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Office of Instructional Technology (OIT)

Online Teaching and Learning Activities

The following tables provide examples of what we consider the "tenants" of online teaching and learning: Student-Instructor Interaction, Student-Student Interaction, and Student-Content Interaction. We should incorporate each of these tenants into the design of our courses.

Table: Student-Instructor Interaction

Interaction Description Tool
Introduction Introductions give the instructor an opportunity to introduce themselves to the class. This can also be used to convey expertise and specialties related to the course. Announcements, Discussion Tool, Content Module
Announcements Announcements can be posted to the class as often as needed. Announcements might include information on when assignments are due, changes in the syllabus, and exam schedules. Announcement Tool
Course E-mail Students can be encouraged to email the instructor with questions about the content, structure, grading, etc., of the course. Replies can be made as soon as possible. Mail Tool
Discussion The instructor can facilitate discussions in the class discussion board. While it’s impossible to reply to every student posting, the instructor can read each one and reply to selected postings. Replies can be substantive. Discussion Tool
Chat Chat allows the instructor to interact with students, textually and/or graphically, in real-time. The instructor can use a chatroom to conduct virtual office hours. Chat, Live Classroom, Blackboard Collaborate
Writing Boards Instructors can use writing boards that same way they use whiteboards in the face-to-face classrooms. They can also be used to demonstrate difficult processes, mind-mapping, or mathematics. Chat, Live Classroom, Blackboard Collaborate
Blogs Blogs can be used as an interactive writing tool for the instructor and students to discuss and give feedback on topics relating to the course. Discussion Tool or outside blog service
Journals Journals allow students a private space where they can communicate with their instructor. The instructor can comment on the students' writing, creating an interactive dialog and an opportunity to establish a student-instructor rapport. Discussion Tool
Screen Sharing Instructors can share their screen with a student(s) to demonstrate any computer, Microsoft, or Blackboard function. Blackboard Collaborate
Web Conferencing A web conference can be set up for the course so everyone can communicate on any topic. Live Classroom, Blackboard Collaborate
Social Networking A social network can be set up for the course so everyone can communicate on any topic. Blackboard Collaborate
Telephone

The telephone can be used to interact with students individually to answer questions, review student work, etc.

Face-to-face Students can come to campus during face-to-face office hours to discuss any facet of the course.

 

Table: Student-Student Interaction

Interaction Description Tool
Introduction Introductions give the students an opportunity to introduce themselves to the class. This is a crucial part of creating a functional learning community. Students must establish communication and a line of trust. Announcements, Discussion Tool, Content Module
Course E-mail Students can be encouraged to email each other to ask questions about the course, including assignments. They can complete at least one assignment in which they use email to facilitate a peer-editing lesson. Mail Tool
Discussion Projects Students can post to the discussion board in each module, answering questions posed by the instructor. They can also reply to each others’ postings. Discussion Tool, Live Classroom, Wimba Voice Board
Group Activities Students can work in teams to complete a group project. This project can then be shared with the rest of the class in the discussion board. Blackboard Collaborate, Discussion Tool, Live Classroom, Wimba Voice Board
Student Presentations Individual or group presentations can be presented in Live Classroom or even discussion and used to allow peer review and critique, or ask each other questions. Live Classroom
Chat As an adjunct to the group discussion board, students can use the class chatroom to discuss their group project in real-time. Chat, Blackboard Collaborate, Live Classroom
Blogs Students can use blogs to discuss topics in the course. They can also use blogs in a writing assignment in which groups collaborate to write a paper. Discussion Tool or outside blog service
Web Conferencing A web conference can be set up for the course so everyone can communicate on any topic. Blackboard Collaborate, Live Classroom
Social Networking A social network can be set up for the course so everyone can communicate on any topic. Blackboard Collaborate
Wikis Wikis allow students to work collaboratively to build a web site. This can be particularly useful when groups have to create a product to share with the class. Outside Wiki service embedded into Blackboard
Google Apps Google Apps is a suite of online tools that allow students to create, share, store and collaborate on documents with other students. Google Apps includes Google Docs (word processing, spreadsheets, presentations) and Google Sites (creating web sites). Google
Blackboard Instant Messaging Blackboard Collaborate is a suite of online tools that allow students to create, share, and collaborate on documents with other students. Blackboard Collaborate

 

