Synchronous and asynchronous online environments can provide students with a unique and dynamic learning experience in higher education. Traditional and non-traditional university students are looking for flexible and accessible learning spaces that integrate well with personal and professional responsibilities. Online learning spaces give students opportunities to work across various time zones to collaborate and share ideas with peers across the globe. Yet, the design, the logistics, and management of an online course requires instructors to both anticipate and reduce barriers that might hinder student engagement online. Eliminating student anonymity, monitoring for cognitive overload through visual and hearing channels, and being explicit in providing clear directions are key for successful online learning. In this workshop, we will focus on three design areas that will maximize student learning in online settings. First, we will consider best practices in course design to establish a strong foundation for learning. We will talk about the importance of learning objectives and how learning objectives can support activities that will help students engage with course content in a way that deepens their learning. Second, we will consider how to structure opportunities for online student engagement by examining approaches that will allow for community building between students and instructors. Third, we will discuss how to assess the effectiveness of an online learning environment.
Denise Leonard (Presenter)
The Teaching Center, Washington University in St. Louis