10 Principles of Effective Online Teaching

Best Practices in Distance Education —

These principles were developed at Penn State’s World Campus.  This special report from Distance Education was written by Lawrence C. Ragan, PhD. Dr. Ragan begins with a quote from a faculty member who says, “if you don’t tell us what is expected, how will we know what to do to succeed?”

  1. Show Up and Teach
  2. Practice Proactive Course Management Strategies
  3. Establish Patterns of Course Activities
  4. Plan for the Unplanned
  5. Response Requested and Expected
  6. Think Before You Write
  7. Help Maintain Forward Progress
  8. Safe and Secure
  9. Quality Counts
  10. (Double) Click a Mile on My Connection

Show Up and Teach means that faculty must actively participate in the class.  Practice Proactive Course Management Strategies stresses ways that faculty can manage teaching and learning activities, so that students can be successful and faculty will not be overwhelmed. Establish Patterns of Course Activities points out the importance of establishing and maintaining predictable patterns in an online course.  Plan for the Unplanned suggests ways to plan ahead for emergencies.  That is, faculty should let students know in advance how emergency messages will be communicated. Response Requested and Expected discusses a “reasonable” time frame for responding to student questions.  Students should not expect 24/7 faculty availability, but the faculty member should let them know how long they need to wait for a response. Think Before You Write includes lots of ideas such as the use of rules of netiquette, clear directions for assignments, a frequently asked questions (FAQ) area, and more. Help Maintain Forward Progress  stresses clearly defined assessment strategies and timely feedback. Safe and Secure recommends that all course-related communication between the instructor and students occur within institutionally maintained and supported communication systems. Quality Counts has to do with the course content. (Double) Click a Mile on My Connection has to do with connection speeds and, perhaps more importantly, that the faculty must understand the learning management system from a student’s perspective.

Remember, at Granite State College, your instructional designer can help you design your course to use these 10 principles of effective online teaching.

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