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Online Classroom Current Issue: June, 2018
Student engagement has become a focus of higher education— online education in particular— over the past few years. The wide range of interactive methods now available on the web provides instructors with a multitude of ways to insert engagement into their courses.
Last month we laid out what podcasting is and why you might want to explore it for use in your classes and with your colleagues. Now let’s talk about some of the practical considerations of making a podcast.
Most people think of Universal Design as an approach to designing accessible buildings and meeting the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, this philosophy can also be applied to classroom instruction. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that fosters inclusive learning and teaching environments by strategically giving students options in the way they navigate content, show what they know, and are motivated to persist in their learning (“The Three Principles of UDL,” 2014). It benefits all learners, not only those with disabilities. Made up of three guiding principles, UDL has provided a lens through which to view the teaching and learning options available to students in my online courses and resulted in manageable tweaks that have made a big impact on student satisfaction. The three guiding principles of UDL are representation, action and expression, and engagement.
A checklist is absolutely essential to moving a face-to-face course online. Not only does it help the instructor conceptualize their course in an online environment, it helps the instructional designer see what needs to be done. Here is a simple guide to preparing to move your courses online.
Information literacy is critical to the success of a student, as many students fail due to not knowing how to find quality resources. While many instructors recognize this need, they normally incorporate it into their courses by asking a librarian to come in to do a library session or tour of the actual library. But as an undergraduate, I took these as days to mentally “check out,” and enjoy what I considered to be a break from the “real” learning. Even in my graduate studies, I never appreciated the benefits of what the library could offer me as a student (ironically, since I was studying to be a librarian), precisely because I viewed library instruction as something optional. A far better method is to integrate library instruction in the course itself. Fortunately, online classrooms make such integration a relatively easy task.