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



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

Linda B. Nilson, Ludwika A. Goodson

ISBN: 978-1-119-24229-1 December 2017 Jossey-Bass 264 Pages


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. 

The Authors vii

Preface ix

1 Teaching at Its Best, No Matter What the Environment 1

Teaching Quality as Key 1

The Special Challenges of Online Learning 2

The Special Challenges That Online Faculty Face 4

Teaching and Learning across Environments 7

Reflections 15

2 Setting Significant Outcomes 21

The Need for Reflecting on What We Teach 21

How Content Becomes the Wrong Driver 23

A Meaningful Destination for the Learning Enterprise 23

Examples of Significant Learning from Instructional Design 24

Examples of Significant Learning from College Courses 25

Examples of Significant Learning from Adaptive Learning 28

The Process of Reflection 29

Reflections 30

3 Designing a Coherent Course 37

Online Course Design Standards 37

Phases of Course Design 39

Structuring Your Course 40

Course Templates and Maps: Aids to Course Design 43

Writing and Sequencing Learning Outcomes 46

Developing Valid Assessments 49

Mapping Learning Activities to Outcomes 56

Choosing Online Course Content 58

Online Copyright Guidelines 59

The Syllabus: What to Include 63

Organizing Your Files for Yourself and Your Students 66

Reflections 68

4 Applying Cognitive Science to Online Teaching and Learning Strategies 79

Twenty-Five Principles of Learning from Cognitive Science 79

How These Principles Can Inform Online Course Design and Teaching 82

Reflections 96

5 Motivating Elements: Course Policies, Communications, Assessments, and More 107

Motivation, Effort, and Achievement 107

Too Much of a Good Thing? 109

Categories of Motivators: Intrinsic and Extrinsic 109

Reinforcing and Punishing 110

Capturing Attention 110

Ensuring Relevance 112

Encouraging Goal Expectancy and Self-Efficacy 115

Creating Satisfaction 120

Fostering Social Belonging 121

Motivating as Our Major Task 122

Reflections 123

6 Developing Interactivity, Social Connections, and Community 131

The Effects of Interactions on Learning 131

Student-Instructor Interaction 133

Student-Content Interaction 136

Student-Student Interaction 150

Interactions with Technology 156

Reflections 158

7 Making Accessibility for Everyone Much Easier 165

Why Use Student-Centered Design? 165

Sources of Obstacles 167

Overcoming Obstacles 167

Guidelines and Standards for Designing Accessibility 169

The Specific How-To’s of Ensuring Accessibility 171

Additional Resources and Advice 187

Reflections 188

8 Creating a Supportive Culture for Online Teaching 195

The Importance of Quality in Online Courses 195

Faculty Challenges in Transitioning to Online Teaching 197

Faculty Incentives and Support for Online Teaching 200

Designing Effective Professional Development 206

Models for a Professional Development Program 210

Summary 214

Reflections 215

Appendix A: Online Course Development Checklist 221

Course Beginnings 221

Technology 224

Assessments and Grading 225

Course Materials 227

Student Interactions with the Content, Instructor, and Peers 228

Appendix B: Accessibility Resources 231

Strategies to Make Access to Course Materials Easy 231

Ways to Make Accessible Document Files 233

Ways to Design Accessible PowerPoint Presentations 236

Captioning Resources 236

Accessibility Checks 237

Resources for Students 237

Index 241