Tag: RSI Standards

OSCQR – Standard #47RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #47RSI Dashboard illustration

Course provides opportunities for learners to review their performance and assess their own learning throughout the course (via pre-tests, self-tests with feedback, reflective assignments, peer assessment, etc.).

Review These Explanations

Pre-tests allow a learner to better understand what they already know and where they have more to learn. It provides information on prior knowledge and gaps in knowledge or understanding that can help the learner more effectively and efficiently focus their learning effort.

Self-assessment involves the reviewing one’s own work, determining what is good, and detailing what needs improvement. It is a multi-faceted method of determining learner mastery, by asking learners to explore their own work, and determine a level of performance or mastery.

Self-assessment and reflective assignments play a role in learner self-efficacy and self-regulation, fosters learners’ abilities to construct meaning, and promotes metacognition. By asking learners to check their skill mastery levels, or reflect on their own work and learning, they learn to examine their own reasoning and decision making process, and understand better what helps or hinders their learning (Cukusic et al, 2014).

Peer-assessment give learners the opportunity to look at the work of others, and apply evaluation criteria to it. This not only provides feedback to the learner who is being peer-assessed, but provides the learner doing the assessing with the opportunity to understand and apply evaluation criteria on work that is not their own. This affords the experience of understanding the application of assignment evaluation criteria in an objective context that can they can then apply to their own work.

References:

Cukusic, M., Garaca, Z., & Jadric, M. (2014). Online self-assessment and students’ success in higher education institutions. Computers & Education, 72, 100-109.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSI

RSI Dashboard illustrationThis standard can support regular and substantive interaction by providing explicit instructions and expectations, rubrics, models/examples, opportunities for peer evaluation and self assessment, and details on how course assignments will be evaluated, and how feedback will be provided. In online courses, pre-tests, self-assessments, reflective assignments, and peer-assessments provide learners with opportunities to check to see how they are progressing, and can offer learners the opportunity to ask for help, clarification, or review or explore additional course materials necessary to master course concepts, or skills. Directing learners to ask questions and interact with the instructor about their understanding of course materials and concepts, and about course assessments, such as in an online discussion forum, further supports RSI, and is a good general practice. Scheduling specific instructor-facilitated discussion in groups, or in private Office Hours with individuals, to discuss course content, activities, assignment feedback, provide help, answer questions, and/or get guidance and clarification demonstrates compliance with RSI.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Leverage the features and functionality in LMS testing tools to incorporate rich incorrect answer feedback in pre-tests, self-tests and tests,  enhances the learners ability and opportunity to self-correct, and be directed to look further into specific course content, materials, to clarify understanding.
  • Have learners develop a Personal Goals (or Learning Contract) statement for the course, and reflect on how they are meeting those goals at midterm and end of course.
  • Include a non-graded Test Your Knowledge quiz at the beginning of each module that learners can use to assess their prior knowledge to help guide and focus their learning efforts.
  • Include a non-graded Test Your Knowledge quiz at the end of each module that learners need to score a specific grade on (80% or higher) before they can move on.
  • Provide clear guidance on what learners should provide in any reflective exercise, including writing style samples, questions/prompts to consider in their reflections, and objectives that they should be taking into consideration.
    • For example, a Metacognitive Journaling activity can ask students to reflect on what is helping or hindering their learning, what they are learning and how they know they have learned. Coupled with instructor feedback or self assessment and/or peer review can help learners better understand their own learning and progress in the course. This can support learner sense of self-efficacy and scaffold learner self-regulation.
    • Online journals or blogs can be incorporated into online course activities for learners to post reflections on their learning within each module.
  • Ask learners to rate their own participation in the discussion forum, considering questions related to what they contributed, as well as what they chose not to contribute.
  • Explore ePortfolio options. If available, use ePortfolio tools, and have learners post all course work and related reflections there, so they will have access to it beyond the end of the term/course/program.

Examples

  • Scenario-based discussion of course rubrics – students are given a scenario (e.g., Jane participated in the discussion by submitting an initial post, but nothing more) and then asked to assess the grade they would give based on a course rubric. Students discuss together. Instructor provides feedback in the discussion, or summarizes the activity in an announcement after the discussion closes.
    • Example: Instructor directs class discussion around the following scenarios to provide an opportunity for learners to practice using the discussion rubric

In this assignment, you will be presented with several scenarios that you are likely to encounter in this course, and I ask you to “grade” them. Use the discussion and assignment evaluation rubric provided to determine the points that would be awarded for each scenario. Post the grades you would award for each scenario as a reply. The purpose of this assignment is to give you experience with applying the discussion rubric and understanding the criteria, so you will better understand what is expected of you in our online course discussions. If you have any questions about this assignment, please post them in the Ask a Question forum associated with this module. You must complete this activity, before can advance to the next course module. I will provide you with individual and group feedback on this assignment by the end of the week. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this assignment, the feedback you receive, of your understanding of how you will be evaluated in this course, please come to our scheduled Office Hour.

