Saturday, December 20, 2014

Online Icebreaker: Songs My Mother Taught Me

[Note: This post began as a draft in June 2014 after I heard this tune on a plane. Video description: Antonin Dvorak's musical composition, Songs My Mother Taught Me, performed by Itzhak Perlman]

Different metaphors have been used to describe the learning process; learning is like a game, a conversation, combustion system, an ecosystem ... What if learning is like music-making or an inspiration of song? This idea came about when I heard Joshua Bell and Yo-Yo Ma play Dvorak's "Songs My Mother Taught Me." How about using this as an online icebreaker (warm-up activity)?

We could get a feel of students' expectations by asking them to create a playlist of:

Songs I Wish My Teacher Taught Me.

OR, get to know the students a bit better by asking them to come up with a playlist of ...

Songs My Mom / Dad / Teacher / Mentor / Community / XXX (Fill in the blank!) Taught Me.

[This activity can also be used at the end of a Unit to get a big idea of what students have learned.]

To illustrate, here's my current list of Songs My Mother Taught Me:

#1. A Hard Day's Night. (Beatles). Work hard.

#2. Change. (Carrie Underwood). You can make a difference.

#3. How You Live (Turn Up the Music). (Point of Grace). Don't spend your life looking back.

#4. Try. (Colbie Caillat). Accept yourself for who you are.

What about you? What are some songs you learned from your mom, dad, teacher, BFF, etc?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Assessing Student Learning in Online Education Part 1

Assessment types.
Besides learning engagement, assessing student learning is one of the top concerns (top 3?) of teachers. This burden is no less lighter for online teachers. Much as teachers might like to banish this bane of teaching from their jobs, assessment (evaluation, retention, accreditation, and all related concerns) won't go away because "measuring" learning and giving a score/grade to course completion is a deeply embedded element of the institutional culture of formal education. How to give a grade meaningfully is a priority of mine.

Recently, the role of rubrics in online learning assessment was (tangentially?) touched on at a meeting. This comment led me to a series of conversations with folks around me. They each offered unique perspectives but I was left unsatisfied due to no fault of theirs. I wondered if I had caught up with the current wave of discourse about assessment in online learning. This blogpost is part of my ongoing efforts to learn more about the latest in online assessment [As a mini literature review, it's somewhat long, sorry!].

1. There are few empirical studies about assessment in online learning. Most studies in online education have focused on course design, technology implementation and learning outcomes between different modes of instruction, i.e. degree of hybridity/blend, F2F, fully online (Cheng, Jordan, Schallert & D-Team, 2013).

2. The nature of online learning has influenced the adoption of grading rubrics:
  • Rubrics have been used to provide explicit instructions and clear communication essential for efficient and effective learning across space and time. Proponents of rubric-use argue that rubrics provided by the online teacher serve as a means of explicit guidance to learners as descriptors of the level of performance expected of them. 
  • Rubric grading is a legacy of traditional face-to-face instruction. Some teachers who are new to online teaching may not be aware that a new approach to teaching is required in the new and different learning environment. OR, they may find assessing online  learning formidable with the distance and lack of immediacy in interaction. How they assess traditionally is thus transferred over to their online teaching experience.

3. Online teachers frequently use asynchronous forum discussions as a way to "provide a sense of connection among participants" (Dennen, 2008). 

In the online learning environment, no one knows if a student is present unless s/he communicates in some way, through text, image, sound or video. Historically, many teachers have relied on rubrics to assess learning participation and if forum discussions have enhanced learning. Research on asynchronous online discussions has not matched the popularity of this online assessment practice (Cheng et al, 2013).

4. Writing a good set of rubrics is a challenge. What are they anyway? To quote Susan Brookhart, (2013, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development website & book):
The genius of rubrics is that they are descriptive and not evaluative. Of course, rubrics can be used to evaluate, but the operating principle is you match the performance to the description rather than "judge" it. Thus rubrics are as good or bad as the criteria selected and the descriptions of the levels of performance under each. Effective rubrics have appropriate criteria and well-written descriptions of performance. 
Brookhart's book provides an introduction to different types of rubrics a teacher may consider using.

Image shows types of rubrics and its purposes. Are they used to assess learning process or learning product?
Types of rubrics (Brookhart, 2013).
She writes:
When the intended learning outcomes are best indicated by performances—things students would do, make, say, or write—then rubrics are the best way to assess them... Except in unusual cases, any one performance is just a sample of all the possible performances that would indicate an intended learning outcome. 
Whether or not to use rubrics in an online course depends on a few factors:
  • The purpose of the assessment. What do we want to assess? What is it about the learning experience we value? The process of learning? Learning products? Both? The sum of the learning experience or parts of it?
  • Formative and/or summative assessment 
  • Individual and/or group assessment
Although teachers may use rubrics to assess both the learning process (development / emergence of some mental schema [cognition]) and the final product (written reflections) of asynchronous discussions, it is difficult to develop a robust rubric that fully measures (or captures) how students read, write and engage in online discussions.

5. The use of grading rubrics in assessing online discussions is problematic. 

Rubrics, more often than not, are used to grade individual-based expressions or reproductions of knowledge rather than learning (Cheng et al, 2013). Rubrics that grade collaborative work remain a challenge to develop. Even without rubrics, collaborative learning by itself is a complicated endeavor to design and assess (Swan et al, 2006).

Dennen (2008) who has done research on "productive lurking" (An eye-opening concept for me!) argues that learning is an invisible practice, and non-visible learning activities such as lurking can actually be engaging and a learning developmental stage for some students. As they watch how other students learn, they move towards visible learning themselves (Hint of Lave & Wenger's (1991) Legitimate Peripheral Participation in Communities of Practice? LPP in COP). Teachers are often more likely to assess learners on the written aspect (Dennen, 2008) and not so much on their reading and engagement (while lurking). What evidence might online teachers be looking for?

Moreover, frequency counts (indicative of participation, but not always of learning), content and quality analysis of postings are time-consuming work for teachers, especially those teaching large courses. When students are rewarded a grade for creating a certain number of postings, what sort of message are we sending students? Is low-visibility work such as reading and reflecting less important?

With the increasing use of social media such as blogs and Twitter chats for communication and discussion, blog rubrics have been created by some teachers to motivate students to create blog postings. Some examples: one two three.

My concern about some blog grading rubrics are that they are too task-specific and sometimes, guide students to look for details that are often not what matters most in learning. Not to mention that grading blog postings by the teacher alone is tedious work. When I was a TA in graduate school, I created a spreadsheet to help the instructor keep track of postings so that she could grade them. It was for a class of not more than 20 students who were divided into small groups to ensure they would comment on each other's posts. What challenges would a course with 800 students present if the teacher plans to grade them for continuous feedback? How many teachers have the privilege of TA help?

6. How can we assess online discussions more holistically?

Dennen (2008, p. 215) suggests using three more analytic methods -- besides participation measures and content analysis -- to examine online discussions. Note: Dennen examines methods for the assessment and research of online discussions for indication of learning. I am extending her ideas on methods of discussion analysis to include an examination of networked, connected online conversations in these post web 2.0 days:
  • structural analysis (refers to "structure" of discussion/conversation; who talks to whom, who has power, includes use of social network analytic method; helpful in noting dynamics of collaborative work; used by itself, this method will not provide teachers with a complete picture of learning)
  • microethnography (as the name suggests, it's likened to ethnographic studies; conversations are explored in their contexts; surveys/polls, interviews, and analysis of digital footprints)
  • dialogue analysis (examine interrelatedness of messages and ideas in a dialogue; can be interpretive)
I could see all three analytic methods of online conversations as being beneficial to online teachers, Including an analysis and hence awareness of the social network(s) of learners in their online courses would give teachers a more complete picture of the complexity of learning in their online course communities. Lin and Lai (2013) conducted an intriguing study that combined a traditional online formative quiz with social network awareness. Knowledge of their peers' social network position, social distance, and willingness to help others relative to the student's social network position promoted learning achievement.

Nonetheless, I understand that teachers are busy people. They do not have to use all three methods, nor try them on a large scale (e.g. with 800 students) for a start, unless they are planning to do research on their online courses. Using a team-based approach to online teaching and/or research might mitigate some of the issues that come with having insufficient time to do "so much."

7. If not rubrics, or besides rubrics, how else do we know if learning has taken place in an online environment? 

How do we communicate explicit expectations of learning that matters? Expectations of interaction, quality and performance to learners so that student projects do not suffer from a lack of effort or quality? Particularly if we incorporate peer assessment into online learning? What if students  are new to online learning or new to college?

