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Online Teaching at Its Best: Merging Instructional Design with Teaching and Learning Research

ISBN: 978-1-119-24229-1
264 pages
December 2017, Jossey-Bass
Online Teaching at Its Best: Merging Instructional Design with Teaching and Learning Research (1119242290) cover image


Bring pedagogy and cognitive science to online learning environments

Online Teaching at Its Best: A Merger of Instructional Design with Teaching and Learning Research is the scholarly resource for online learning that faculty, instructional designers, and administrators have long been awaiting. Over 70 percent of degree-granting institutions offer online classes, and while technical resources abound, the courses often fall short of integrating the best practices in online pedagogy, even if they comply with online course design standards. Typically these standards omit the best practices in teaching and learning and the principles from cognitive science, leaving students struggling to keep the pace, understand the material, and fulfill their true potential as learners. This book fills the gap, providing evidence-based practices for online teaching, online course design, and online student motivation integrated with pedagogical and cognitive science to help you build the distance learning courses and programs your students deserve.

As more and more students opt for distance learning, it's up to designers and instructors to rethink traditional methods and learn to work more effectively within the online learning environment, and up to administrators to provide the needed leadership. Online Teaching at Its Best provides practical, real-world advice grounded in educational science to help online instructors, instructional designers, and administrators deliver an exceptional learning experience.

  • Adopt new pedagogical techniques designed specifically for online learning environments
  • Ensure strong course alignment and effective student learning for online classes
  • Increase student retention, build necessary support structures, and train faculty more effectively
  • Integrate research-based course design and cognitive psychology into graduate or undergraduate programs

Distance is no barrier to a great education; what do stand in the way are inadequate online course design and implementation and deficient faculty training and support—all of which administrators can mitigate. Online Teaching at Its Best will help you ensure that your online classes measure up to the rigor and quality of excellence in teaching and assessment, build in the personal touch for developing a learning community and equip your students to succeed in the next challenge. 

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Table of Contents

The Authors



1 Teaching at Its Best, No Matter What the Environment

Teaching Quality as Key

The Special Challenges of Online Learning

The Special Challenges That Online Faculty Face

Teaching and Learning across Environments


2 Setting Significant Outcomes

The Need for Reflecting on What We Teach

How Content Becomes the Wrong Driver

A Meaningful Destination for the Learning Enterprise

Examples of Significant Learning from Instructional Design

Examples of Significant Learning from College Courses

Examples of Significant Learning from Adaptive Learning

The Process of Reflection


3 Designing a Coherent Course

Online Course Design Standards

Phases of Course Design

Structuring Your Course

Course Templates and Maps: Aids to Course Design

Writing and Sequencing Learning Outcomes

Developing Valid Assessments

Mapping Learning Activities to Outcomes

Choosing Online Course Content

Online Copyright Guidelines

The Syllabus: What to Include

Organizing Your Files for Yourself and Your Students


4 Applying Cognitive Science to Online Teaching and Learning Strategies

25 Principles of Learning from Cognitive Science

How These Principles Can Inform Online Course Design and Teaching


5 Motivating Elements: Course Policies, Communications, Assessments, and More

Motivation, Effort, and Achievement

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Categories of Motivators: Intrinsic and Extrinsic

Reinforcing and Punishing

Capturing Attention

Ensuring Relevance

Encouraging Goal Expectancy and Self-Efficacy

Creating Satisfaction

Fostering Social Belonging

Motivating as Our Major Task


6 Developing Interactivity, Social Connections, and Community

The Effects of Interactions on Learning

Student-Instructor Interaction

Student-Content Interaction

Student-Student Interaction

Interactions with Technology


7 Making Accessibility-for-Everyone Much Easier

Why Use Student-Centered Design?

Sources of Obstacles

Overcoming Obstacles

Guidelines and Standards for Designing Accessibility

The Specific How-to’s of Ensuring Accessibility

Additional Resources and Advice


8 Creating a Supportive Culture for Online Learning

The Importance of Quality in Online Courses

Faculty Challenges in Transitioning to Online Teaching

Faculty Incentives and Support for Online Teaching

Designing Effective Professional Development

Models for a Professional Development Program


Appendix 1 Online Course Development Checklist

Course Beginnings


Assessments and Grading

Course Materials

Student Interactions with the Content, Instructor, and Peers

Appendix 2 Accessibility Resources

Strategies to Make Access to Course Materials Easy

Ways to Make Accessible Document Files

Ways to Design Accessible PowerPoint Presentations

Captioning Resources

Accessibility Checks

Resources for Students


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