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Distance Education Who are distance learners? Older Responsibilities: full-time, homemakers, dependent Female Education majors Convenience of online classes Who are “successful” distance learners? Eager learners High expectations Minimal computer skills Self-directed students

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who are distance learners
Who are distance learners?
  • Older
  • Responsibilities: full-time, homemakers, dependent
  • Female
  • Education majors
  • Convenience of online classes
who are successful distance learners
Who are “successful” distance learners?
  • Eager learners
  • High expectations
  • Minimal computer skills
  • Self-directed students
    • Proactively seek out information
    • Master it
    • They find a way to succeed despite poor study conditions, confusing teachers, or abstruse textbooks.
  • Instructor is more a guide and facilitator
student conflicts
Student conflicts

High expectations of students, but:

  • Low grades
  • Confusion related to conducting research online
  • Student’s lack of organizational skills
  • Team conflicts
  • Misunderstood emails or discussion postings
  • Impatience if feedback isn’t immediate
heading off student conflicts
Heading off student conflicts
  • Discuss netiquette
  • Offer rules for appropriate online communication
  • Explain that online communication is often misunderstood
  • Encourage discussion about online issues
  • Encourage students to do research about online communication
  • Respond calmly if students do over-react
other issues
Other issues
  • Plagiarism
  • Test security
  • 1999 survey of 21,000 students on 21 camuses
  • 1/3 admitted to cheating on an exam
  • 1/2 admitted to cheating on an assignment
  • Students said they are more likely to cheat in classes where the instructor ignores cheating.
  • 2001 survey of CAI students
  • 41% said they plagiarized from online sources without citation
curbing plagiarism
Curbing plagiarism

Communicate the following concepts to students:

  • Honesty
  • Responsiveness
  • Relevance
  • Respect
  • Openness
  • Empowerment
curbing plagiarism9
Curbing plagiarism
  • The Plagiarism Resource Center at UVA: http://plagiarism.phys.virginia.edu/ (offers free software for detecting plagiarism)

Commercial sites

  • TurnItIn: http://www.turnitin.com
  • iThenticate: http://www.ithenticate.com
curbing plagiarism10
Curbing plagiarism

Customize assignments

  • Randomize tests
  • Limit test function
  • Time tests
  • Personal input
  • New tests
  • Group tests
  • Oral tests
  • Upgraded self-tests
  • Varied test types
  • Unusual paper topics
  • Recipe assignments
  • Assignments in stages
  • Post-assignment discussion
  • Research instruction
  • Familiarity with student writing
virtual classroom techniques
Virtual Classroom Techniques
  • Text lectures
  • Audio lectures
  • Video lectures
  • Discussions
  • Chats
  • Guest experts
  • Real-time data assignments
  • Virtual field trips
  • Problem-based learning/case studies
  • Online labs
  • Games
  • Cooperative assignments
text lectures
Text lectures

Lectures primarily in written form: website, wordprocessed notes, PowerPoint presentations, etc.

Tips to improve online lectures:

  • Start small
  • Keep it sort.
  • Make it personal.
  • Write in a conversational style
  • Draw connections to everyday thing.
audio lectures
Audio lectures

Lectures in audio format.

Primarily as suppliment to illustrations, charts, diagrams, etc.

Done using audio streaming technology:

  • RealMedia
  • QuickTime
  • Window Media
video lectures
Video lectures

Many are talking heads: NOT good!

Better approaches:

  • Conversation between you and a colleague
  • Interview experts
  • Give a demonstration
  • Dramatize a topic

Create discussion questions that encourage critical thinking.

Use Bloom’s taxonomy


  • Website evaluation
  • Current events
  • Controversy
  • Role play
  • What if?
  • Statistical analysis
  • Exemplification
  • Case study

Some tips:

  • Set rigid deadlines
  • Allow informality in responses
  • Post summaries at the end of the discussions
  • Post the questions in ascending complexity

Allows synchronous communication that can be involve interpersonal closeness, immediacy and excitement.

Can give immediate feedback and encouragement.

Some tips:

  • No longer than 60 minutes
  • Schedule at times when students tend to be online
  • Open documents that you want to post on your desktop for easy access when needed
  • Post the chat transcripts for those that can’t attend
guest experts
Guest experts

Invite guest experts to interact using discussion and chat

Best questions involve open-ended controversy


  • Prominent people in the field
  • Colleagues in your department
  • Local people working in your field
  • Post the chat transcripts for those that can’t attend
real time data assignments
Real-time data assignments

Use real-time sites on the web as sources of data


  • El Nino information: http://www.elnino.noaa.gov/
  • Iowa Electronic Markets: http://www.biz.uiowa.edu.iem/
  • National Climatic Data Center: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/
  • Ozone data: http://www.epa.gov/airnow
virtual field trips
Virtual field trips

Use real-time sites on the web as sources of data


  • Geology field trips: http://www.uh.edu/~jbutler/anon/gpvirtual/.html
  • Tempe Arizona Police Department Crime Unit: http://www.tempe.gov/cau/
  • The Holocaust Museum: http://www.ushmm.org/
  • National Women’s History Museum: http://www.nmwh.org/exhibits/intro.html
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: http://www.rockhall.com/programs/plans.asp
  • Links to hundreds of online museums: http://www.vlmp.museophile.com/
problem based learning case studies
Problem-based learning/ case studies

Use of problems and case studies to help students think critically


  • Scientific case studies: http://ublib.buffalo/libraries/projects/cases/ubcase.htm


  • Dialogue used tells a good story
  • Must be relevant, contentious, recent and short
online labs
Online labs

Virtual science labs are created online

Students can handle dangerous poisons, analyze raging rivers, or conduct experiments in evolution


Geology Online Labs: http://www.sciencecourseware.org/GLOL/


Some free versions of game software:

Hot Potatoes: http://web.uvic.ca/hrd/hotpot/

Crossword Compiler: http://www.crossword-compiler.com

Quizmaster: http://cibertrain.info/quizman/qmselect.html

Castle: http://www.le.ac.uk/castle

Zoomerange: http://info.zoomerange.com/

cooperative assignments
Cooperative assignments

Should be structures with the following in mind:

  • All students must participate
  • Must develop a method to capture individual participation
  • Written product must be the result


  • Each team member must take on a role.
  • Each team must create a charter that spells out each member’s role and guidelines on how they will communicate and handle conflict.
  • All communication must be posted on a group discussion board. If chat is used, the transcript must be posted on the discussion.
  • Have each member evaluate all of the members of the group at the end of the project.

Most of the information for this presentation was taken from:Beck, E., & Grieive, D. (2005). Going the distance: a handbook for part-time & adjunct faculty who teach online. Ann Arbor, MI: Adjunct Advocate, Inc.