I've been mulling over these questions. My current probably not-very-original thinking is this:

It's time to move beyond using only rubrics to assess (or grade) online discussion boards in the hopes that students would make postings to indicate engagement. Also, by themselves, online discussion boards with rubrics thrown in are inadequate at assessing student learning.

Recent ideas for alternative assessment practices include the following:
[If you are aware of more alternative assessment practices, please share them with me?]

As a grad student, I've written one learning contract, but the teacher did not follow up on it at the end of the course. So, teachers/instructors/professors, whatever you have contracted (a two-way learning effort) with your student to complete, it is only meaningful learning if there is some feedback provided on what you've asked your students to do -- whether the feedback be from a machine, teacher, student, or member of the public (this is not a guaranteed response though).

With the move towards personalized learning and learner-centered instruction, students are given more opportunities to self-assess and monitor their own learning. However, in the institutional culture of programmatic education and degree completion of studies, student learning assessment is still a HUGE priority in faculty professional development when teachers talk about preparing to teach online.

This blogpost is an expression of my preliminary thoughts on the topic. More reading/conversation is needed and ideas will evolve as I read and synthesize more information.

Articles/Books I read to synthesize ideas:

Labels of Authentic Assessment Types in the first image:
What are some types of assessment? (Jul 15, 2008). Edutopia Blogpost. Retrieved from 

Brookhart, S. M. (2013). How to create and use rubrics for formative assessment and grading. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Cheng, A. C., Jordan, M. E., & Schallert, D. L. (2013). Reconsidering assessment in online/hybrid courses: Knowing versus learning. Computers & Education, 68, 51-59.

Dennen, V. P. (2008). Looking for evidence of learning: Assessment and analysis methods for online discourse. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(2), 205-219.

Lin, J. W., & Lai, Y. C. (2013). Online formative assessments with social network awareness. Computers & Education, 66, 40-53.

Swan, K., Shen, J., & Hiltz, S. R. (2006). Assessment and collaboration in online learning. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 10(1), 45-62.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Supporting Faculty to Teach Creatively & Teach For Creativity

[Context: This has been a challenging post to write. I had what I would call a creative-and-memory hangup. So long has lapsed since I started reading this book that I found myself asking, "Why did I underline these texts? Why the sticky notes?" But I'm going ahead to publish these thoughts anyway because this is what learning is all about -- not easy at times. A toast to visible learning!]
Wagner, T. (2012). Creating innovators:
The making of young people who will change the world. New York: Scribner.

[Purchased: February 14, 2014. Done Reading: November 23, 2014.]

It feels good to flip the last page of this book. In Chinese, we say 眼大肚小. Literally, big eyes, small stomach; meaning one's appetite is bigger than one's ability to digest food; i.e. I have more books than I have time to read them. So much has happened since I bought the book. As evidence of my reading achievement and reflection are the sticky tabs in the book.

A couple of colleagues saw me reading this book and inquired about it. This blogpost is partly a response to their questions and a quick reflection for personal application. Bear in mind that I read this book from the perspective of one who initially intended to conduct a dissertation study on fostering creative learning environments. I am thus somewhat familiar with the research literature on creativity and innovation. But there are still some ideas in the book that intrigued me.

1. Creativity can be seen as the confluence of multiple components.

The theoretical research on creativity shows that certain factors are possibly significant in fostering creativity, e.g. Wagner mentions Amabile's Componential Theory of Creativity (1998). The theory has evolved but basically she postulated that creativity-relevant processes (e.g. cognitive style, personality characteristics) and expertise in a domain (acquired formally or informally) provide the foundational raw materials an individual needs to explore and solve problems creatively, but motivation determines what people actually do with their skills and knowledge.

[Several creativity theories and frameworks mention similar components of creativity. I'm going to just list two more:

After interviewing "scores of young innovators" and studying their ecosystems (i.e. talked to their parents, teachers, mentors), Wagner (p. 200) identifies an innovation-supportive learning culture with these values:
  • collaboration 
  • multidisciplinary learning 
  • thoughtful risktaking, trial and error 
  • creating
  • intrinsic motivation (play, passion, purpose) 
Although worth repeating, I was looking for something more, as these ideas have been quite widely published in the creativity research literature.  What kept me reading till the end were the many inspiring stories about young innovators and their trajectories to becoming social or business innovators. A thread running through these narratives were the courage and perseverance of these young innovators, their parents and mentors -- how they took the less trodden path to realize or help others realize their dreams.

