6 keys to a good online course

Here’s a hint: It’s not really about the technology

good-online-courseOnline learning is about changing the delivery of instruction, but if it’s one thing everyone agrees on, it’s that good teaching, just like in the traditional classroom, makes or breaks the course. But what are the other characteristics of a good online course?

“In the current frenzy around online education and MOOCs, we spend a lot of time focused on the science of what technology can enable — and less on the art about what may actually make an online course good,” writes PandoDaily.

Surprisingly, recent studies on MOOCs from Duke University, as well as many current articles on the topic of ‘what makes a good online course’ from both educators and students, all agree that the actual technology platform, or the recording technology used, has very little to do with an online course’s success.…Read More

5 reasons why the lecture is on its last leg

Here’s how the basis of ‘modern education,’ Team-Based Learning, is pushing the lecture to the past

lecture-learning-DukeThough there are still many proponents of lecture as the main method of teaching in higher education, the lecture (while still integral) is becoming less of a ‘must-do’ for instructors as learning objectives change with the 21st Century. What’s taking its place? A method that Duke University says is strengthening course design.

Many new trends in learning, including Flipped Learning and online learning, say that instead of focusing on what the educator would like to impart, or what the institution would like to teach, the needs of the learner should come first.

[Read: “One shocking fact about Flipped Learning-and why it matters.“]…Read More

New course format gives universities revenue

New bite-sized courses cater to every student, helps universities make money

course-universities-newAs universities search for new ways to move online, attract students and prepare them for the working world, new bite-sized, short courses for those who don’t have time to earn a specialized degree represent the next step. They also are a way for institutions to make money with existing resources.

For example, a decade ago, subsea engineering was a relatively obscure field in the U.S. Now, as oil drillers move farther out to sea, it’s become a vital part of Gulf Coast production.

Such rapid changes in industry leave schools like the University of Houston’s College of Engineering scrambling to keep up. UH is among the institutions patching these gaps with bite-size courses that could benefit their own students while opening up a new higher education market.…Read More

5 ways to get the most out of your course technology

Comprehensive study reveals it’s less about using actual course tech and more about the preparation

coursetechresizedImplementing technology—personal devices, blended environments, et cetera—definitely comes with a learning curve in terms of functionality. But outside of knowing which apps are great for the course material, there are steps faculty can take to make sure the use of technology isn’t just a passing fad or failed experiment.

In one of the most comprehensive compendiums of efficacy studies on a technology solution for higher education, Pearson researchers discovered five best practices across 47 different case studies from courses across the U.S., Canada, the UK and Asia, on how faculty can best improve learning with their education technology implementation.

“Each successful case study provides insight into the experiences of instructors and their students,” said the over 100-page report. A team of PhD-level statisticians, experts in psychometrics, educational statistics, and journal publications learned how instructors addressed today’s most common academic challenges, including low pass and retention rates, the need to maintain course quality with fewer resources, the need for more-frequent assessment, and academic dishonesty.…Read More

MOOC: How to design an amazing blended learning course

A new free, five-week MOOC will help educators design more engaging blended learning courses

MOOC-blended-learning Designing a blended learning course may seem complicated to people unfamiliar with the vast array of options blended learning provides, but EDUCAUSE, Instructure, and the University of Central Florida hope to remedy that problem by offering a free MOOC on blended learning methods.

The new course also marks the first venture into the world of MOOCs for EDUCAUSE, a higher education nonprofit focusing on information technology.

Blended learning has gained steam in the past year as more educators seek to incorporate a mix of traditional classroom learning and digital media in order to create a more collaborative, and engaging work environment for students in the classroom and online.…Read More

4 ways to make your course more engaging

New method called ‘Connected Learning’ aims to make courses more engaging for youth

engaging-course-connectedMobile technology and its use in the classroom is booming across the country; but outside of the ‘cool tech’ aspect, many educators struggle to understand why students find tech-connected classrooms more engaging. A new method of teaching and learning explains that it’s not about the technology–it’s about the four principles behind it.

Connected Learning, an educational approach designed by the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE), says it harnesses the information age to make learning more powerful.

“For too many young people, particularly our most vulnerable populations, formal education is disconnected from other meaningful social contexts in their everyday lives,” explains AEE in a new brief. “The connected learning model posits that focusing educational attention on the links between different spheres of learning—peer culture, interests, and academic subjects—better supports interest-driven and meaningful learning in ways that take advantage of the potential of digital networks and online resources to provide access to an engaging learning experience.”…Read More

10 rules for developing your first online course

These online rules discuss time management, web design and providing content in different formats.


Years of helping faculty pass to the dark side of online education have taught me a few simple rules that I brow beat (in a collegial way) into all new online teachers.

Rule 1: Provide Extra Detail in Your Online Syllabus
Most of us spend much of the first day of class going through the syllabus, taking time to elaborate on different points, and answering questions as we go along.…Read More