online learning

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…


Ideas for Developing an Engaging Online Course

In order to teach your online course with maximum effectiveness, it helps to build a specific set of skills. Not only must you master the content you intend to cover, you need to know how to present that content in a manner that engages students and best facilitates their mastery of that material. Teaching online also requires skill in working with your school’s learning management system and other online learning tools. In addition, students benefit from your knowledge of how to successfully create activities and lead discussions in the online setting. With more than fifteen years working Read More…


Teaching With Technology for Greater Student Engagement

Many instructors have seen the benefits of integrating technology into their courses, and have noticed its ability to help them create a student-focused learning environment. Indeed, technology tools can facilitate students’ self-discovery and provide them with numerous, creative ways to explore topics, gather and exchange information, and present what they’ve learned to you and to one another. In this video, Cengage Learning author Beverly Amer addresses the changes taking place in today’s higher education environment. She considers how these changes—many of which are driven by technology—impact the ways that instructors interact with students and guide them through the learning process. In Read More…


Motivation and Online Learning

As author Joel A. English notes in his book Plugged In: Succeeding as an Online Learner, “your personal purpose for your academic and professional life should provide you with the motivation you need to rev up in your classes” (p. 9). When students retain a strong sense of personal purpose, they can stay fixed on their goals and remain motivated even when the material seems challenging, the schedule gets hectic, or the goal still feels far away. Some of a student’s motivation and sense of purpose may spring from an intrinsic (or, internal) desire to succeed, while other motivations may be 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…


Tips for Students: Establishing a Backup Plan for Accessing Your Course Resources

Where would we be without our tech tools? We rely on them for so much—school, work, communicating with friends—that if disaster strikes in the form of loss, theft, hardware failure, or a virus, it would be easy to slip into a panic. At other times, technical glitches such as a broken Internet connection can make the difference between an assignment completed on time and one that misses the mark. Though we can’t always prevent computer problems from arising, we can think ahead and mitigate the negative fallout that may occur because of them. In their book E-Learning Companion: A Student’s Read More…


Gathering Insight and Information via RSS Feeds

To stay up to date on the latest happenings in your areas of interest, you likely refer to a number of Web sites. The news articles, photos, video, and other material you glean from these sites can also provide rich and relevant resources for your classes. However, you could easily spend a great deal of time visiting each of these sites whenever you want to find an example of current research, an engaging clip to open your class session, or a thought-provoking article for discussion. Therefore, if you aren’t yet using RSS feeds to follow and gather content, you may want to consider Read More…


Big Data: What It Is, and How You Can Use It

As you think about your courses for next term, you may be considering how you can incorporate relevant current content from social media, government resources, photo and video websites, wikis, and other sources into your lectures, presentations, and assignments. Such content keeps your course up to date and helps students make a connection between the concepts you cover in class and the experiences they have outside those classroom walls. However, the sheer breadth and depth of that content can be overwhelming. How and where do you begin capturing this deluge of information, and then implement its use in a Read More…


Cloud-Based Tech Resources for the Classroom

More and more instructors are taking their students to the cloud. Are you? For those new to the cloud, we’ll first offer a quick definition. Per Kenneth Baldauf and Ralph M. Stair’s Succeeding with TechnologyFourth Edition, “Cloud computing utilizes Internet-based service providers to deliver information and computing services, including software, business systems, and data storage, for business and personal use” (p. 307). Cloud-based technology resources also offer the benefit of simple, Web-based access from a variety of devices, which means that students can participate in the interactive activities and assignments you’ve created for class, with less worry about hardware compatibility, increased technology Read More…


Using Mobile Technology in the Classroom and Beyond

Chances are, if you’re reading this post on your computer or on a handheld device, you have some familiarity with online technology and feel comfortable with it. Hopefully, you’re the kind of instructor who is open and eager to utilize the growing list of free and fabulous websites and apps that are readily available to you and your students—resources that drive collaboration, organization, and even fun. At Cengage Learning’s 18th Annual Course Technology Conference, Professor Gina Bowes-Miller of Harrisburg Area Community College presented Using Mobile Technology in the Classroom and Beyond. In the video below, you can learn how Professor Bowers-Miller has used Read More…