2. A Few Memorable Quotes 

"What you study is not that important. Knowing how to find those things you are interested in is way, way more important... It's like how I would imagine navigating a satellite through space. You're headed off with a velocity, and, oh, there's a planet over there. I'm going to orbit it a couple of times, and then shoot off somewhere else. How to pick the things you are bouncing off is really about integration -- integration at a personal level...

The classes were transformational for me not because of the content, but because of the people process... This class was great for me because I got to work in teams on these multidisciplinary problems that required bringing together a set of tools to create a solution." Kirk Phelps, young innovator cited in book (p. 32 & 41).

"Here at the [MIT] lab, we take our inspiration from the way people learn in kindergarten, where kids have opportunities to create, design, and build collaboratively." Mitchel Resnick cited in book (p. 182).

Reading as Play. "... the discipline of reading develops the muscles of concentration as well as the habit of self-motivated learning" (p. 211)

... the most important "toys" children needed to develop their imagination and creativity: "Sand, water, clay, paint, and blocks. Once they can use these materials, they can create anything." Beth Wise cited in book (p. 209).

I haven't observed how children learn in kindergartens. But I think frequently about how I learn and my disposition towards thinking and learning. Resnick's quote reminds us not to lose a playful approach towards learning. There is a child in us that still lives on despite our all grown-up exteriors, and it's not a bad thing. Sometimes, when we overthink and overplan, methinks we've killed the inventive spirit, and that child in us has been silenced. Perhaps we've let education and all the bad habits we've learned in schools squash our creativity.

I am privileged. I have many tools, and have access to many more, that allow me to have a voice. Yet I frequently fall back to a few trusty tools to articulate my hopes and dreams -- pen, writing journal, sketchbook, Photoshop, Illustrator, PicMonkey, my blog. We don't need many tools, we just need a few that allow us to express our thoughts. Simple tools facilitate conceptual design. Before I digitize anything, I find that sketching my thoughts out and writing short notes about them are helpful. The questions I ask myself are: What are some tools that best suit your style for exploration and play? Have I set aside time intentionally to play and explore?

I'm very thankful for a set of parents who immersed me in a rich literacy and multilingual environment from young. They didn't and couldn't read to me, but books were always readily accessible. Languages other than English were used interchangeably in my family. Though she didn't know English, my mother would somehow know what English books to borrow for me when I was sick and unable to go to the public libraries with her. The point is, books, and languages, together with tools for exploration and imagination, lead us into real and fantasy worlds where integrative thinking occurs: ideas are unearthed, mixed and remixed. Am I reading and synthesizing ideas?

3. Supporting Faculty to Teach Creatively and to Teach For Creativity

My motivation for reading this book is to learn something in order to better support students of every age and type in their creative pursuits. Creativity is a habit (Sternberg, 2012; Tharp, 2005) and a way of life. I believe we can teach students to cultivate habits that predispose them to think and live creatively.

At the ALT Lab, we advocate that teachers practice connected learning that fosters innovative learning. There is a difference between teaching creatively and teaching for creativity, Bonnie Cramond said. 
There are a lot of teachers who are pretty creative and might think of a creative lesson, but who’s being creative? The teacher is. Teachers can be creative in their lessons but we also want to pull out the children’s creativity.
These are words I want to challenge myself and my colleagues.

My question is: Are we encouraging and supporting faculty so that they can teach creatively and teach for creativity?


Getting Creative about Teaching. (2013, July/August). In webzine. Online Issue 43. Retrieved from 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Online Teaching and "Body Language"

Image description: A quotation by Jenifer Ringer,
"Terry taught ballet as if it were very important and precious."

Vignette 1:

"Terry taught ballet as if it were very important and precious." - Jenifer Ringer, Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet. 

Pointe Technique in Ballet
Image Description: Feet clad in ballet
shoes standing on pointe position
A line in a book given to me during the early days of losing my parents; supposedly the heroine's victory over her struggles would inspire me. A short sentence fraught with meaning and implications. I especially love the second half of the sentence. The words swirled with the other info bytes in my mind from last week's learning.

