A selection of research regarding best practices in online course development in Higher Education with a special emphasis on online degree development for programs. This selection was developed in conjunction with a workshop with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Psychology Department and may be periodically updated.
Online Education Journals and Associations (General)
Online Learning, published by the Online Learning Consortium (formerly Sloan C): “Online Learning is the official journal of the Online Learning Consortium, which promotes the development and dissemination of new knowledge at the intersection of pedagogy, emerging technology, policy, and practice in online environments. This journal, now in its 18th release, has been in publication for almost two decades and is known to many as JALN, the Journal of Asynchronous Learning.”
Journal of Educators Online, “Journal of Educators Online is an online double-blind peer review scholarly journal in the broad area of Computer Mediated Learning (CML) which includes distance, online, electronic, virtual, distributed, blended and mobile learning. Computer-mediated learning occurs when an individual interactively learns (formally or informally, synchronously or asynchronously) about material via computer means where the learning materials and pedagogy are developed to take advantage of the available technologies.”
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research: “The Journal of Information Technology Education: Research is a scholarly forum for those wishing to explore and advance all aspects of education through the considered and appropriate application of information technology. We believe that sharing ideas and views from diverse communities, fields and epistemologies provides alternative perspectives and suggest novel solutions. We provide authors with both rapid turnaround and collegial mentoring. With more than 20 editors from 17 countries on 5 continents and over 300 reviewers from around the globe, we are truly an international journal.”
MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching: “The MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT) is a peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication that aims to promote scholarship in the use of the Internet and web-based multimedia resources in higher education. The first issue appeared online in July 2005 and included a number of invited papers from various disciplines. The journal is now published quarterly in March, June, September, and December.”
UPCEA (University Professional & Continuing Education Association): “UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. Founded in 1915, UPCEA now serves more than 400 institutions, including most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. For 100 years, the association has served its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications.”
EDUCAUSE and ELI: “EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology.” and ELI, a focus area through EDUCAUSE that provides items like Seven Things You Should Know About Universal Design for Learning, which is a “framework for the design of materials and instructional methods that are usable by a wide range of students.” In addition, “Seeking Evidence of Impact (SEI) is a program led by the ELI teaching and learning community to find current effective practices that enable the collection of evidence to help faculty and administration make decisions about adopting and investing in best practices.” SEI provides a tremendous amount of evidence-based research for those interested: Seeking Evidence of Impact.
Recommended Books and Other Publications
What Makes for Rich and Rigorous Online Education?
Learning Outcomes in an Online vs Traditional Course (Stack, Steven Dr. (2015) “Learning Outcomes in an online vs traditional course,” International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 9: No. 1, Article 5.)
Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education: Effective OnlineCourse Design to Assist Students’ Success: (Crews, T. B., Wilkinson, K., & Neill, J. K. (2015) Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education: Effective Online Course Design to Assist Students’ Success. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Vol. 11, No. 1. 87-103)
Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices inOnline Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies (K-12 Focus) (Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., & Jones, K. (2009). Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. US Department of Education.)
Online Learning in Postsecondary Education: A Review of the Empirical Literature: (Wu, D. Derek (2015) Online Learning in Postsecondary Education: A Review of the Empirical Literature. Ithaka S+R.)
The effects of technology use in postsecondary education: A meta-analysis of classroom applications: “The overall message emerging from this study is that learning is best supported when the student is engaged in active, meaningful exercises via technological tools that provide cognitive support. But we are a long way from understanding more specifically how to design effective cognitive support tools and when precisely and how to integrate them into instruction.” (Schmid, R. F., Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., Tamim, R. M., Abrami, P. C., Surkes, M. A., … & Woods, J. (2014). The effects of technology use in postsecondary education: A meta-analysis of classroom applications. Computers & Education, 72, 271-291.)
Face-to-Face, Online and In-Between
Constructs Related to Community College Student Satisfaction on Blended Learning: “This study suggests that blended learning featuring collaboration and social presence can help institutions create better programs and support services that may lead to more effective learning environments. ” (Sorden. S. D., & Munene, I. I. (2013). “Constructs related to community college student satisfaction in blended learning.” Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 12, 251-270.)
Blended Learning: How Teachers Balance the Blend of Online and Classroom Components: “Blended learning will not fulfill its promise of better learning unless teachers can be encouraged to re-think and redesign courses that afford students more, and different learning experiences than those offered by either online or classroom alone.” ( Jeffrey, L. M., Milne, J., Suddaby. G., & Higgins, A. (2014). Blended learning: How teachers balance the blend of online and classroom components. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 13, 121-140.)