Table: Student-Content Interaction

Interaction Description Tool
Lecture Written lecture material can be divided into short, readable ("chunked") sections with links to subsequent pages, if necessary.
PowerPoint presentations—with audio narration. Each module/section/unit can contain one narrated PowerPoint presentation that covers the main points of the module. Deaf students must have access to the narration via a text transcript.
Podcast lectures can be chunked and no longer than 10 minutes. Each module/section/unit can contain one podcast that covers the main points of the module. Deaf students must have access to the podcast via a text transcript.
All lectures are most effective when used in combination with other instructional strategies. For example, following a section of written material, you can add a practice quiz or an interactive review game to help with recall and check comprehension.
Course content (text-based), video or audio
Simulations Simulations can be used by students so they can participate in, and learn from, processes that might otherwise be less available because of danger, expense or logistical difficulties. SoftChalk (OIT), Web or publisher-based
Case Studies Working in groups, students can evaluate real-world problems, situations, etc. They can then present their cases to the class in the discussion board for analysis. Course content (text-based), video or audio
Guest Speakers Experts on specific topics can be invited into the class so they can present information and/or their experiences to students. This can be done via text in the discussion board. It can also be done in the chatroom or by posting podcasts. Students will interact with the guest speaker in the discussion board by posting questions and comments. Live Classroom, Blackboard Collaborate
Discussion Projects Each module/section/unit can contain at least one class discussion relating to the topic(s) of the module. Students can be required not only to post their opinions, ideas, and experiences, but they can also be required to reply to their classmates’ posts. The instructor can pose questions relating to the textbook, online presentations, web sites, etc. Discussion Tool, Live Classroom, Blackboard Collaborate
Group Projects There can be at least one group project during the semester. Students can collaborate in groups to solve problems, become experts on certain topics, etc. They can then present their findings to the class in the class discussion board or by using Live Classroom. These presentations can be in the form of writing, PowerPoint presentations, or web sites. Discussion Tool, Live Classroom, Blackboard Collaborate
Video Streaming video clips can be used to demonstrate procedures and to help students visualize concepts. These clips increase the modalities of learning offered to students and meet the needs of those who learn best by seeing and hearing content. Deaf students should have access to the videos via a text transcript. Live Classroom, FLIP Camera, Publisher-based with approval (Copyright), Web-Based Link
Podcasts (Audio) Podcast can be up to 5 minutes in duration but no longer than 10 minutes. Deaf students should have access to the podcast via a text transcript. Digital Voice Recorder, Web-Based Link
Peer Editing or Critique Students can work in pairs to edit each other’s paper and give feedback in order to improve their writing. Email or Google Docs can be used as the tool to accomplish this. Discussion Tool
Blogging Students can use blogs to discuss topics in the course. They can also use blogs in a writing assignment in which groups collaborate to write a paper. Discussion Tool, outside blog service
Journal Writing Students can maintain a journal to record reactions to topics being studied and to record personal reflections. Discussion Tool
Debates Debates can be used to expand upon both sides of an argument. Assigned students present their arguments, and fellow students respond to them and to each other. Each reply can acknowledge a point made by a student and will respectfully refute it, citing factual sources. Debates can take place in the discussion board. Discussion Tool, Live Classroom, Blackboard Collaborate
Student Presentations Students can prepare, and present, a mini-lecture on a topic being studied. These presentations can be in the form of PowerPoint presentations or web sites and can be posted in the discussion board for other students to view, question, and discuss. Discussion Tool, Live Classroom, Blackboard Collaborate
Games Games can be used as review activities to reinforce previously learned material and to prepare for exams. Jeopardy-style games, crossword puzzles, flash cards, etc., can be created for online delivery. Respondus
Papers Papers can be written on various topics. Prior to students submitting their work, papers can be checked by an SafeAssign to ensure that no plagiarism is involved. Papers can be checked after they are submitted by using Direct Submit. Assignments, SafeAssign, Direct Submit
Research Students can use the Internet or Library Web-Based Services to research questions, problems, events, etc. Prior to students submitting papers, those papers can be checked by an anti-plagiarism service to ensure that no plagiarism is involved. Internet, Campus Library Service
Practice Quizzes Practice quizzes can be given periodically throughout the course so students can gauge their understanding of the content. Specifically, these ungraded practice quizzes can be given prior to the midterm and final exam. These quizzes should include only objective questions so they can be graded by the computer, enabling students to gain immediate feedback. Assessment Tool
Quizzes, Tests/Exams Quizzes can be used in each module to make sure students completed the assigned reading and understood it. These quizzes can be “open-book”, but the questions can be randomized so different students get different questions. Tests and exams should include short answer and essay questions that require higher-order thinking, along with supporting factual knowledge. The questions can be randomized so different students get different questions. Time limits can be set, backtracking can be prohibited, and students can be forced to complete the exam in one sitting. Assessment Tool
Surveys In order to begin a discussion on a controversial issue, students can be polled to determine their stances. This can be done in the form of a survey. Results can be shared with students in an announcement or in the discussion board prior to the discussion.
Virtual Field Trips Students can “attend” virtual field trips to places on web sites that are either too far away or too costly to visit in person. These field trips can be followed by activities, such as discussions.