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Faculty Suggestions for Distance Learning Success

What is Distance Learning?

Distance learning describes courses where at least 80% of direct instruction uses some form of technology when the student and instructor are separated by time, space, or both.  Hybrid courses are partially online courses where 50-79% of direct instruction uses some form of technology when the student and instructor are separated by time, space, or both. [Definition taken from the Florida Distance Learning Task Force (2/26/09). Final report (TFFinalRPt10FINAL.pdf). Tallahassee, FL: Florida Distance Learning Consortium]

Tips for Syllabi/Course Policies
 
  1. Require students to have regular/reliable access to a computer.
  2. List software/hardware requirements (microphone, speakers) on your syllabus.
  3. List required attendance in chats (Elluminate) with a working microphone, number of points deducted for missing chats.
  4. Include a policy on safe assignment (for plagiarism detection).
  5. See Abdous, M. & He, W. (2006). A Learner-Centered Online Syllabus Generator System (http://go.editlib.org/p/22198). In C. Crawford etc al. (Eds), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference 2006 (pp. 1095-1101). Chesapeake, VA: AACE
Tips for Planning
 
  1. Talk with someone who has taught online to avoid pitfalls. For example, when one faculty member taught her first online class, she had three (3) discussion questions per week for 20 students, and she also required them to respond to someone else's post.  That was a minimum of 60 posts, and more often, close to 200 posts that she had to read and respond to.
  2. Alternate between weekly written assignments and self-graded quizzes to allow yourself more time to grade. Break large classes into small work groups and have work groups post a summary of their discussion question to the main board.
Helpful Resources as You Plan and Design Your Online Class(es)



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