classroom management

Challenging to Champion: Working with Difficult Online Students

I’ve had the privilege of teaching thousands of enthusiastic, motivated, successful online students. I’ve also had the frustration of working with online students that display what I call “non-learning behaviors.” These behaviors include taking over the discussion board with irrelevant comments and topics; lurking in the background but rarely participating; overestimating his/her ability to utilize technology (or being afraid to use it at all); constantly challenging the course content, his/her peers, and/or me; and obsessing over grades. In my twenty years as a college professor, I’ve discovered two things about these non-learning behaviors: they negatively impact learning and the Read More…


Connecting with Students via Mobile Learning

Think about your classroom. How many students pull out their tablets at the start of class? Now, picture your campus. As you walk around, how many students are gazing into the screens of their smartphones? To be certain, many of those students embrace their mobile devices as sources of news, entertainment, and communication with their peers. But this digitally connected generation also recognizes the power of those same tech tools for knowledge gathering, building, and sharing. How can we take advantage of these shifts to better connect with and relate to the people in our classes? In today’s featured webinar, Cengage Learning author Read More…


The Benefits of Instructional Technology

Like most instructors, you probably feel the pull of numerous demands on your time. Undoubtedly, you have activities and efforts to which you’d rather devote more time, as well as tasks that you wish would fill up less of your schedule. In other cases, you may recognize the worth of a given activity, but simply wish you could execute it in a more efficient manner. Often, technology tools and resources can help facilitate some of aspects of your daily responsibilities and thus become more free to interact with your students. In the video highlighted below, Susie H. VanHuss describes the Read More…


Strategies for Successful Real-Time Online Chat Sessions

For an online course, real-time chats (often referred to as synchronous discussions) provide an opportunity for students to interact with you and their classmates in a “live” setting. They may take place as a stand-alone discussion, or they may appear alongside a webinar or a presentation within an online collaboration platform. They’re also a helpful means of building community in your online course. But, because these sessions lack the visual and aural communication cues present during an in-person conversation, the act of managing that chat can pose a challenge. (And, of course, if things get too far Read More…


Encouraging Non-Participants to Join in Your Discussion

Whether because of fear, distraction, passivity, lack of preparedness, or another reason altogether, some students shy away from participating in classroom discussions. However, as an instructor, you have goals for your discussion times—and undoubtedly, you have high hopes that all students will want to engage in the conversation. For that reason, you probably want to help those reluctant or non-participating students recognize that, just as they value hearing someone else’s ideas and opinions, other students benefit from hearing their knowledge and perspective. If this situation resonates with you, you may be interested in some ideas that can Read More…


Maintaining an Effective Environment for Online Teaching and Learning

Just as you’d take the time to set up your physical classroom for an optimal learning experience, it’s wise to consider what you can do to set up and maintain your computer in a manner that supports the goals you’ve established for your online course. Likewise, online students should consider their computers their classrooms and study halls, and therefore use their tech tools in a way that optimizes their ability to achieve academic success. In their book E-Learning Companion: A Student’s Guide to Online Success, Fourth Edition, Ryan Watkins and Michael Corry list some steps you and your students Read More…


Activity: Understanding Your Expectations About Online Learning

As new students arrive on campus and get ready to begin their first college courses, they bring with them a set of expectations about what they’ll experience in the classroom. Based on what they’ve heard from friends and family members, what they’ve seen in movies, and what they’ve experienced in school themselves, they are probably walking in with some preconceived notions around the difficulty of the coursework, the types of discussion or group work experiences they’ll share with fellow students, or how you, as their instructor, will lead the class. Those expectations may be met—or, they could be Read More…


Effective Strategies for Managing and Leading Online Courses

If you, like many readers of the Cengage Learning Blog, have taught an online course, you can name some of the factors that lead to a satisfying learning experience for your students. You might list such things as: clearly stated goals and expectations; frequent and timely communication; use of dynamic and interactive learning tools; or, well-written instructions for navigating the learning management system. As you designed your course for this term, you likely built many of these strategies into your teaching plan. It can also help to consider what makes for an ineffective course. Inefficiency, inconsistency, lack of cohesiveness… anything that Read More…


Helping Students Get Up and Running on Your Course’s LMS

If you’ve taught an online course, you know the importance of ensuring that your students know and understand the Learning Management System (LMS) you’ll be using. Being proactive about preparing students to use this critical resource helps them become more comfortable with their online surroundings, and also reduces the number of questions you’ll field about the LMS’s basic functionality. Within the CourseMate for Plugged In: Succeeding as an Online Learner, author Joel English includes a “Technology Boot Camp” designed to help students become familiar with the critical aspects of your school’s LMS, as well as the Read More…


Tackling the Time Conundrum

As an instructor, you may wonder: how do I proactively manage my time in a way that ensures I accomplish the goals I’ve established for myself, as well as those goals and expectations established by my institution? And, how do I use classroom time to its fullest advantage, while simultaneously encouraging students to do likewise? In a recent webinar, Jeff Schillinger of Harrison College presents a number of practical strategies that you can use to maximize the time you spend with students in class, as well as the time you invest in supporting students outside of your regular classroom Read More…