Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online: Quick Guide for New Online Faculty

Judith V. Bettcher, Ph.D. has provided a list of 10 best practices for teaching online.  Her top ten items are:

  1. Be Present At the Course Site
  2. Create a Supportive Online Course Community
  3. Share a Set of Very Clear Expectations for Your Student and for Yourself as to (1) How You Will Communicate and (2) How Much time Student Should be Working On the Course Each Week
  4. Use a Variety of Large Group, Small Group, and Individual Work Experiences
  5. Use Both Synchronous and Asynchronous Activities
  6. Early In the Term – About Week 3, As for Informal Feedback On “How Is the Course Going?” and “Do You Have Any Suggestions.”
  7. Prepare Discussion Post that Invite Questions, Deiscussions, Reflections, and Responses
  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
  10. Plan a Good Closing and Wrap Activity for the Course.

Her full post on this subject is available here: http://www.designingforlearning.info/services/writing/ecoach/tenbest.html

8 Lessons Learned from Teaching Online

This EDUCAUSE video provides 8 best practices (lessons learned) from from a couple of leaders in online education: Joanna Dunlap and Patrick Lowenthal.  Those lessons learned are:

  1. High-Touch is More Important than High-Tech
  2. Establish Social Presence Using Digital Storytelling
  3. Use Technology Intentionally
  4. The Power of External Resources
  5. Make Your Expectations Explicit
  6. Fun, Playfulness and the Unexpected
  7. Login Regularly
  8. Personal Feedback

Accessibility MOOC on Canvas Network – #AccessMOOC

SUNY Empire State College and Buffalo State College are using a SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant to fund the creation of a new Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) that “will help participants gain a better understanding of accessibility as a civil rights issue and develop the knowledge and skills needed to design learning experiences that promote inclusive learning environments for all students, including those with disabilities.”

Accessibility: Designing and Teaching Courses for All Learners is a free 6-week (2/22-4/4) professional development course available that will help you gain a better understanding of accessibility as a civil rights issue and develop the knowledge and skills you need to design learning experiences that promote inclusive learning environments. Continue reading “Accessibility MOOC on Canvas Network – #AccessMOOC”

10 Attributes of a Successful Online Student


This Infographic on the 10 Attributes of a Successful Online Student is by Cengage Learning and is based on Joel English’s, Plugged In: Succeeding as an Online Learner.

1. They believe in the process

Online students that adopt a positive attitude about their school, the distance education process, the faculty, and the courses they are taking are often more successful. They fully invest in the academic community.

2. They speak up

Whether seeking financial, grade and/or transcript information, understanding of materials within a course, or an introduction to the services, students should be aggressive about receiving the support they expect, and clearly communicate the resources they need.

3. They perfect their technical skills

If a student is not comfortable with their technological skills, he or she should reach out for computer training or tutoring. Students who lack confidence in their technical abilities tend to fall behind early in an online program.

4. They stay connected

Online students will have to maintain a reliable Internet Service Provider (ISP) and a dedicated workspace throughout their program.

5. They know their resources

Schools tend to offer student, career, and academic advising, library resources, and faculty members to support student success. Students should reach out to all of these personnel and know the policies and resources that are available to them.

6. They find their passion

Students should aim to choose a program that gives their life purpose, which will, in turn, find purpose in their coursework and assignments.

7. They actively participate

Online students should plan to be active in all discussions, not only with instructors, but also reading and responding to classmates.

8. They take breaks

Students should engage in coursework in “chunks” of time rather than in long stretches in front of the computer, with short breaks at least every hour.

9. They schedule their time

Online students should not let the convenience of an online course fool them into thinking that it requires less time than a traditional face-to-face course. Make sure they set a schedule for their work and they work within the schedule.

10. They communicate with others

Successful students take advantage of the opportunities to make new friends online and interact with staff and instructors. Schools should provide resources for them to join clubs, student interest groups, and social gatherings.

Here is a link to the PDF version of this infographic: http://www.cengagesites.com/sites/1094/13P-IN0218_PluggedIn_Infographic_w.pdf

Blackboard Names New CEO, Bill Ballhaus


Katie Blot, senior vice president for corporate strategy and business development at Blackboard, announced on the Blackboard blog that Bill Ballhaus was replacing Jay Bhatt as CEO.  She wrote:

Today, we are fortunate to be joined by a great leader – our new CEO Bill Ballhaus. Bill’s philosophy is directly in line with ours and his skill set is going to help us reach new heights. While this is certainly a change for Blackboard, rest assured that the heart of our mission and strategy will remain the same. . . .


So we have defined our strategy and now, with Bill joining the company, we’ll continue to execute against it. Bill has accomplished much over his career and his operational expertise has led various businesses to great success. He and I share a fundamental belief that if you make your first priority taking care of your customers, the business results will follow. So, under his leadership Blackboard will continue our focus on doing just that. We will deliver next generation teaching and learning capabilities to the market, continue our international growth, and improve even further the way we serve our customers and strive to exceed their expectations. Bill is uniquely positioned to help us execute against these priorities, and with him we’ll achieve significant advances for our customers and for Blackboard.

Here are some early comments: