“Those teachers who are students of their own effects are the teachers who are the most influential in raising students’ achievement.”
One of the largest influences on student satisfaction and/or success is a faculty member’s direct interaction with students during a course, whether provided asynchronously / synchronously or as individual / group communication.
To support this interaction, the following guidelines synthesize research-based practices regarding online teaching and articulate core, student-centered behaviors that can improve learning processes and outcomes. These guidelines help clarify instructor roles and responsibilities that promote learning, strengthen a student’s sense of connection to the faculty and the university, and contribute to positive perceptions of course and program quality. They help overcome the transactional distance inherent in a web-based environment, where contact is mediated by technology rather than by direct verbal and visual cues.
We articulate five principles (or standards) and their rationale and behavioral norms, then suggesting specific indicators that demonstrate evidence of the standard.
Standard 1: Establish and Cultivate Online Presence
Effective online faculty members actively establish and create a sense of presence within their online classroom through appropriate online interaction and communications.
Research demonstrates that students benefit most from courses where instructors are actively involved and engaged in their classes. Also, there is ample data that confirms that faculty engagement is positively correlated to learning and student success. (Umbach & Wawrzynski, 2005; Zhao & Kuh; 2004; Richardson & Swan; 2003) The broadest and most well-established framework is the Community of Inquiry Model, which sets forth three, overlapping dimensions to presence: social, cognitive, and teaching. Below are standards that provide a baseline for fundamental presence (Garrison et. al., 2000).
Standard 2: Feedback and Assessment
Effective Faculty use assessment and feedback tools that enhance learning by providing students with timely information on their performance on assignments and activities as well as their progress toward achieving course goals
Timely and meaningful feedback is essential at fostering student learning. Specifically, feedback on progress and performance can positively influence learner motivation, self-efficacy, confidence, persistence, and self-regulation.
Standard 3: Social Constructivism
The effective faculty creates a rich, safe, and interactive learning environment that promotes deep learning connections within the class learning community.
Learners construct knowledge and enhanced understandings and insights through the myriad of situated, social interactions afforded within a learning community. The sharing of individual experiences across the community create opportunities for vicarious learning that influences deeper understandings across the group, and it also fosters more connections to seed rich discourse and shared knowledge building. (Brown et al., 1989; Bandura, 1986, 1987; Garrison et. al., 2000).
Standard 4: Direct Instruction
The effective faculty instruct student learning on course concepts and topics individually and within groups.
In the online classroom Direct Instruction plays an essential role within the overall instructional methods that are used in conjunction with each other to promote intended learning outcomes. With instruction communications [email, announcements, discussion posts] and more lecture-based artifacts such as screencasts, podcasts, and video micro-lectures, the instructor presents information, concepts, and models to students and the classroom community (Daniels, Bizar, 2005; Bocchi, Eastman, Swift, 2004; Park, Perry, Edwards, 2011).
Standard 5: Responsiveness
Learning is a situated, shared agency, one that is negotiated with faculty, student, and context. Responsiveness actively acknowledges this interplay and skillfully connects differentiations and levels of experience to create opportunities for higher learning outcomes
Research has shown that no one teaching strategy will consistently engage all learners. The key is helping students relate lesson content to their own backgrounds. To be effective in the online classroom classrooms, instructors must relate teaching content to the backgrounds and experiences of their students. According to the research, teaching that ignores student norms of behavior and communication provokes student resistance, while teaching that is responsive prompts student involvement (Olneck 1995). There is growing evidence that strong, continual engagement among diverse students requires a holistic approach—that is, an approach where the how, what, and why of teaching are unified and meaningful (Ogbu 1995).
Would you like to learn more about the specifics for each standard and how to incorporate these standards in your online teaching? You can read the complete standards and guidelines below and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can assist you with way to improve your course, your teaching and your students’ learning experience.
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