Creating Classroom Community: Faculty Presence
Building a Conceptual Framework for Online Educator Dispositions (the authors break down “faculty presence” into three functional domains similar to CoI: Cognitive Presence, Pedagogical Presence, and Social Presence) (Kirwan, Jeral R; Roumell, Elizabeth Anne (2015) “Building a Conceptual Framework for Online Educator Dispositions” The Journal of Educators Online: Vol 12: No. 1, Article 2)
Taking the “Distance’ out of Distance Education: A Humorous Approach to Online Learning: “The positive correlation between humor incorporated in online class sections and student participation suggests that humor contributes to motivating more students to engage more in online discussion. This finding supports Shatz & LoSchiavo’s (2006) and Goldman’s (2001) research where students appeared to be more fully engaged in humorous online classes. Furthermore, the findings in this study are consistent with Fitzsimmons and McKenzie’s (2003) study of the relationship between teacher-student interactions and humor.” (Anderson, D. G. (2011). Taking the “distance’ out of distance education: A humorous approach to online learning. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7(1), 74-81.)
Synchronous, Asynchronous, Blended/Hybrid, Flipped
Is It Worth the Effort? The Impact of Incorporating Synchronous Lectures into an Online Course (Olson, Joann S. (2015) “Is it Worth the Effort?” Online Learning: Vol. 19: No. 2, Article 5) “The findings here suggest that it is necessary to consider the student’s learning, the student’s experience, and the investment of time and resources when evaluating whether it is “worth the effort’ to incorporate synchronous activities into an online course.”
Asynchronous & Synchronous E-Learning (Hrastinski, S. (2008). Asynchronous and synchronous e-learning. Educause quarterly, 31(4), 51-55.) “I suggest that, other things being equal, synchronous e-learning better supports personal participation and asynchronous e-learning better supports cognitive participation.”
A Comparative Content Analysis of Student Interaction in Synchronous andAsynchronous Learning Networks (Chou, C. C. (2002, January). A comparative content analysis of student interaction in synchronous and asynchronous learning networks. In System Sciences, 2002. HICSS. Proceedings of the 35th Annual Hawaii International Conference on (pp. 1795-1803). IEEE.) “Overall, a higher percentage of social-emotional interactions occurred in the synchronous mode than in the asynchronous mode. Students spent more time in task-oriented interaction in asynchronous discussions than they did in the synchronous mode.”
Exploring Asynchronous and Synchronous Tool use in Online Courses (Oztok, M., Zingaro, D., Brett, C., & Hewitt, J. (2013). Exploring asynchronous and synchronous tool use in online courses. Computers & Education, 60(1), 87-94.) “We suggest that PM [private synchronous messaging] supports asynchronous discussions in the formation of a community of inquiry.”
Strategies for Creating a Community of Inquiry throughOnline Asynchronous Discussions (Denoyelles, A., Zydney, J., & Chen, B. (2014) MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 10, No. 1, March 2014). “This framework posits that there are three interrelated presences — social, cognitive, and teaching — that must be perceived by members in order to facilitate a successful educational experience. Classifying strategies within this framework may guide instructors to purposefully select and employ methods that encourage productive, efficient, and meaningful discussions”
Peer instruction: Ten years of experience and results (Crouch, C. H., & Mazur, E. (2001). Peer instruction: Ten years of experience and results. American Journal of Physics, 69(9), 970-977.) “notably, we have replaced in-class reading quizzes with pre-class written responses to the reading, introduced a research-based mechanics textbook for portions of the course, and incorporated cooperative learning into the discussion sections as well as the lectures. These improvements are intended to help students learn more from pre-class reading and to increase student engagement in the discussion sections, and are accompanied by further increases in student understanding.”
Reflections on the Use of Blended Learning (Heinze, A., & Procter, C. T. (2004). Reflections on the use of blended learning.) “we argue for the need for theoretical underpinning and that Laurillard’s Conversational Framework (Laurillard, 1993)is a valuable tool for blended learning”
Impact of class lecture webcasting on attendance and learning (Traphagan, T., Kucsera, J. V., & Kishi, K. (2010). Impact of class lecture webcasting on attendance and learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 58(1), 19-37.) “For most performance measures based on lecture content, more webcast viewing was associated with higher performance”
Podcasts: Are They an Effective Tool to Enhance Student Learning? A Case Study from McMaster University, Hamilton Canada (Vajoczki, S., Watt, S., & Marquis, N. (2008, June). Vodcasts: Are they an effective tool to enhance student learning? A Case Study from McMaster University, Hamilton Canada. In World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (Vol. 2008, No. 1, pp. 4913-4920).) “It appears that podcasting, when used in large lower level Social Sciences courses, has a positive impact on both students and faculty.”
UAF’s Faculty Learning Community on Flipped Classrooms (with examples).
Creating Classroom Community: Student Presence
Online Learners and Their Self-Disclosure Preferences: This study “found that graduate students were significantly more likely than undergraduate students to share information with many different groups. Specifically, graduate students disclosed more information to teachers, classmates, group-members, and the TA group when compared to undergraduate students. In addition, graduate students were more likely than undergraduate students to share specific categories of information, including work-related information and contact information.” (Doring, A., Hodge, A., & Heo, M. (2014). Online learners and their self-disclosure preferences. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 13, 163-175.)
