Teaching and Learning Online: An Examination of Effective Techniques, Practices, and Processes

Teaching and Learning Online: An Examination of Effective Techniques, Practices, and Processes

Angelia Yount (Ball State University, USA) and Kwesi Tandoh (Ball State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9582-5.ch015
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Abstract

This chapter explores online learning and the pedagogical techniques needed to create an effective learning environment. In addition, it emphasizes the advances in contemporary online learning tracing its difficult beginning and the progress made due to advances made in technology especially the World Wide Web and the Internet. The chapter also discusses the importance of immediacy in online learning, and its ability to allow students to learn from anywhere and at any time. Student problems include lack of access to the technology, readiness to work online, and the erroneous impression that they know the technology more than the instructor. Interaction includes the effective application of scenarios of student and content, interaction between instructor and students, and the interaction between students which help promote social presence. We strongly believe the application of the afore-mentioned strategies will ensure successful development and implementations of an effective online course.
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History Of Distance Learning

According to Anderson (2008), distance education is not an old discipline by academic standards though its theory and practice has evolved through five generations since its inception (Taylor, 2001). From its beginning, distance learning was viewed mostly as an individual pursuit interspersed with infrequent communication between learner and teacher (Anderson, 2008). However, the last part of the twentieth century witnessed a great transition and the emergence of three other generations of distance teaching and learning (Anderson, 2008). Of these three generations of distance learning, one was supported by the mass media of radio and television, next was the use of synchronous tools and audio teleconferencing, which was followed by computer conferencing (Anderson, 2008).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Online Learning: The term online learning implies “that the learner is at a distance from the tutor or instructor, that the learner uses some form of technology to access learning materials” ( Anderson, 2008 ).

Online Presence: “A sense of being in a place and belonging to group” ( Picciano, 2002 ).

Instructional Best Practices: These principles are instructional strategies that provide effective and concise recommendations for instructors, students, and administrators on ways to use technology like computers, video, communication technologies to promote effective teaching and learning ( Frye et al., 2007 ).

Social Presence: “The degree of awareness of another person in an interaction and the consequent appreciation of an interpersonal relationship.” ( Short, Williams, & Christie, 1976 ).

Instructional Designers: “A systematic approach to creating a learning environment that promotes effective learning outcomes” ( Hastie, Chen, & Kno, 2007 ).

Distance Learning: Distance learning was viewed mostly as an individual pursuit interspersed with infrequent communication between learner and teacher ( Anderson, 2008 ).

Impact of Learning: According to Waterhouse, (2005) , online learning is more impactful when the primary emphasis is on the basics of teaching and learning. In other words, teaching must focus on the basic principles of pedagogy not on the technology when teaching online. Thus, instructors teaching online should use the technology to help them achieve their stated instructional learning outcomes. Chizmar and Williams (2001) also emphasized the importance of making pedagogy the main determinant of the choice of technology in teaching and learning.

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