  • Scenario 1: In a discussion, student A submits one discussion post. The post was submitted on time, it addresses all the questions asked in the discussion instructions. The post is approximately 500 words long and is pretty well developed. There are some minor APA offenses. How many points will student A earn for this discussion submission? Why?
  • Scenario 2: Student B is very active in the discussion and posts several posts. The student’s first post answers three out of four questions posed in the discussion instructions. The first post is approximately 350 words long. A couple of other posts are about 500 words long. The student’s arguments are well developed, but the student does not cite any reading materials. How many points will student B earn for these posts? Why?
  • Scenario 3: Student C submitted a brilliant assignment that answers all the questions posed in the instructions and is approximately 450 words long. The submission came 3 days after the deadline and the student had not communicated this with the instructor. The assignment also does not cite any sources. How many points will student C earn for this submission? Why?

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

This Pedagogical Practice from TOPR explores methods and approaches to incorporating self-assessments in support of learner success in online courses.

Use Self Tests to Guide and Motivate Students’ Learning
Self‐assessment can play a central role in learning, revisions and review (Andreade & Du 2007; Weimer, 2009). The self‐assessment process involves a complex process of internalization and self‐regulation, and with implications for research and practice. (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

Boud, D., Lawson, R., and Thompson, D. “Does Student Engagement in Self-Assessment Calibrate Their Judgement Over Time?” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 2013, 38 (3), 941-956.
Hwang, W., Hsu, J., Shadiev, R. r., Chang, C., & Huang, Y. (2015). Employing self-assessment, journaling, and peer sharing to enhance learning from an online course. Journal Of Computing In Higher Education, 27(2), 114-133.
Falchikov, N., and Boud, D. “Student Self-Assessment in Higher Education: A Meta-Analysis.” Review of Educational Research, 1989, 59 (4), 395-430.
Raymond, A. a., Jacob, E. e., Jacob, D. D., & Lyons, J. j. (2016). Peer learning a pedagogical approach to enhance online learning: A qualitative exploration. Nurse Education Today, 44165-169.
Zimmerman, B. J. 1989. “Becoming a Self-Regulated Learner: An Overview.” Theory into Practice.
Frank, T., & Scharff, L. F.V., Learning contracts in undergraduate courses: Impacts on student behaviors and academic performance. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Vol. 13, No. 4, October 2013, pp. 36–53.

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OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #46RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #46RSI Dashboard illustration

Criteria for the assessment of a graded assignment are clearly articulated (rubrics, exemplary work).

Review These Explanations

Rubrics are recommended as a best practice for communicating criteria and achievement levels for assignments in online courses. Elikai & Schuhmann (2010) found that grading policies and associated rubrics motivated learning by associating levels of mastery and performance with a specific grade, and guiding achievement progress.

According to Worlf & Goodwin (2007), rubrics:

  • Make learning targets clearer;
  • Guide the design and delivery of instruction;
  • Normalize the assessment process; and
  • Give learners self- and peer-assessment guidelines.

Guidelines or rubrics for the assessment of graded work should include performance criteria, setting desired performance/proficiency levels for learners, and creating performance descriptions. This includes providing details for what constitutes the continuum of accomplishment, from unsatisfactory through to exemplary, and includes grades associated with each level along the continuum. Criteria for grading schemes (points and percentages) and ranges should be clear (what gets and A, B, and so on), and tie directly to the goals and objectives of the assigned work that is to be evaluated.

Showcasing exemplary work provides learners with a clear example of what outcomes the assignment demands, and what mastery levels need to be reached. Before posting exemplary work, be sure to get permission from the learner whose work you would like to showcase.

References:

Elikai, F., & Schuhmann, P. W. (2010). An examination of the impact of grading policies on students’ achievement. Issues in Accounting Education, 25 (4), 677-693.

Wolf, K. K., & Goodwin, L. L. (2007). Evaluating and Enhancing Outcomes Assessment Quality in Higher Education Programs. Metropolitan Universities, 18(2), 42-56.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSIRSI Dashboard illustration

This standard can support regular and substantive interaction in the online course design by providing explicit instructions and expectations, rubrics, models/examples, opportunities for peer evaluation, and self assessment, as well as details on how feedback will be provided, when it can be expected, and how course work will be work evaluated. Directing learners to ask questions and interact with the instructor about course assignments, activities, and the related grading criteria and expectations, such as in an online discussion forum, further supports RSI, and is a good general practice. Scheduling specific instructor-facilitated discussion in groups, or in private Office Hours with individuals, to discuss course content, activities, assignment feedback, provide help, answer questions, and/or get clarification demonstrates compliance with RSI.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions/Resources

Rubrics/Tools:

Examples

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

This Pedagogical Practice from TOPR explores methods and approaches to providing clear rubrics for learners in support of learner success in online courses.