Intellectual Property, Copyright, Fair Use
Creating Classroom Community: Discussion
Strategies for Creating a Community of Inquiry through Online Asynchronous Discussions: (deNoyelles, A., Mannheimer Zydney, J., & Chen, B. (2014). Strategies for Creating a Community of Inquiry through Online Asynchronous Discussions.Journal of Online Learning & Teaching, 10(1).)
Mastering Online Discussion Board Facilitation Resource Guide: (LCC, T. S. (2009). Mastering Online Discussion Board Facilitation: Resource Guide.)
Key Elements of Building Online Community: Comparing Faculty and Student Perceptions: (Vesely, P., Bloom, L., & Sherlock, J. (2007). Key elements of building online community: Comparing faculty and student perceptions. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 3(3), 234-246.)
Instructor Presence I (Audio/Video)
Student Attitudes Towards The Integration of YouTube in Online, Hybrid, and Web-Assisted Courses: An Examination of the Impact of CourseModality on Perception: “YouTube supports multimedia learning and student engagement and is particularly effective at enhancing the educational experience of fully online learners….course delivery method should be taken into consideration when determining use of online videos and video sharing services.” (Buzzetto-More, N. (2015) Student Attitudes Towards the Integration of YouTube in Online, Hybrid, and Web-Assisted Courses: An Examination of the Impact of Course Modality on Perception. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching: Vol. 11, No. 1, 55-73.)
Improving online social interaction through asynchronous video: “Many students indicated feeling that the video-based communication made their instructors seem more real, present, and familiar, and several students indicated that these relationships were similar to face-to-face instruction.” Borup, J., West, R. E., & Graham, C. R. (2012). Improving online social interaction through asynchronous video. Internet and Higher Education, 15(3), 195-203.
Instructor Presence II (Screencasting)
Increasing Instructor Visibility in Online Courses through Mini-Videos and Screencasting (Page 8) “In order to be successful an online class needs to be lively. It should not be just a collection of PowerPoints, reading materials, and assignments. One way to enliven the class is to integrate multimedia material– such as interactive exercises and/or audio-video materials relating to the subject matter in the classroom.” Faculty Focus Special Report (multiple authors).
Instructor Presence in Online Courses and Student Satisfaction (Ladyshewsky, Richard K. (2013) “Instructor Presence in Online Courses and Student Satisfaction,” International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 7: No. 1, Article 13)
Student Presence/Students as Makers
“’It gave me a much more personal connection’: Student-generated podcasting and assessment in teacher education.” Forbes, D., Khoo, E., & Johnson, E.M. (2012). “’It gave me a much more personal connection’: Student-generated podcasting and assessment in teacher education.” In M. Brown, M. Hartnett & T. Stewart (Eds.), Future challenges, sustainable futures. Proceedings ascilite Wellington 2012. (pp.326-330).
Portfolios and Publishing
Defining the ePortfolio: What it is and Why it Matters: (Jill D. Jenson & Paul Treuer (2014) Defining the E-Portfolio: What It Is and Why It Matters, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 46:2, 50-57)
Feedback and Assessment
Does Mechanism Matter? Student Recall of Electronic versus Handwritten Feedback (Osterbur, Megan E.; Hammer, Elizabeth Yost; and Hammer, Elliott (2015) “Does Mechanism Matter? Student Recall of Electronic versus Handwritten Feedback,” International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 9: No. 1, Article 7)
Online Instructor’s Use of Audio Feedback to Increase Social Presence and Student Satisfaction (Dias, Laura Portolese; Trumpy, Robert (2014) “Online Instructor’s Use of Audio Feedback to Increase Social Presence and Student Satisfaction” The Journal of Educators Online: Vol 11: No. 2, Article 2)
A Simple Suggestion for Reducing First-time Online Student Anxiety: (case study with very good list of linked reference articles at the end)
The Model of Strategic e-Learning: Understanding and Evaluating Student eCampus from Metacognitive Perspectives (Tsai, M. J. (2009). The Model of Strategic e-Learning: Understanding and Evaluating Student e-Learning from Metacognitive Perspectives. Educational Technology & Society, 12(1), 34-48.) “the OLSS finally contains 20 items with good construct validity and reliability. This instrument provides a diagnostic instrument for e-learning researchers, system designers, curriculum developers and instructors to evaluate students’ elearning strategies in their experiment, design and development.
Teach students how to conduct better searches with Google:
- Search operators
- Reverse image search
- Image search on Google
- Filter your search results
- Advanced Search
Putting Together a Program
Autonomy Among Thieves: Template Course Design for Student and Faculty Success (Huun, Kathleen; Hughes, Lisa (2014) “Autonomy Among Thieves: Template Course Design for Student and Faculty Success” The Journal of Educators Online: Vol 11: No. 2, Article 4)
Online language learning: A comparative evaluation of proficiency outcomes (Grant report by Oregon State University’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literature on how they systematically created online degree programs in languages)