Seven Principles of Effective Distance Teaching
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
- 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.