Use Rubrics to Evaluate Students’ Online Discussions
While faculty might hope that students can “just discuss” a topic online with little or no support, Beckett, Amaro‐Jiménez, and Beckett (2010) found that “even doctoral students may need explicit grading instructions, and therefore provide rubrics and sample responses while not stifling creativity” (p. 331). Rubrics provide clear expectations for students regarding how an assignment, that can otherwise be subjective, will be graded. (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

Andrade, H. 2000. Using rubrics to promote thinking and learning. Educational Leadership 57, no. 5: 13-18.
Arter, J., and J. Chappuis. 2007. Creating and recognizing quality rubrics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.
Reddy, Y., & Andrade, H. (2010). A review of rubric use in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(4).
Stiggins, R.J. 2001. Student-involved classroom assessment. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #45RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #45RSI Dashboard illustration

Course includes frequent, appropriate, and authentic methods to assess the learners’ mastery of content.

Review These Explanations

Consistent and regular assessments help learners demonstrate their progress and deficiencies. As learners move through an online course, they should encounter regular assignments, activities, and interactions designed to assess how well they have mastered the learning content, and how close they are to meeting program, course, or module learning objectives.

They key to establishing an appropriate assessment strategy is first making sure that established goals are measurable, and then mapping activities back to those goals to see which best lend themselves to conveying learner mastery. It comes down to one simple question – how will you know that learning has taken place?

According to Palloff and Pratt (2013), “A learner-centered assessment is an assessment that links what the student is learning in the course to the assessment process”. Multiple choice tests and quizzes may be easy to grade, but writing assignments, collaborative exercises, case studies, and interactive discussions provide a more authentic assessment of learner mastery by requiring reflection, synthesis, and the creation of new knowledge.

Learners can become lost in online courses that fail to measure mastery on a consistent or regular basis, as they have little to motivate their participation. Mastering competencies on a regular basis within an online course helps learners succeed by developing competence, understanding, and comprehension, which leads to the ability to demonstrate competence and elicit feedback (Hulleman et al., 2010).

References:

Hulleman, C., Schrager, S., Bodmann, S., & Harackiewicz, J. (2010). A meta-analytic review of achievement goal measures: Different labels for the same constructs or different constructs with similar labels? Psychological Bulletin, 136(3), 422.

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2013). Lessons from the virtual classroom: the realities of online teaching. Second edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSI

RSI Dashboard illustrationThis standard can support regular and substantive interaction by including a variety of ways to assess learning, and by ensuring that learners receive timely feedback on their work and course progress, and scheduled opportunities to review or discuss their work with the instructor. Authentic online assessment is an essential part of an effective high-quality online learning experience. Instructors can design online learning assessments and evaluations of student learning/mastery by considering approaches that are more effective and appropriate in online learning environments. With the understanding that some online assessments can be largely “take home,” open book, and potentially collaborative in nature, instead of relying on 1 or 2 high stakes multiple-choice-type exams, alternative methods can be leveraged to help learners make their thinking, understanding, and learning visible to the instructor, and others in the course for assessment, feedback, and guidance. Effective practices online include opportunities for more frequent self-assessments, peer evaluation, and formative assessments. Some suggestions include:

  • Place a higher value on online course interactions and discussions.
  • Provide learners with choices in how they demonstrate their learning/mastery.
  • Provide opportunities for learners to make their thinking and learning visible to you in ways that demonstrate how they can apply their learning and understanding. Instructors can establish this in the design of the course by providing explicit instructions and expectations, rubrics, models/examples, opportunities for peer evaluation and self assessment, and details on how they will provide feedback, and evaluate work.
  • Focus on the importance of timeliness, interaction, and feedback from the instructor.

Directing learners to ask questions and interact with the instructor about their understanding of course materials and concepts, and about course assessments, such as in an online discussion forum, further supports RSI, and is a good general practice. Scheduling specific instructor-facilitated discussion in groups, or in private Office Hours with individuals, to discuss course content, activities, assignment feedback, provide help, answer questions, and/or get clarification demonstrates compliance with RSI.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Break complex projects/assignments down into smaller components and provide feedback at each step.
  • Use rubrics to articulate and provide detailed expectations for assignments and student performance.
  • Consider using self-assessment quizzes formatively to help learners check their own understanding.
  • Incorporate self- and peer-assessments to promote student teaching presence and community, deepen their understanding of your rubrics, and reduce your workload.
  • To maximize your time and efficiency, consider where you may have opportunities to provide feedback to the entire class– be strategic in where you spend your time producing individual feedback. If you find yourself writing the same/similar feedback on a particular assessment/assignment, consider group feedback.
  • Review textbook companion materials for quizzes and activities that can be integrated into the LMS.
  • Learn to use the grade book, grading, and rubric features within the LMS to guide the development of your assessments, and to assist you to provide rich feedback.
  • Meet with a curriculum developer within your discipline to ensure your course learning objectives align well with your assessments, content and activities.
  • Explore tools that enable learners to interact with course videos, such as PlayPosit, Panopto, etc.
  • Prepare a roadmap of assignments and assessments to visualize the balance of work that learners will be taking on throughout the term.
  • Be explicit in instructions and guidelines about each course activity and its assessment aligns with specific course learning objectives.

