Best Practices

Adding Some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online (Curtis Bonk, Elaine Khoo)

This 2014 book presents 10 motivational principles for online education. Each letter of TEC-VARIETY stands for one or more motivational principles for online learning including: 1. Tone/Climate: Psychological Safety, Comfort, Sense of Belonging; 2. Encouragement: Feedback, Responsiveness, Praise, Supports; 3. Curiosity: Surprise, Intrigue, Unknowns; 4. Variety: Novelty, Fun, Fantasy; 5. Autonomy: Choice, Control, Flexibility, Opportunities; 6. Relevance: Meaningful, Authentic, Interesting; 7. Interactivity: Collaborative, Team-Based, Community; 8. Engagement: Effort, Involvement, Investment; 9. Tension: Challenge, Dissonance, Controversy; 10. Yielding Products: Goal Driven, Purposeful Vision, Ownership. Each motivational principle is accompanied by thoroughly-discussed activities to engage online students.

Strategies to Promote Communication Online – General Conferencing Strategies (Illinois Online Network, Univ. of Illinois)

From the site: “A sense of community must be created in the Virtual Classroom for effective learning to occur. The discussion element of an online course plays a critical role in creating and sustaining this sense of community. In fact, the synergy of the discussion is probably the most important learning tool of an online course. Successful online instructors use strategies to help create an online environment in which participants feel eager to contribute and comfortable with the demands and pace of the online discussion.” This Web site describes 15 general strategies to promote communication online.

Strategies to Promote Communication Online – Specific Activities (Illinois Online Network, Univ. of Illinois)

This Web site, which accompanies the Web site immediately above, describes 15 specific activities to promote online discussion.

Engaging the Online Learner: Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction (Rita-Marie Conrad, J. Ana Donaldson)

Chapters 5 and 6 of this 2004 book offer good ideas and in-depth guidelines for icebreaker and collaborative discussion activities.

Effective Practices in Online Writing Instruction (Conference on College Composition and Communication Committee)

The Conference on College Composition and Communication Committee established several Online Writing Instruction (OWI) principles that can be adapted to varying institutional contexts. These principles address pedagogy, institutional level concerns, teacher concerns, and research.

Quality Matters Rubric (MarylandOnline)

From the site: “Quality Matters (QM) is a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online and blended courses. QM is a leader in quality assurance for online education and has received national recognition for its peer-based approach and continuous improvement in online education and student learning. QM subscribers include community and technical colleges, colleges and universities, K-12 schools and systems, and other academic institutions. There are three primary components in the Quality Matters Program: The QM Rubric, the Peer Review Process and QM Professional Development.”

Best Practices in Online Teaching Strategies (The Hanover Research Council)

This 2009 report reviews the current literature on successful strategies for online teaching including sections on: Overview of the Principles, Guidelines, and Benchmarks for Online Education; Best Practices in Online Teaching Strategies; and An Exemplary Program and Examples of Effective Practices.

Instructional Best Practices Using Technology (Univ. of Central Florida, Teaching Online)

A list of endorsed best practices to explore and possibly implement in an online course; there are sections on Organization, Interaction, and Assessment.

10 Principles of Effective Online Teaching: Best Practices in Distance Education (Faculty Focus, Magna Publications)

A special report that explains the “rules of the road” for online teaching and learning and features a series of columns that first appeared in the Distance Education Report’s “Between the Clicks,” a popular column by Dr. Lawrence C. Ragan, Director of Instructional Design and Development for Penn State’s World Campus.