Author: Elizabeth Lemke

Reimagining the 5 W’s: Online Course Quality and Alignment

  Introduction At Northwestern, we ascribe to extremely high educational quality standards, and this of course extends to the online courses and programs we design, implement, and maintain for graduate and undergraduate adult learners. But, what does a quality online course look like? How do we define and measure quality? Those are both tough questions that we regularly ask ourselves as we design and develop online courses. To answer these questions, let’s consider them through the lens of the Quality Matters (QM) standards. Quality Matters Standards and Alignment The Northwestern University Distance Learning department uses the QM Standards to ensure


Current Events Activities in the Online Classroom

As members of an evolving and diverse learning community, it’s our responsibility to pay attention, stay informed, build cultural competency, and hone our digital literacy skills. It’s our responsibility to know and understand the implications of local, national, and world-wide events. What better place to practice those skills than in the classroom, where ideas are meant to be explored, challenged, and refined. Current events activities are a great way to get students thinking about and engaging with what’s going on in their field of study right now, while also bridging abstract theoretical concepts with application in the real world. The


Amping up Your BlueJeans Session with a Guest Presenter

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post on Active Learning Strategies for the Online Classroom. This week, I’m continuing that discussion by focusing on how to make sync session presentations more active and authentic. One way to accomplish this is to invite a guest presenter from your vast and ever-growing network of awesome professionals, alumni, and friends. Benefits to Students There are several ways students benefit from a guest presenter. In addition to your expertise, a guest presenter can share additional or varied industry knowledge and insight. They can help feed that growing spark of excitement your students


Active Learning Strategies for the Online Classroom

Dr. Ray Schroeder recently gave a presentation on active learning strategies for NUIT’s Teachxpert Speaker Series. He describes active learning not as a theory, but as “a teaching method that supports learning. The method uses techniques…that promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation that guide students towards achieving learning objectives” (Active Blending for Engagement). Think about the last time you learned something. What was it? How did you learn it? The last time I learned something, I received direct instruction from a peer where I watched a process being done while it was explained, and then I went off on my own


The Many Hats of Online Education: An Interview with Leslie Fischer

In every job I have had, my job description varied depending on the day or the project or who was on my team. That holds true for being a Learning Designer as well, where I am project manager, trainer, researcher, collaborator, among other roles. Faculty developers take on additional roles in the course development process as well. Leslie Fischer is a 30 year teaching veteran at Northwestern University, teaching classes in literature, communication, research, and writing. She has embodied the role of teacher by embracing the interconnected roles of mentor, facilitator, creator, and learner. She is also a student in