Examples

Assessing Asynchronous Interaction

Supporting Academic Honesty

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

This Pedagogical Practices from TOPR explores methods and approaches to creating assignments and assessments that enable instructors to assess learner mastery of course materials and concepts in online courses.

Individualizing Assignments in an Online Course
Individualizing assignments in an online course promotes student and instructor interest, challenges students to strengthen their research skills, and prevents students from paraphrasing other students’ work and presenting it as their own. (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

As online education moves into the mainstream of the higher education ecosystem, one question still persists: “How do I know what my online students have learned?” There are no easy answers, just as there aren’t in face-to-face courses, but with a little creativity and flexibility, you soon discover that the online learning environment opens up a host of new educational assessment possibilities.
Ng, C. (2015). Learners’ Goal Profiles and their Learning Patterns over an Academic Year. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 16(3), 86-109.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #44RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #44RSI Dashboard illustration

Course grading policies, including consequences of late submissions, are clearly stated in the Course Information/ Syllabus materials.

Review These Explanations

Learners need to know how their work will be assessed in a clear and transparent manner. Grading policies can guide learner progress, and promote fair and objective review and assessment of all graded work. Research shows that grading policies directly impact learner motivation. Elikai & Schuhmann (2010) found that strict grading policies motivated learner learning by associating levels of mastery and performance with a specific grade, and guiding achievement progress. Having a clear understanding on how one will be assessed and evaluated also scaffolds online learner self-regulation.

All activities, assignments, and graded activities should have clear goals and criteria for assessment within their descriptions. Linking back to grading policies from each graded activity will provide more opportunities for learners to understand what is expected from them, and the associated guidelines, or rubrics can help guide their progress through the assignment or graded activity.

Including clear course grading policies in both the Course Information/Syllabus materials will also mitigate issues related to and learner questions, concerns, or challenges regarding grades received.

References:

Elikai, F., & Schuhmann, P. W. (2010). An examination of the impact of grading policies on students’ achievement. Issues in Accounting Education, 25 (4), 677-693.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSI

RSI Dashboard illustrationOnline courses can support regular and substantive interaction by providing explicit instructions and expectations, grading schemes, rubrics, models/examples, and details on how they will evaluate work, provide feedback, and any consequences for not meeting course requirements/ expectations clearly in the course information area or syllabus. The opportunity for learners to discuss, ask questions, or how learners can appeal, make up work/missed classes, or co-create any course expectations is visible in the design of the course.Course communication plans for regular, predictable, and substantive instructor-to-learner interaction, and clearly stated expectations for timely and regular feedback from the instructor are provided. Course expectations for all assignments, activities, assessments/evaluations, and their associated grading policies, including instructor and learner roles, communications, interaction, collaboration, criteria and any consequences/penalties for not meeting stated requirements, need to be explicit, clear, and easy to find. The Course Information/Syllabus materials and course assignment instructions provide details such as purpose, description, learning outcomes, methods and criteria for evaluation, and any other requirements. Directing learners to ask questions and interact with the instructor about course grading policies and consequences for not meeting expectations, such as in an online discussion forum, further supports RSI, and is a good general practice. Scheduling a specific instructor-facilitated discussion on these topics demonstrates compliance with RSI.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Course grading policies and guidelines, including performance expectations, scheduled communications for feedback, expectations regarding timeliness of feedback and returned work/grades, examples/models, grading schemes, extra credit, and missed deadlines, late submissions, missed/incomplete work and the consequences, are clearly articulated in the Course Information/Syllabus materials.
  • Establish criteria that ties back to program, course, and module objectives. Consider characteristics of work such as clarity, precision, spelling, grammar, creativity, critical inquiry, demonstrable skills, etc.
  • Keep things simple. If an assignment or graded activity can be measured by pass/fail, consider using a simplified grading scale.
  • Set strict re-grading rules and stick to them. Including a clear policy on changing grades, or disputes will mitigate learner grade inquiries.
  • The importance of meeting deadlines, on-time and complete submissions of course work, is emphasized in the grading policies.
  • Create a handbook of grading policies and rubrics that learners can download and keep on hand while they are working on assignments/projects.
  • If you set up peer-reviewed graded work, be sure to provide establish a grading system and/or rubric specifically for the learners, and ask for feedback on how well they think the system and/or rubric is working.
    • For group projects, include a team reporting tool with a grading rubric for learners to provide feedback on how other learners fulfilled their roles on the team.
  • Explicitly state in the Course Expectations/Evaluation materials that a learner can not not choose to not engage or complete (i.e., fail) any one aspect, or component of the course, and still pass the course.
  • Classroom Management for Online Courses.

