Winter 2009 Issue

Tips to personalize an online class and effective uses of the discussion board

Online Student

By David Mamorella, Syracuse University and Denise Zanchelli, Marist College and The Culinary Institute of America

From the 14th Annual SLOAN Conference

Tips to Personalize an Online Class

  • Have a short bio, picture, and possibly a short video clip of yourself
  • Give the class clear written expectations and ask them for their expectations of you
  • Tell students when they can expect to hear back from you (24-48 hours)
  • Provide timely responses to students
  • Update the "announcements" page a few times a week to illustrate a teaching presence
  • Try a Web conference for an online student orientation
  • Try audio feedback on assignments
  • Use student names when responding to their questions
  • Avoid CAPITAL LETTERS when writing to students, it comes across as shouting
  • Be careful of using red print font when providing feedback
  • Remember to provide positive feedback first to students

Utilize the discussion board effectively

Instructor and student introduction:

  • Icebreaker activity
  • Q & A forum
  • Student lounge - a place for students to chit-chat about non-class related topics: interests, hobbies, work, movies, sports, music, etc.  You can tell students the instructor won’t appear in the student lounge unless invited to do so.

Course strategies:

  • Weekly class discussions
  • Student-led discussions
  • Debates
  • Small group discussions
  • Post-group work
  • Guest speaker

For more information on the SLOAN conference or this topic, contact Rick DeBellis at 541-737-2790.

Return to eFaculty News Winter 2009.