Tag: online teaching strategies

Common Course Design Questions: See What Your Peers Think

On June 26, thirteen SPS faculty members who will be designing courses for Winter 2018 began the Course Design Workshop, a two-week workshop about creating online learning environments, using the Quality Matters Standards, and designing an accessible course.  Throughout the workshop, nearly all of the workshop participants enthusiastically engaged in discussions of effective online course design and instruction. The participants brought their many and varied experiences as educators to the discussions. The following is a summary of the major themes and insights and questions that emerged. How do you help students understand the main ideas in your course? Organizing content


Best Practices for Communicating With Students in Online Classes

Introduction A recent SPS student satisfaction study asked students to identify ways their academic program could be enhanced. Numerous students suggested making improvements to instructor-student communication and engagement. I know what you’re thinking. Communication should be easy! With digital tools to connect students and instructors, shouldn’t this come naturally? Actually, communication with students in online classes needs to be frequent, intentional, and multifaceted. As an online instructor, you will need to actively combat distance and silence to make meaningful connections with your students. Read on to discover tools and strategies that can make the process easier. Make sure your contact


Inclusive Language

Online education allows universities and faculty to open their doors to a wider audience of students than ever before. Students can earn a Northwestern degree without ever setting foot in Chicago, Illinois, or even the United States. This openness in education creates great opportunities, for students and faculty alike. The nature of online education, however, has also created a unique dynamic for students: they have near-total control over how much anyone knows about them. Students can choose whether or not to reveal their ethnicity, religion, disability status, location, and even appearance. Some students find this option to be freeing: they


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


How to Ignite Students’ Learning Using Brain-Based Principles

What is brain-based learning and why do we care about it? With advances in brain imaging technologies and ongoing developments in cognitive research, there is a great deal of information available about how the brain works (Davis, 2008). Knowledge about how the brain integrates new information enables instructors to design courses that incorporate principles of brain-based learning (Clemons, 2005). Brain-based learning involves the use of  “instructional strategies designed for compatibility with the brain’s propensities for seeking, processing, and organizing information”  (Kelly, 2013, para. 3). The handy acronym IGNITE (intervals, grouping, novelty, interconnectedness, technology and time, environment) describes how to activate