Examples

Supporting Academic Honesty

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

These Pedagogical Practices from TOPR explore methods and approaches to providing clear grading guidelines and rubrics for learners in support of learner success in online courses.

Create a Course Contract Assignment to Help Students Learn about Course Policies
It is very important to design an online course in a way that supports students to get started on the right foot (Chico, 2009). When a student starts an online course, they read the essential course information (syllabus, course expectations, instructor introduction) and learn about the course policies and expectations. Otherwise, miscommunications can happen due to a lack of understanding of the essential course information. (Read more …)
Use Rubrics to Evaluate Students’ Online Discussions
While faculty might hope that students can “just discuss” a topic online with little or no support, Beckett, Amaro‐Jiménez, and Beckett (2010) found that “even doctoral students may need explicit grading instructions, and therefore provide rubrics and sample responses while not stifling creativity” (p. 331). Rubrics provide clear expectations for students regarding how an assignment, that can otherwise be subjective, will be graded. (Read more …)
Use Syllabus Quiz to Familiarize Students with Course Policies and Expectations
In the online environment, it is important to provide clear expectations, policies, and grading expectations and to ensure that students are familiar with these policies and expectations (California State University, Chico, 2014). You may have a very detailed syllabus. However, students may not carefully read all of these details. (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

Karimbux, N. Y. (2013). Knowing Where We’re Going in Assessment. Journal of Dental Education, 77(12), 1555.
Yalcin, A., & Kaw, A. (2011). Do Homework Grading Policies Affect Student Learning? International Journal of Engineering Education, 27(6), 1333-1342.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #43RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #43RSI Dashboard illustration

Course provides learners with opportunities in course interactions to share resources and inject knowledge from diverse sources of information with guidance and/or standards from the instructor.

Review These Explanations

Teaching presence is the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the purpose of realizing personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2000).

Inviting learners to reach out beyond a textbook or assigned readings empowers them to understand a wider scope of research and perspectives. When exposed to different information sources, learners have the opportunity to discern the integrity of those sources and (possibly) share those perceptions with each other.

By inviting learners to share resources and add to bring in outside knowledge involves higher order thinking skills, and requires analysis, reflection, and synthesis. Gioia (1987) recommends encouraging learners to become active participants in the classroom by:

  • Providing recapitulations and summaries;
  • Make observations that integrate concepts and discussions;
  • Citing relevant personal examples;
  • Asking key questions that lead to revealing discussions;
  • Engaging in devil’s advocacy; and
  • Disagreeing with the instructor in ways that promote further exploration of the issue.

These approaches, although originally posited for the traditional classroom, translate well into the online space.

Gioia (1987) also talks about giving learners time to think. In the online space, this translates into proving ample opportunities for reflection and guidance on how to bring that reflection back into online discussions, learning activities, and assignments.

References:

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.

Gioia, D. A. (1987). Contribution! Not participation in the OB classroom. Journal of Management Education, 11, 15-19.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSI

RSI Dashboard illustration Online courses support regular and substantive interaction by by making it clear how and when they will provide feedback on student contributions in course interactions. Instructors establish this in the design of the course by providing explicit instructions and expectations, rubrics, models/examples, opportunities for peer evaluation and self assessment, and details on how they will provide feedback, and evaluate work. Directing learners to ask questions and interact with the instructor about these activities, to get help or clarifications, such as in an online discussion forum, further supports RSI, and is a good general practice. Scheduling a specific instructor-facilitated discussion on these activities, or to review work, assessment, or feedback demonstrates compliance with RSI.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Take a “three before me” approach requiring that all learners check at least three outside resources before approaching you to answer a question or posting in the discussion forum (and citing those resources). Resources can include other classmates!
  • Require that learners cite outside resources to support their discussion forum posts.
  • Do a “think, pair, share” activity, where learners review a problem on their own, work together to solve a problem, then report their resolution or findings with the rest of the class.
  • Assign a different learner each module to be the discussion forum scribe, and to write up a synthesized version of the conversation, along with appropriate citations to share back with the class.
  • Use blogs as a space for learners to share and comment on current events, news, or trends related to course content.
  • Have learners submit an annotated bibliography as part of a group project, then post them in the course for review.

Examples

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

These Pedagogical Practices from TOPR explore methods and approaches to providing opportunities for learners to contribute new knowledge and related information from diverse sources in online courses.

