High Quality Online Courses Explained

By IGI Global on Apr 20, 2011
The success of an online curriculum can depend heavily on the degree to which online faculty members create a culturally sensitive and consistent learning environment. Three authors, writing for the first quarter issue of IGI Global's International Journal of Adult Vocational Education and Technology (IJAVET), stress the importance of scaffolding in helping students adopt self-regulating study habits. "In many cases, online students are ill-prepared for online courses or drop out of online courses due to their inability to regulate (i.e., plan or monitor) their own learning," write the authors. "Ironically, this is also related to the convenience myths/misconceptions of online teaching and learning—a teacher or student need not go to a bricks-and-mortar classroom at a prescribed time, one can learn anytime and anyplace. In reality, it is very difficult for some students to be self-regulated enough to complete a course online" (emphasis added).
The authors suggest three methods for faculty to teach "high quality" online courses:
  1. Create curricular structures which help students to regulate their own behavior as they would with face-to-face instruction;
  2. Plan activities which identify the differences between online courses and the brick-and-mortar classroom; and
  3. "… provide guidelines for activities and assessments that address […] rituals of participation and co-regulation" so that these skills can be scaffolded throughout the course.
"Scaffolding simply means that the faculty member should provide a lot of assistance with these activities at the beginning of the course and as the course progresses," write the authors. Thus, they write, "the faculty member slowly withdraws that help as the student gains confidence and masters course material." The authors, Bowling Green State University's Julia M. Matuga and Deborah Wooldridge, and their co-author from Middle Tennessee State University, Sandra Poirier, suggest that such an approach might reduce the number of students who do not succeed in or drop out of these online courses. To access a copy Matuga, et al.'s article, " Assuring Quality in Online Course Delivery," please visit: You can also access a free sample copy of this journal on the IGI Global Web site.
The International Journal of Adult Vocational Education and Technology (IJAVET) has as its mission to "advance the understanding, practice, and research within career and technical education (CTE), adult education, and technology."
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