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Creating your Course Activities

Matching Learning Objectives to Activities and Assessments
The Course Design Matrix will help you align your learning objectives and outcomes with appropriate activities and assessments.
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Seven Principles of Effective Distance Teaching

http://www.tltgroup.org/programs/seven.html

Principle 1: Good Practice Encourages Student- Faculty Contact
Promote interaction and provide clear guidelines and policies regarding communication .

  • Ask students to identify their sites and to introduce their names.
  • Rotate between sites to ensure that all students are involved.

  • Schedule weekly/biweekly virtual office hours using Bb Chat feature.
  • Visit Remote Sites, if possible.
  • Call individuals by name.
  • Post students pictures when possible.
  • Maintain eye contact with camera.
  • Clarify email turnaround (ex.: I will respond to emails on within 24 hours. I will not respond to emails that do not have course ID in their subject line.).
  • Encourage all students to ask questions.

Principle 2: Good Practice Encourages Cooperation Among Students
Well designed discussion, group activities, collaborative assignments facilitate and nurture learning communities. Here are some suggestions for creating an environment for meaningful discussion:

  • Require/Encourage students to participate.
  • Provide multiple opportunities for interaction and collaboration.
  • Create learning teams (three to eight students).
  • Provide clear guidelines/requirements/expectations for discussions and collaborative activities.
  • Keep group activities small and focused.
  • Provide timely feedback, encouragement and directions.
  • Share your evaluation rubrics and criteria.
  • Implement peer review and grading .

Principle 3: Good Practice Encourages Active Learning
Engage students and provide multiple opportunities to interact, reflect and learn from each other:

  • Debate, discuss, share, present projects and ideas.
  • Reflect, apply, summarize paraphrase ideas.
  • Ask students to develop questions from readings.
  • Ask students to paraphrase/present/exemplify complex concepts.
  • Ask students to summarize major points from previous class or weekly readings.
  • Encourage students to complete a learning contract (own objectives, learning activities, criteria and methods of evaluation.).
  • Facilitate the use of note-taking as a potential active learning strategy. Provide handouts/outlines/diagrams to facilitate note taking. Provide your lecture notes online before the class.

Principle 4: Good Practice Gives Prompt Feedback
Provide multiple feedback opportunities to facilitate student/instructor interaction and reduces students anxiety:

  • Acknowledge reception of assignements.
  • Provide timely and personal feedback (answering questions, comments, annotate papers and exams, etc.).

Principle 5: Good Practice Emphasizes Time on Task
Clarify time commitments and expectations:

  • Provide multiple deadline to help students reduce procrastination and manage their time.
  • Clarify requirements and expectations.
  • Keep assignments feasible and realistic.
  • Encourage regular communication with yourself and other students.

Principle 6: Good Practice Communicates High Expectations
Communicate and share your expectations with your students:

  • Provide clear guidelines, expectations and requirements.
  • Share exemplary papers (past student projects, papers, etc.).
  • Share examples of what not to do.
  • Praise exemplary work.

 

Principle 7: Good Practice Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning
Keep student learning styles in mind, provide options and encourage students to take ownership of their learning process

  • Encourage students to complete learning styles inventories
    (ex.: http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html)
  • Diversify content presentation: text, graphics, animation, audio/visuals. Keep in mind the omnipresence of visual culture in our society (MTV Generation, internet).
  • Use different activities: lecture, group discussion, pairs, videos, role play, etc.
  • Allow students to select relevant project topics.
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