular topic, post your response in the course announcements area. In your course design as well as with your interactions with students set the class culture. Encourage interactive versus passive participation by encouraging student participation in activities. Acknowledge student responses right away. Be timely in your correspondence. Provide quality feedback.

Direct Instruction

Direct instruction shows your personality. This can come from your personal course materials including videos, audio, written lectures and written notes. Your tone, language and word choice in your instructional materials, forums and feedback all have an impact and help improve student motivation.

Instructor postings and just being visible in the class are statistical predictors  of student success. Baker, 21. Elements of High Value to Students (Sheridan & Kelly, 767) include :

  • Communication
  • Instructor Responsiveness

Elements of Low Value to Students

  • Synchronous communication
  • Face-2-face communication
  • Being able to see the instructor

 Other Related Issues

  • Clearly state course deadlines and timelines.
  • Create rubrics. They are important so that students understand grading system.
  • Regularly report to students about their progress
  • Create a weekly summary abut the coming week’s important topics.
  • Provide the opportunity for personal conference by phone or email.
  • Provide prompt feedback that is clear and descriptive. This can be written text or provided via audio or video.
  • Create reminders for deadlines. Some participants are using Remind 101. Others use Twitter to send out reminders to students. The announcements forum can also be used for this. Many course platforms have a calendar tool.
  • Create short instructional videos.

The presenter reiterated the importance of instructor immediacy. Further, can students relate to you? Can they trust you? Do they feel supported and encouraged or discouraged by you?

Watch your words. Give clear constructive feedback. Reaffirm students’ feelings. Create a sense of community in the classroom. An introductory video can help with this. Encourage student groups. Create survey, polls and questionnaires to gather student feedback.

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About

Welcome to Martin Buck’s blog.

photo of Martn Buck
Martin Buck

Here you will find postings I have made about different professional and schedule development activities I have been involved in over my recent time as a college math instructor at Camosun College. You will also find posts at my Google Plus account. See below for a link to that.

I have been an instructor at Camosun College since 1987. In that time I have been an active participant in and evaluator of the use of educational technology to help faculty, staff and students gain digital literacy skills.

In 1995 as an outcome of my master’s degree, I began Learning Webs, a project to develop and deliver online instructional materials for adult upgrading students. These are currently being delivered both online and in a blended mode in partnership with local community learning centres.

My passion is helping create a ” . . . world made transparent by true communications webs (Illich, Ivan. Deschooling Society, 1971, p. 157).”

In my spare time, I like to read fiction and biographies as well as restore vehicles. I recently built a shop to facilitate that passion. You can read about the summer 2011 project at http://www.carbucks.ca/?p=11. Next up is an 83 Honda Magna V65. At the time it was claimed to be the world’s fastest production motorcycle. While I still have a need for speed, that bike is now up for sale, as I focus on more practical machines. In that vein, I also have two Triumph TR8s, an ’80 that needs a new water pumped and paint job and an ’82 that is in ‘collector plate’ condition.

Here’s a bit of background information for you.

OpenClass — a free learning management system from Pearson

Some interesting developments in online education platforms. Pearson Publishing who provides the MathXL platform I use for teaching online is introducing OpenClass. It is a new kind of learning management system that is offered through the ‘Cloud‘ via Google Apps for Education.

OpenClass will be offered free of charge. A beta version is supposed to be available October 18th. Pearson’s model is to provide and charge for curriculum content. However, other content providers will also be able to make use of the platform.

For more details see the press release here. See their website at http://www.joinopenclass.com. A promotional video, without much in the way of details, is available here.

This development could very well be the ‘game changer’ Pearson claims it to be. The demand for online learning continues to grow, here in BC and around the world.

New Mathematics Resources for Developmental Educators

On June 30th, I participated in webinar presentation on the National Repository of Online Courses’ new developmental math online materials. I blogged about this earlier. See http://faculty.camosun.ca/martinbuck/2011/03/01/nroc-focus-group/ for background info.

The project’s website is http://www.nrocmath.org. A recording of the webinar is available at this link. You may also download the slides.

These media rich materials may have some application to our fundamental level learners at Songhees. I will be following up in the coming days about piloting the materials at Songhees.