[Context: Jenifer Ringer was a professional ballerina. In her memoir, she wrote that she found ballet boring until she met Terry Shields who instilled in her the important virtue of discipline combined with high standards in dancing (2014, p. 12). ]

Vignette 2:

Online Teaching 101. A graduate seminar discussion. On the projector screen were these words, "effective face-to-face teaching." I asked students to explore this phrase and make their thoughts and observations visible through words, questions and metaphors.

Working in pairs, one graduate student raised a question about the potential influence of a teacher's body language on student learning outcomes.

"Are you impressed?" (by their question).


The mashup:

A weekend and four days later.

Ringer's quote and the students' question led me to think about the planning of my potential summer 2015 online course more delicately. In an online course, many students may not literally "see" an online teacher-facilitator and/or a fellow student's body language.

To be honest, what does body language look like online? Or better, how is it represented online?

First, let's be clear about what "body language" means:
Body Language "refers to various forms of nonverbal communication, wherein a person may reveal clues as to some unspoken intention or feeling through their physical behavior. These behaviors include, but are not limited to: facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space." (Wikipedia
  1. Does body language matter online? 
  2. If so, how does the teacher/student display body language? 
  3. What is/are the difference(s)?...
I have many questions. On top of my abundance of questions on participatory networked learning: contract grading (Cathy Davidson), avoiding resistance to contract grading, crowdsourcing grading, peer evaluation, constantly negotiated syllabus... My head is hurting.

Since online learning is mediated by communication technology - text, image (still and moving),  sound, synchronous and asynchronous communication, conveying to my online students how important and precious the subject matter is --to me-- requires meticulous design.

To answer Q2 first, the usual suspects in the technology realm for representing "voice" and "presence" are:

  • Real-time webconferencing
  • Biographies with visuals
  • Podcasts 
  • Conversational tone of text communications 

I've read blogposts by some online participants condemning real-time conferencing, in particular when a panel of facilitators are not prepared. Awkward silence pervades when panelists don't know when it is their turn to speak and students are left wondering how to respond to silence. We live in a world where quick wit is prized and silence/time to think is punished. To answer Q1, yes, it matters, especially if you are going to create videoclips and simulations of real-time teaching where your nonverbal communication cues are going to be captured.

[Note, Nov. 15, 2014: It's not the technology alone that is going to do the job; it is how you use the technology to help you express your intents and motives.]

Yet, Ringer's quote demanded more. I'd not just have to choose an appropriate technology but also, be mindful of all the elements of a course that would gel together to convey my teaching attitude: from frequency of contact with my students, to type of learning activities (Ringer got the chance to participate in real stage productions where her learning mattered), to even how my course site looks. Students care about the values teachers are imparting, like Ringer. Every detail of the course would convey if I'm fearlessly passionate about the topic. It's simultaneously exhausting and rewarding to design and teach a course.

As to Q3, is there a difference between how a teacher and a student conveys her intentions in real-time and virtual spaces? This is a difficult one.

Ideally, we are all human beings and regardless of our status, there should be no difference; we ought to treat each other with respect and dignity. But teachers are held to a higher standard as the role model and facilitator. Granted, Freire wrote that we are all teachers, at some point, and we learn from each other. This answers Q3 theoretically. But what happens often in practice?  Sometimes, we forget to prepare in advance for the learner who is legally blind or deaf or has a physical disability which holds back his/her participation in the course. We forget that that blinking multiple-images gif might not be read by the screen reader too well. And that automatic captioning by Google is hardly any captioning at all unless we are all wonderful voice talents and videographers. We don't know that sometimes a blind student might need more than one type of screen reader to access information on the web. Because we have yet to encounter a person with such challenges. Yes, teachers are held to a higher standard. We have to be vigilant of different learners with different needs and seek to make them feel welcome.

A somewhat cliched quote I'll include to end this post, but nonetheless one I often think about in teaching and relating to people:

Image Description: A quotation by Theodore Roosevelt,
"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."
My ex-students had indicated this to me over and over again in my life. Thanks, folks, for what you taught me. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Help! I am teaching online

I thought about adding these 5 words (my blogpost title) to the trending hashtag in Twitter, #ScaryStoriesIn5Words. Those tweets made Halloween Day somewhat more Halloween for me, lots of drama and jokes. Scary? Not so much at the ALT Lab where I was stationed for livestreamed sessions from the Online Learning Consortium's International Conference (OLC). Which is a good thing.

