online learning

Elements of Effective Online Instruction

What does it take to be an effective online instructor? What technical skills must you master? What technologies should you use? If you find yourself asking these questions (or ones much like them), you’ll benefit from the insights that Ken Baldauf shares during this presentation recorded during Cengage Learning’s recent 18th Annual Course Technology Conference. Here, Baldauf — who has helped many of his colleagues at Florida State University bring their courses online, and has also taught numerous successful online courses himself — discusses the elements of an effectively run online course. To frame the conversation, he begins with a brief retrospective of various online tools, Read More…


Strategies for Improving Student Retention Rates

It’s no secret that the issues of post-secondary student retention and persistence are areas of national concern. If you have been working in the field of education for any length of time, your institution has probably experimented with or implemented a variety of solutions designed to improve the retention rate for first-to-second year students, which currently hovers at approximately 72%, according to the most recent data from ACT®. If your institution believes – as many do – that retention is the job of everyone on campus, you may have explored or implemented an early warning and tracking system that collects Read More…


Creating Online Activities that Align to Your Outcomes

As an instructor, you’ve probably seen (or employed) many of the exciting — and research-based — techniques and principles you can use to engage and motivate students in the online environment. However, you have also likely come to recognize that you need to use those tools and techniques in a manner that helps your students achieve the specific learning goals and objectives you have identified for your course. In their presentation “Aligning Objectives in Online Classes,” Cengage Learning’s TeamUP Faculty Programs provide guiding principles for creating online activities that will help your students achieve the learning outcomes you’ve Read More…


Cultivate an Engaging Online Learning Environment via TEC-VARIETY

“Education extends to wherever we happen to be. Learning’s wrapped all around us.” — Curt Bonk It’s no secret: education can happen anytime and anywhere a person wants it to happen. Though it’s easy enough to pick up some information by simply reading a website or watching a video, people are embracing more formal settings for online learning in greater and greater numbers. Whether they’re enrolling in a MOOC simply to satisfy their curiosity on a topic, or they’re matriculated in an online degree program at a traditional university, we can see that people around the world recognize the power Read More…


Using 3D Virtual Worlds to Improve Outcomes and Engagement

An Interview with Nicole Yankelovich, CEO of WonderBuilders, Inc., Executive Director of the Open Wonderland Foundation, and Visiting Scientist, Center for Educational Computing Initiatives, MIT. You probably know at least a few professors who have successfully integrated 3D virtual worlds, like those enabled by Second Life, into their courses. On the other hand, you probably know many more who have not yet taken that leap. Fortunately, the technology behind immersive 3D virtual environments continues to evolve, with new capabilities, toolkits, and applications that help to lower the bar for adoption within the education space. The Open Wonderland Foundation, launched in Read More…


Empowering Students to Take Charge of Their Learning Opportunities

“What is our role? To provide conducive situations that allow students to engage in creating effective Personalized Learning Environments by organizing and managing their own learning experiences.” — Nada Dabbagh
How can you, as an educator, engage digital natives in the learning process and build a desire for life-long learning? What role do you play in helping students develop the twenty-first century skills that lead to personal and professional success? In this video from Cengage Learning’s Engage 2013 conference hosted by SXSWedu, Nada Dabbagh of George Mason University addresses the Personalized Learning Environment (PLE). The PLE allows students to customize, Read More…


Online Learning and Assessment in Computing Courses

The high unemployment rates of the past few years have prompted many adults to return to school, to earn degrees or certificates, or simply to learn or refresh their computing skills. Many who are enrolled in degree or certificate programs also need training in basic computing skills in order to keep up with their classmates in campus-based or online courses. This need is especially acute among older adults in low income brackets, displaced workers, age 50 or older, who do not have access to the internet at home. For these learners, who may need to do Read More…


Social Networking: Think Before Posting—or Deleting

Social media and social networking can present great opportunities for both you and your students to engage and connect with each other and with the world around you. However, online interactions like these can also leave posters open to criticism. It’s important to consider how you’ll react to these situations. Do you delete the comment or post to avoid offending anyone? Do you take the opportunity, if appropriate, to start a meaningful dialogue around the subject? The activity below, from the instructor’s manual that accompanies Louis E. Boone and David L. Kurtz’s Contemporary Marketing, 16th Editioncan be used Read More…


Using Social Media Channels to Engage Learners

An interview with Donald Doane, CEO of ConnectYard.
Once upon a time, e-mail was the fastest and easiest means of facilitating asynchronous electronic communication, particularly when the message needed to reach a large group of people or required an attachment – a photo, a document, or a slide deck. Today, we have lots of channels available to us for posting and sending messages and files to individuals or large groups of people – whether through voice or written communications. Just think of your own personal and professional channels. If you are like most tech-savvy people today, you are Read More…


Using Text Messaging in Your Mobile Technology Learning Plan

Guest Contributor: Sandy Keeter, Seminole State College of Florida. You know that text messaging can be a distraction to students while they’re attending class. But can it can also be used as an effective means for you, as an instructor, to facilitate connections with them? Today, Sandy Keeter of Seminole State College describes how she is using a text-messaging service with the goal of increasing student retention and engagement with her course.  It all started two years ago, when our E-learning Department asked if anyone wanted to use texting in their classes. My first reaction was: absolutely not! I want students Read More…