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Teaching online brings unique challenges and opportunities, both for instructors and students. Technology mediates the experience and engagement, making the design of the course more salient. Once the design is in place, however, course delivery and your role in it are critical to its success.
This topic focuses on teaching strategies and techniques for facilitation, interaction, and communication, for creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, as well as for course management and feedback. Many of these techniques are ones that may apply in different course types and are very effective in online courses.
Strategies & Techniques
Cultivating a Learning Community
Particularly in an online course, turning a class of individual students into a learning community can increase retention, satisfaction, and student success. It rarely happens by accident.
Establishing a Welcoming Environment
The first experiences in a course can be critical to forming a strong learning community.
Maintaining Regular & Consistent Communication
Communicating regularly with online students help to build community, openness, and trust.
Providing Meaningful & Timely Feedback
In asynchronous learning environments, the timeliness and content of feedback to students is a key point of connection and guidance.
Deeper dives provide opportunities for reflection and transformation around a specific topic for faculty to adapt, implement, and assess evidence-based strategies in their courses. Events include self-paced “courses”, high impact seminars, faculty institutes, and other special programs. Like any focused experience, these provide gains depended upon the time and introspection given to them. The times for self-paced courses are a broad estimate.
Online Pedagogy Competency Course
Online Pedagogy is a 4-week, asynchronous online workshop designed to give you the background and knowledge of best-practices to enhance and hone your online teaching skills using the Brightspace platform. In just four weeks, you will learn best practices, create a course site, syllabus, course map/schedule, establish your methods of grading, and populate your grade […]
Online Teaching Practices & Principles
Guidelines and scorecards for teaching online are emerging as useful tools for discussing online teaching strategies and techniques.
Both URI’s regional accreditor, New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)1 and the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) require in order to offer online courses and programs that we meet their standards which require that, “Faculty responsible for delivering the on-line learning curricula and evaluating the students’ success in achieving the on-line learning goals are appropriately qualified and effectively supported.”
The Joint Committee on Online and Distance Education has designated the methods listed below as ways that faculty can show they are “appropriately qualified” to teach online. Whether you’re looking to teach online with URI or with URI Online, there are different ways to gain qualification.
At URI, there are a few paths to qualification as an online instructor:
- Completion of URI’s Online Pedagogy Course
- Certificate of training in online teaching from a national organization such as OLC, Quality Matters, or the University of Wisconsin’s Professional Certificate in Online Education, and demonstrated competency in URI’s learning management system, Brightspace.
- Certificate of training in online teaching from another regionally accredited higher education institution, and demonstrated competency in URI’s learning management system.
- Faculty can demonstrate “experience” by submitting one of their Brightspace courses to the Quality Matters peer review process. If they score above 85%, they “test out” of training.
For URI Online, where faculty are developing master course shells for URIO programs and certificates, we use the cohort development model wherein all developing faculty design their courses together via an Instructional Designer facilitated Online Design Workshop. While it is ideal to have taken Online Pedagogy before entering Online Design, it is not necessary. For URIO courses developed later in the program or certificate process, 1:1 Instructional Design support is provided. All URIO courses must pass a Quality Matters review to launch. For more information on URI Online course development, please visit this page.