Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Resources supporting effective online teaching

The following resources have been collected to compliment What Works in Teaching Online at PCC.

Instructor characteristics that affect online student success
Donald Orso & Joan Doolittle
Faculty Focus, Nov. 2, 2012

This study asked students to name three characteristics of an outstanding online teacher and explain why those characteristics are important. The top of the list includes communication/availability, compassion, organization, and feedback.

The Indicators of Instructor Presence that are Important to Students in Online Courses
Kathleen Sheridan & Melissa Kelly, National-Louis University
MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, vol. 6, No. 4, December 2010

This study found that “The indicators that were most important to students dealt with making course requirements clear and being responsive to students’ needs. Students also valued the timeliness of information and instructor feedback.”

Developing asynchronous online course: Key institutional strategies in a social metacognitive constructivist learning trajectory
Niess, M., & Gillow-Wiles, H.
The Journal of Distance Education, 27(1), 2013

Article describes a qualitative, designed-based study within the context of a professional development online courses (n=59 grad students). Through focus groups and individual interviews the researchers concluded that it’s not the design of a single or unrelated instructional strategies in the course that was important, but that they were “implemented together as a complete trajectory, from the beginning to end of each course” and that the instructor “continued monitoring and mediation of a consistently utilized set of inter-related instructional strategies” (In Conclusion section). These findings support the importance of strategic and coordinated components of the design of a course as a launching position for instructor presence in guiding students to higher levels of social and cognitive presence.

Building communities in online courses: The importance of interaction
Swan, K. (2002)
Education, Communication and Information, 2 (1), 23-49

This study focused on the factors in course design that support social development through online discussions. Analysis of student perceptions found that clear and concise course design, interaction with instructors, and active discussions with peers were significant factors in building learning communities. Findings further support the importance of creating opportunities for interaction to support online teaching and learning.

Design dimensions and attributes for Web-based distance learning modules.
Pomales-Garcia, C., Lopez, A., & Liu, Y.
The American Journal of Distance Education, 24 (1), 21, 2010

This study addresses the design of a course in terms of clarity, organization, simplicity, structure, visual/aesthetic attractiveness, and excitement. It provides a content analysis and also results of a study that addresses the overall visual impact and organization upon course design.

From research to practice: Towards the development of an integrated and comprehensive faculty development program
Ragan, L.C., Bigatel, P.M., Kennan, S.S., Dillon, J.M. (2012)
Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, (16)5, 71—86

Article focuses on competencies necessary for online teaching success and brings attention to basic elements of course design: introductions, assessment, learner engagement, teaching presence.

Early participation in asynchronous writing environments and course success
Warnock, S., Bingham, K., Driscoll, D., Fromal, J., Rouse, N. (2012)
Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, (16)1, 35—48

Focus on course design that promotes learner interaction by setting up early post behavior in discussion boards; connection to student success. Breaks down posting behaviors into categories: early posts, breaking the ice, spending more time – holds implications for assessment and tracking tools that encourage successful posting behaviors.

Assessing quality indicators in asynchronous undergraduate distance education courses
Myers, D. (2008)
ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, Document ID 230703083

The purpose of this study was to determine quality indicators in asynchronous distance education courses and final analyses indicated that technical issues, course design, class procedures and expectations, interaction and content delivery were factors in quality.

Investigating Asynchronous Online Communication: A connected stance revealed.
Wegmann, S., McCauley, J. (2014)
Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, (18)1, April 2014

This study supports adjusting the structure of discussion board assignments to stimulate student engagement and increase social presence. The authors make the distinction between participation and engagement, in that participation is measured by word count and engagement is measured by the variety of student moves. “Participation alone is not an adequate indication of a successful interaction.” The quality of discourse increased when students were provided explicit expectations, detailed rubrics, clear examples of acceptable and unacceptable posts, and the rationale for meaningful discussions. A rich online discussion environment promotes a deeper understanding of course content. This article is in alignment with QM General Standard 5 Learner Interaction and Engagement.

Four Types of Disabilities: Their Impact on Online Learning
Crow, K.L. (2008)
TechTrends, 52 (1)

The majority of disabilities can be found in four categories: Visual, Hearing, Motor and Cognitive. These disabilities can be expressed by various levels on their continuums. “Section 508 law requires covered entities to provide real-time text captioning for audio, video, and multimedia presentations that are delivered electronically.” It is also possible for instructors or designers to provide printed transcripts for any audio being used. Because individuals with motor impairments have problems accessing their computers, course designers should limit the use of synchronous chats, games, or things that require high degrees of dexterity. Cognitive impairments/learning disabled learners comprise the largest group of learners with disabilities. Attention needs to be given to minimizing webpages. Create logical flow in modules. Use text that can be easily read. Avoid flashing or animation.

Spring 2013 DL Student Survey
Distance Education, 2013

During approximately the 7th week of the Spring 2013 term, the PCC Office of Institutional Effectiveness administered an online survey to a sample of students enrolled in credit Distance Education courses. The selected students were sent an email from the IE office briefly describing the survey, with a link to a ‘Survey Monkey’ URL. In the email to the student, the IE Office indicated to the student that their responses would be anonymous.

The response rate was approximately 21%, with 1,266 students answering at least one survey item and a survey margin of error is +/- 2.6%. Most of the frequency counts for the items in the survey were generated within ‘Survey Monkey’. Responses to questions 10, 20-23 were categorized by Distance Education staff.