Student-centered avatar

I really enjoyed the concrete ideas presented in “Taking a Learner-Centered Approach in Online Courses” by Errol Craig Sull.

Be a constant presence for suggestions and insights. I find this true in my f2f courses, and so I’m sure it’s even more important online. When I design an activity for my groups, I try to mirror the activity using a different topic. I also include a PowerPoint that tells them what is expected at every step, plus I circulate between the groups only intervening if they ask a question or if they are way off track.

Post mini-lectures that translate into ultra important. I also find this important and now break all my content into smaller chunks on PowerPoints that I show in class and that remains on the Canvas site for their review. Personally I don’t have an hour to listen to a podcast even if I like the content, so how could I expect students to listen to something for some outrageously long period of time that they may not even be interested in.

Offer an engaging variety of assigned and supplemental readings. I now have  over 20 articles posted on my course Canvas site that range in topics from happiness to arguments on banning certain dog breeds to careers in the next 30 years and the list goes on. I use these to talk about argument, audience, etc. and sometimes just to make them aware of an issue.

Get students actively involved in the course. As I mentioned in my blog posting, I include a series of short writing assignments in the beginning of ENG100 which necessitates that they find videos, blogs, ads, etc. for analysis and class discussion.

Know that students have a variety of learning styles. I think that variety in readings and activities helps meet this basic need.