online learning

Building Sound Pedagogy into Integrated Online Course Solutions

An Interview with Kristen Ford, Director of Learning Design at Cengage Learning

Have you ever wondered what it takes to design and build a student-centric, integrated set of online resources and learning activities that can generate measureable improvement in student outcomes? Well, it certainly requires a lot of collaboration on the part of the design and development teams responsible for building the framework and the discipline-specific resources, but it also requires many hours of discussions with – and observations of — the instructors and students who will actually use the products. I had an opportunity to speak with Kristen Ford, Read More…


Moving Your Course Toward the Online Environment

Guest Contributors: Sande Johnson, Worth Hawes, and Deborah Hoffman, Academic Services Consultants, Custom Learning at Cengage Learning. Are you considering teaching a course online for the first time? In this post, contributors Sande Johnson, Worth Hawes, and Deborah Hoffman share some first steps to consider when moving toward the online teaching environment. Have questions about moving a course online, or tips to share from your own experience? Include them in the comments section below! So you’ve decided to give this online teaching thing your ole college best. It really doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think, but you do Read More…


The Secrets of Designing Great Software for Learners

An Interview with Rob Dumas, Executive Director of User Experience, Cengage Learning
Software that delivers a great user experience is not created by accident. It takes one or more experienced user experience (Ux) designers, a delicate balance of art and science, and a development team that shares the product vision. Products that are designed to increase student engagement and improve outcomes have to appeal to instructors and their students in order to deliver on those promises. I caught up with Cengage Learning’s Executive Director of User Experience, Robert Dumas, a couple of weeks ago to discuss the intricacies of Read More…


Aligning Objectives in Online Classes

Knowing what you want students to understand when they leave your course is great information to keep in mind, but how can you take your goals for learners and translate them into objectives that align with specific course activities and assessments? Even beyond that, how can you write those objectives so they encourage activities that promote active learning, engagement, and higher-order thinking skills? Share with us how you align your objectives in online courses with course activities in the comments section below. Watch and listen to The Instructor’s Perspective on Aligning Objectives in Online Classes, a narrated presentation by Read More…


The Seven Attributes of Modern LMS Content Integration

The latest generation of homework solutions and other course content from publishers is more flexible and tightly integrated with the Learning Management System (LMS) environment than ever before, thanks to the IMS Global Consortium’s LTI standard — and the efforts of publishers and LMS vendors to extend the standard. A new whitepaper, The New Rules of LMS Content Integration, explores this topic in detail. Here is an excerpt from the paper — a list of what to look for when reviewing offerings from publishers and LMS vendors:

    Single sign-on: Instructors and class participants should not be required
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Tips for Student Success in an Online Course

Online learning may appeal to students for any number of reasons: the convenience of anytime, anywhere learning; the flexible and self-paced nature of many courses; and the asynchronous type of discussions that allow more time to reflect on an instructor or classmate’s question before responding. Though the appeal itself may be immediate, students may still need guidance toward making the most of the opportunities that an online course affords them. In FOCUS on College Success, Third Edition, Constance Staley describes the key behaviors that will help them thrive in the online learning environment. Though these eight strategies Read More…


Building Community Via Engaging Online Discussions

On its face, an asynchronous conversation conducted via a discussion board may not seem as personal or immediate as a conversation that takes place in a more traditional classroom. However, an online discussion can be just as spirited, enlightening, and engaging as one taking place in the face-to-face environment — if it is facilitated well. How can you, as an instructor, help students gain the full benefit of discussions in your online course? In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers, contributors Erping Zhu and Matthew Kaplan offer the following tips:

    Create a
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Assignments in the Online Course: How Much is Too Much?

Guest Contributor: Robert Onorato. Given the seemingly unlimited, media-rich learning opportunities you can offer in an asynchronous online course, it may be tempting to craft a reading or resource list as extensive as your own time allows. But at what point will students reach the saturation point? In this article, Robert Onorato, instructor at Fordham University (NY) and a Senior Faculty Programs Consultant for Cengage Learning’s TeamUP, shares the experiences that have led him to his own conclusions regarding the answer to the question: “How much is too much?” I have been teaching college courses for twenty years and I Read More…


Selecting Media and Technology Delivery Channels

There are many technology tools and resources available — and more coming each day — that can fit into your workflow or teaching style. While it might be fun to try them all out, it’s likely not realistic with the time constraints you face when designing a course or creating course activities. What does make sense is looking at the ways that technology tools and the activities that make use of them can be delivered. In Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning, authors Michael G. Moore and Greg Kearsley emphasize that the challenge educators have Read More…


Four Tips: Creating Prompts for Online Discussion Boards

Particularly for online courses, using discussion boards can be an effective way to encourage group or team interaction. You can encourage peer-to-peer interaction as students react or respond to a prompt and then interact with one another based on those responses, or assign a prompt for each student to read and respond to that you can evaluate personally. No matter the goal of your discussion board activity, you likely want to ensure that students’ responses are thoughtful, complete, and insightful. Read on for tips, courtesy of the TeamUP Professional Development Portal, that you can keep in mind as Read More…