The turnout wasn't ideal but a real and urgent need of some faculty or future faculty members emerged from conversations with some attendees. Some major questions were:

"I think I'm going to be teaching online. Where can I find training resources to prepare me for this role?"

"I have faculty who have been teaching face-to-face (F2F) classes but are now going to start teaching online courses. I can't train them all by myself. Help?"

"We have adjunct instructors who work fulltime and are unable to attend any of the ALT Lab's programs." 

At the ALT Lab, we have programs and events to help faculty get started with online teaching: OLE, Agora, Online Learning Summit, live-streaming of OLC sessions ... Together with the other programs and resources we offer, we hope the variety of formal and informal learning opportunities will help enhance faculty online and F2F teaching experience. 

But I will be honest and confess that I don't have an answer to all three questions above. I understand that most people lead busy and full lives. But rather than wait to learn from a formal course, I would advise new online instructors to regard informal self-directed learning as a significant learning path to professional development for online teaching. I am not going to write about the institutional support instructors must have to get started with online teaching. This blogpost focuses on individual first-time instructors of online teaching and 3 broad suggestions I have for getting started with informal learning. (Disclaimer: These are purely my suggestions and views, not my employer's):

1. Learner Empathy: Take an Online Course

Experience it for yourself, no matter how busy you are. It's about developing learner empathy (Parrish, 2006). It would help the instructor to understand what it might be like when teacher-student roles are reversed. There is an incredible number of open access online courses available. Try the MOOCs (e.g. Connected Courses). 

Image Description: A woman jumps off the cliff and dives into the ocean of online teaching. There are people standing in the online ocean waiting to receive her.
Face the Fear.
Image Description: A woman jumps off the cliff and dives into the ocean of online teaching. There are
people standing in the online ocean waiting to receive her.

2. Face the Fear: Start Learning and Connecting

There is much to be said about building an arsenal of digital tools and sharpening the tools you are going to be using in your online course. Online communities and communication are mediated by technology. The 3 Ws (World Wide Web) might sound scary, and overwhelming, with its infinite possibilities for learning and also, abuse. But I don't see any short-cuts to becoming an effective online teacher and facilitator. I am not one to prescribe specific steps, but joining a community of folks who share your interest might be the best place to start learning about online pedagogy and tools. For examples,
  • Read, watch, listen. Articles, e-books, blogs. Hybrid Pedagogy; what better place to start than in the in-between space? Consider this article by Jesse Stommel on Online Learning: A Manifesto. If you find a chance, talk about it with some other instructors from your program. 
  • Post blog comments, AND, then start blogging to share information and news with your students and colleagues from near and far.  
  • Create a Twitter account (My colleague Tom Woodward shared this interesting article about Twitter, Why I Use Twitter)
  • Join Google+ communities of your interests (You need a GMail account)

I believe teachers have to carve out a safe online space for themselves to experiment and learn with others continuously, thus modeling for their students what it is like to learn from a global audience. We can no longer think of learning as something that is solely confined to a classroom. Or wait to enter a formal space to learn with others. Learn what you can with what time you have. Deliberately, on the go, just-in-time. Learn to steal away for microlearning moments. Develop learning habits that suit your schedule and learning disposition.

3. Keep Learning and Tweaking Your Course: Perfection is Not a Requirement

Someone told me she wouldn't teach online until she has learned enough about online teaching.  "Enough" is a subjective term. It is wise of her to give herself time to prepare adequately for online teaching and not try to replicate a face-to-face class online. In fact, a radical change in mindset is a must for new online instructors. Armed with this readiness to embrace change and some knowledge of how to make the change, one can begin to take the plunge to decide to teach online. However, we need to recognize that no course is going to be perfect from the get-go. Although we may have a plan and a course ready by the time we are in a position to push off from the starting-blocks, the course will be subject to some minor (?) revisions as it progresses through the semester. I don't know any teacher with a heart for teaching who doesn't improvise as s/he teaches throughout the semester.

This post is necessarily a simple reductionistic post about getting started. It does not pretend to be a solution that responds to all the complexities involved in preparing faculty to teach online.

I welcome comments anyone may have to help new online faculty get started through informal learning.


Parrish, P. (2006). Design as storytelling. TechTrends, 50(4), 72-82)