Recent Posts

A Gallery of Ideas

Distance Learning responds to a need As we develop courses with instructors here at SPS (the School of Professional Studies), we often discover that instructors want to try something new as they assess student learning. They are tired of doing just papers or problem sets. Our learning designers created an Assessment Gallery so that instructors can review sample assignments, discussion board posts, and even rubrics created by faculty members as they go through our development process. Our initial strategy when we started building out the gallery, was to view this as an internal tool that we could share with SPS


Giving and Getting Feedback

Research shows that students learn more effectively in online courses when an instructor gives consistent, timely feedback (Ramlall & Ramlall, 2016). Anyone who has developed a course with our DL team has discussed this as part of our process.  We know that our instructors spend time thinking through exactly how they will participate in online discussions and give comments on student work to help students learn the most from the experience of completing their assessments. Feedback flows both ways Feedback should also flow from students to instructors. This post is a simple reminder that it’s a great idea for instructors


SPS Learning Designers Represent at TEACHx

TEACHx, a fun day set aside to explore teaching and learning, will be held on May 18, 2022, in the Norris Student Center. We encourage you to join the Distance Learning staff as we take some time out to think about creative, effective teaching as we listen to a variety of presenters talk about their recent experiments and what they have learned from them. We encourage you to learn more and register at TEACHx.com. The School of Professional Studies’ learning designers will present some of their innovative work.   David Noffs and Assistant Director Shannon Castle will be part of the digital


Prior Learning Assessment Strategies at the Course Level

Defining Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is an approach to Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) that allows institutions of higher learning to “evaluate and formally recognize learning that has occurred outside of the traditional academic environment. It is used to grant college credit, certification, or advanced standing toward further education or training.”  PLA strategies vary between different universities and colleges, but may include awarding credit for military and professional experiences, Course Match PLA Projects, exams such as College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) exams, professional licensures or certifications, and open-source learning opportunities such as MOOCs (massively open online courses). 


Psychological Safety in the Online Classroom

Introduction It goes without saying that all instructors, whether teaching in face-to-face, hybrid or online classrooms, have a vested interest in student engagement. What “counts” as engagement can encompass active participation in discussions, meeting with faculty, and — of course — submitting assignments and activities for feedback and assessment. If students are engaging, then they are full participants in the individual and collective project that is completing a given course of study. But what is the engine behind that engagement to learn? What does it take to activate meaningful engagement? In a word: motivation.  In her theoretical framework of motivation,