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Many students enroll in online courses because they can take online classes at times that are convenient for them and from the comfort of their home. Some students mistakenly think that taking an online class is easier than taking its face-to-face counterpart and they underestimate the amount of time they must invest in taking the online class. When in fact, taking an online class requires students to be self-directed learners.

It is important for the instructor to set the tone for the online course to help students succeed. In a Faculty Focus article, Amy Hankins provided five suggestions to help students succeed in an online course. Those suggestions are,

Provide detailed instructions and anticipate questions – Don’t assume students will be able to read between the lines.

Post Announcements – Show students you are present in the course by providing reminders, clarifications, and overviews to help engage and motive students.

Provide examples and rubrics – This will help to minimize questions and confusion.

Utilize differentiated instructions – Provide students multiple opportunities and formats for learning, including videos, audio lectures, and project choices that help engage and encourage learning for all students and preferences.

Encourage peer support and engagement – Allow students to get to know one another by using an introductory assignment and encourage students to connect throughout the course.

For more information, read Five Ways to Help Students Succeed in the Online Classroom and check out our CAT+FD Online/Hybrid Instructor Resources.

Photo Credit: Girl | CC0


Our Educational Technology Community (ETC) had a special guest presentation this past Friday. Dr. Amanda Helm, Assistant Professor in the Division of Business, demonstrated to our virtual participants how she uses Self-Graded Checklists in Blackboard, along with the adaptive release feature, to help students "grade" their work before they submit it.

Dr. Helm posts a quiz she has developed based on the instructions and rubrics she gives to students for each assignment.  The students must complete this quiz before they are able to officially submit their assignment.  When the student answers the quiz questions, they receive automatic feedback in order to improve their work before submitting, as well as an estimation of the letter grade they can expect to receive.

A variety of quiz questions are asked, depending on the project.  They may be as simple as "How long is your single-spaced typed paper?" and "How many sources did you cite?" or more complex in nature, asking content questions which are dependent on the assignment.

To learn more, here is the guest link to the virtual presentation.  It's recommended that you choose to watch the mp4 version:

Dr. Helm reports that her students are submitting better quality work by taking this 5 minute assessment before they can officially post their assignments.  She also says that the students have told her that they make adjustments to their work after receiving the quiz results and that her students don't mind taking the 5 minute quiz before being able to submit their work.

Thank you Dr. Helm for sharing this great idea with us!