Implement Tuning Protocol to Improve Online Discussion Peer Replies and Assignment Quality
Asynchronous discussions are often utilized in online courses and while they can be effective toward creating and sustaining a learning community, they are not effective if not optimally designed. It can sometimes be difficult for students to converse in a way in which knowledge is co-constructed, and a way in which students can constructively critique each other in order to improve assignments. (Read more …)
Student Generated Blogs for Journals and Reflection
UCF education professor Debbie Kirkley uses student blogs to fulfill the requirement of students to keep a journal throughout the semester to reflect on course projects and their experiences. (Read more …)
Use Google Educational Apps to Foster Online Collaborations
In the 21st century modern education is becoming increasingly complex due to the technological environment within which it operates. This new environment offers exciting new possibilities but also raises challenges. (Read more …)
Use Three-Before-Me as a Communication Strategy
The concept of “Three Before Me” pushes the responsibility of locating an answer to commonly asked questions to the student. The student must prove to the professor that he/she has contacted three different sources prior to contacting the professor. (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

Gao, F., Zhang, T., & Franklin, T. (n.d). Designing asynchronous online discussion environments: Recent progress and possible future directions. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(3), 469-483.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #41RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #41RSI Dashboard illustration

Course provides activities intended to build a sense of class community, support open communication, promote regular and substantive interaction, and establish trust (e.g., ice-breaking activities, Course Bulletin Board, planned Office Hours, and dedicated discussion forums).

Review These Explanations

Building a sense of community mitigates the solitude and isolation reported by online learners (Bibeau, 2001). Courses that promote class community help learning occur “in a social context” (Dewey) and mitigate the perception of a correspondence course.

Activities that build class community early on in the course typically fall into three categories:

  • Social activities which focus on self-expression.
  • Cognitive activities which focus on academic and professional goals.
  • “Getting Started” activities which familiarize learners with course materials and technology.

Each of these types of activities foster social presence, promote learner engagement and open up avenues for communication.

Social presence involves affective expression, open communication, and group cohesion. Each of these factors promote learner engagement in an online course (Annand, 2011). Affective expression manifests through the sense of belonging that learners feel after getting to know each other and form impressions in an online course. Open communication enables learners to feel comfortable participating in online conversations, and interacting with other learners. Group cohesion comes into play when learners feel comfortable disagreeing and challenging each other, and respecting opposing views while collaborating on course work (Rourke, et al., 1999).

Look for answers to these questions when developing these types of community activities:

  • Is the activity non-threatening?
  • Is it learner focused (social)?
  • It is content focused (cognitive)?
  • Does it require learners to read and respond to each other?
  • Does it encourage learners to find something in common with other learners?
  • Does it require learners to be reflective?

References:

Bibeau, S. (2001). Social Presence, Isolation, and Connectedness in Online Teaching and Learning: From the Literature to Real Life. The Journal of Instruction Delivery Systems, 15, 35-39.

Croft, N., Dalton, A. & Grant, M., (2010) Overcoming Isolation in Distance Learning: Building a Learning Community through Time and Space, Journal for Education in the Built Environment, 5:1, 27-64.

Annand, D. (2011). Social Presence within the Community of Inquiry Framework. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL), 12(5).

Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York: Collier Books.

Rourke, L., Anderson, T. Garrison, D. R., & Archer, W. (1999). Assessing social presence in asynchronous, text-based computer conferencing. Journal of Distance Education, 14(3), 51-70.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSI

RSI Dashboard illustration Online courses support regular and substantive interaction by building trust, and a strong sense of online class community. While online class community and trust can be cultivated and built with the instructor and between learners in an online course in various ways, the online instructor sets the tone and gets the course off to a good start by designing online course activities and spaces that are intended to build and grow a sense of class community among all course participants, establishing expectations for open communications, and specific activities and opportunities aimed at building trust. The course is designed intentionally with clear expectations and designated areas for specific activities, interactions, and communications, and their intended purposes are clear, including who is meant to use them, and how and when they are to be used. Expectations on how the instructor will interact, guide, and provide feedback are made clear, as well as those expectations for interaction between learners. The design of the course and the instructor, as a member of the online class community, building online community and trust through regular, substantive, scheduled and predictable course facilitation, community interaction, engagement, and open communications. Directing learners to ask questions and interact with the instructor, and others in the course, can help the learner develop a sense of class community and trust, which further supports RSI, and is a good general practice. Scheduling a specific instructor-facilitated discussion on course topics, or to provide clarification, help, or feedback demonstrates compliance with RSI.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

Examples

  • Example Ice-Breaking activities.
  • Create an Ask the Professor discussion forum, associated with course modules, topics, activities to promote direct access to the instructor.
  • Create an Ask a Question discussion forum, associated with course modules, topics, activities to provide a dedicated consistent area in the course for learners to ask questions and get clarifications and help.
  • Create a course Hallway discussion forum, a course Bulletin Board, Coffee Shop, Class Community area, or virtual meeting/chat space where learners (and the instructor) can meet informally to chat about course-related (or other) topics. This establishes a metaphorical community space “outside” the “classroom,” where learners can “stop you in the hallway” to chat (asynchronous, or synchronous).
  • Create a scheduled weekly informal Open House forum (asynchronous, or synchronous) for learners to stop by for extra help, questions, or clarifications, or just to chat.
  • Create way for learners to sign up for scheduled more formal “Office Hours” with you for extra help, questions, or clarifications, or just to chat.
  • Create an instructor profile that models the information you would like your learners to share in order to represent themselves in the course.
    • Ask learners to update and add details to their profile pages in the LMS, and be sure that you do the same.
    • Have learners create an avatar that represents them in some way, (their likes/dislikes hobbies, or interests.)

