Facilitating Communities of Practice in Online Courses

A community of practice is a network of people who exchange knowledge about a common profession. Members of the community exchange best practices and share evidence and results while supporting each other on a personal level. Good examples of these communities are the LinkedIn groups that can be found for nearly any profession.

Tips from the Pros: What’s in a Name? Alternative Naming Conventions for Online Courses

Course navigation is what learners instinctively use and consciously rely on to find, select, and explore, and as with any navigational map, keys are necessary to help steer. When logging in, “Home” is usually the first key of the course seen, with others like “Syllabus,” “Discussion,” “Quiz,” and “Module Overview” as common fixtures of the online learning experience.

Understanding the Limits of Student Technology Knowledge

Faculty often assume that their digital millennial students will take to any classroom technology like a fish to water. But these faculty are often surprised by the limits to student understanding of technology, which, Abamu (2017) points out, tend to be narrowly focused on the domains of social media and gaming. These students tend to have trouble with business productivity technologies such as Microsoft Word and Excel. As one student put it, “I did not know how to use headers, footers, or page numbers in Microsoft Word, so I got five points off every essay for an entire semester.”

What TED Talks Teach Us about Teaching

TED Talks captivate us because their speakers apply fundamental principles of communication that are lost on 99 percent of speakers. Because teaching is fundamentally about communication, these principles apply just as well to teaching, especially to online teaching with videos, which is still stuck in a mentality that runs counter to basic communication principles.

An App for Coordinating Group Activities

Study abroad programs can be quite complex because they require constant coordination between groups of students related to changing itineraries, transportation logistics, and unexpected incidents, among other concerns. Over the course of several study abroad programs, a few information technology (IT) faculty members experienced with domestic and global student travel encountered a handful of challenges rooted in communication barriers while on an international travel program.

Structuring Online Mentoring Programs

While all online programs put new faculty through some sort of training to teach them the techniques of online education, there is still much that comes up during courses that cannot be covered in prior training. This is why a mentoring system is critical to the success of any online program.