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

This Pedagogical Practice from TOPR explores methods and approaches to supporting social presence and creating a welcoming learning environment to support learner success in online courses.

Use Digital Posters for Online Community Introductions
A sense of community within a course can increase student engagement, persistence, and performance (Rovai, 2002; Vesely, Bloom, & Sherlock, 2007). In asynchronous teaching, creating community can be challenging. Instructors can facilitate a sense of community by providing ways for students to introduce themselves to each other (Woods & Ebersole, 2003). (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

Jones, P., Naugle, K., & Kolloff, M. (2008). Teacher presence: Using introductory videos in hybrid and online courses. Learning Solutions.
McIntyre, C. (2004). Shared Online and Face-to-Face Pedagogies: Crossing the Brick-and-Click Divide. Educational Technology, 44(1), 61-63.
Russo, T. C., & Campbell, S. W. (2004). Perceptions of mediated presence in an asynchronous online course: Interplay of communication behaviors and medium. Distance Education, 25(2), 215 – 232.
Widmeyer, W. N. & Loy, J. W. (1988). When you’re hot, you’re hot! Warm-cold effects in first impressions of persons and teaching effectiveness. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(1), 118-121.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #40RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #40RSI Dashboard illustration

Learners have an opportunity to get to know the instructor.

Review These Explanations

Social presence is the ability of learners to project their personal characteristics into the community of inquiry, thereby presenting themselves as ‘real people.’ (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001).

Social presence relies on establishing a welcoming online learning space, as well as acknowledging each individual learner as a valued member of the learning community.

When learners understand the background of their instructor, the “distance” between instructor/learners is mitigated. The tone and approach of the instructor in regard to self-introduction will serve as a model for learners. It is important that learners feel the instructor is easily accessible, and willing to communicate consistently throughout the course.

Instructors who share personal narratives make a lasting impression on online learners (Aragon, 2003). These personal narratives humanize the instructor, and provide credibility and history to support instructor expertise.

References:

Aragon, S. R. (2003). Creating Social Presence in Online Environments. New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education, (100), 57-68.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSI

RSI Dashboard illustration In well-designed online courses, this standard can support regular and substantive interaction by building trust, and a strong sense of online class community. Getting to know instructor (as well as the other classmates) is a first step in building trust and an online class community where learners are prepared and ready to learn. Instructors set this tone and climate at the start of an online course by initially connecting with the learners and providing opportunities for course participants to engage and interact on a social and human level. By allowing learners to have the opportunity to get to know the instructor in ways that are comfortable and appropriate for their discipline and personality, instructors can engage and model behaviors and interactions that will lead to a strong sense of online class community and trust among all course participants. Introduction, ice-breaking activities and discussions that include some appropriate interactions and self disclosures can be effectively designed to support the goals of this standard and RSI. For example, instructors can share their own personal academic and professional journey as it relates to the course topic. Directing learners to ask questions and interact with the instructor can help the learner learn more about the instructor and their expectations, and demonstrates aspects of instructor role, identity, discipline, and the profession establishing community and trust, which further supports RSI, and is a good general practice. Scheduling a specific instructor-facilitated discussion on course topics, or to provide clarification, help, or feedback demonstrates compliance with RSI.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

Examples

  • Create an instructor profile/contact, content, images/photos, announcements, instructions for activities with personal “voice” to establish the instructor’s social presence and credibility in the course.
    • Create an “All About Me” instructor welcome page with links to your professional highlights and personal interests.
  • Example Ice-Breaking activities.
  • Provide an instructor introductory video (with captioning and accompanying script for ADA compliance) is a wonderful way for learners to get to know the instructor. Create short, informal videos (with captions);

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

These Pedagogical Practice from TOPR explore methods and approaches to creating pathways where learners have opportunities to get to know the instructor in online courses.

Increasing Participation and Engagement in Student Introduction Posts Through Narrative
It can be difficult for students to connect with each other and with instructors in web-based courses. A number of strategies, design-decisions, and activities can be used to alleviate this issue (Vonderwell, 2003). One commonly used activity is the introduction post – the digital correlate of the in-class introduction. (Read more …)
Reach More Students with Targeted Office Hours
One of the biggest challenges instructors face with large class sizes is connecting with students individually. Often students will make use of office hours for that personal connection, but there are only so many hours in the day and teaching online adds another layer of complexity. (Read more …)
Welcome Messages
A welcome message to students before the course begins is an important step in establishing your online persona (Bellafiore, 2007; Gibson and Blackwell, 2005; Mensch and Ali, 2007; and Phillips, 2011). The purpose of this communication is to welcome the students, establish a comfortable class environment, introduce the class syllabus, schedule, protocols, and to/or establish a weekly routine. (Read more …)
Post an introduction video to welcome students to your course.
Creating social presence in an online course starts with the instructor. When students are provided the opportunity to get to know the instructor prior to the start of the class through a welcome video message, they are able to put a face with a name (Aragon, 2003), are more likely to participate in class (McLellan, 1999), and tend to enjoy the online learning experience more (Aragon, 2003). Though an introduction video is only the starting place for social presence, it provides students with a preview to more effective social presence strategies such as collaborative learning and course facilitation (Oyarzun, Barreto, & Conklin, 2018). (Read more…)

Explore Related Resources

Hong, W. (2008). 8 Ways to Increase Social Presence in Online Teaching. Online Classroom, 1-5.
Hong, W. (February 2010) Retrieved from 8 Ways to Increase Social Presence in Online Teaching. Faculty Focus.
Orlando, J. (2015). Methods for Welcoming Students to Your Course. Online Classroom, 15(5), 7-8.
Ryman, S., Burrell, L., Hardham, G., Richardson, B., & Ross, J. (2009). Creating and Sustaining Online Learning Communities: Designing for Transformative Learning. International Journal of Pedagogies & Learning, 5(3), 32-45.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #39RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #39RSI Dashboard illustration

Expectations for all course interactions (instructor to student, student to student, student to instructor) are clearly stated and modeled in all course interaction/communication channels.

Review These Explanations

Expectations for assignments, class participation, proctoring, due dates, group work, collaboration, and attendance requirements should be clearly articulated and easy to find and understand. Adult learners expect and benefit from understanding the parameters and rationale of the learning activities in a course up front.

Outlining clear expectations for timing and frequency of interactions, activities, and assignments, as well as what type of standards should be upheld when working on particular activities, helps learners to be successful and reduces frustration caused by ambiguity. For blended courses, provide clear guidelines for synchronous (in-class) and asynchronous (online) participation.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSI

RSI Dashboard illustrationThis standard is the spirit of RSI. In well-designed online courses, expectations and strategies for regular and substantive instructor-student interactions are clearly stated and modeled in all course interaction/communication channels. The course information, overview, and syllabus materials set the expectations for the course interactions and communications, and make explicit who, what, how, when, where, and how often course interactions will take place. These expectations will provide details on how the online class community will function as a group and individually. Learner questions are anticipated by the instructor and addressed in Course Expectations documentation, discussion forums designed for these purposes, asynchronous activities (or synchronous options) for additional help and questions, and to create and support a common understanding across all course participants. Specific Instructor Communication Plans can be included in Course Expectations, or Course Information/Syllabus materials:

As your instructor, I plan to interact and engage with each of you on a regular basis throughout the course to support your learning by providing direct instruction via online lectures or overviews of various topics, responding to your questions, grading or providing feedback on your submitted coursework, posting weekly announcements, and engaging in the course discussion areas regarding academic course content whenever appropriate.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Clearly outline the expectations for course interactions, collaborations, assignments, activities, and discussion participation, for example, the timing and number of contributions.
    • Provide information on timing and frequency of contributions, models/examples are provided, roles are explained, expectations for community standards are explained.
  • Provide detailed information on how learner participation will be assessed, evaluated/graded.
    • Include instructions about any specific expectations if any, e.g., spelling and grammar expectations.
    • Specify and give examples of how learners should title their discussion posts. Discussion post subject lines give learners an opportunity to practice summarizing and clear communication, skills that are important in the professional world. It also helps other learners find their posts more easily because the content is summarized in the subject line.
  • Things to consider in revising your syllabus for an online course.
  • Instructor sets course expectations and tone, and provides models for the student, e.g., preferred pronouns/names and prefixes of address, formality of writing, expectations in writing communications, formality and informality in interactions, and tolerances and expectations.
  • Reference netiquette info and model respect in discussions.

Rubrics

Examples

  • Example Course Information/Syllabus statement: “As your instructor, I plan to interact and engage with each of you on a regular basis throughout the course to support your learning by providing direct instruction via online lectures or overviews of various topics, responding to your questions, grading or providing feedback on your submitted coursework, posting weekly announcements, and engaging in the course discussion areas regarding academic course content whenever appropriate.”
  • Example Course Information/Syllabus materials.
  • Example Course Expectations.

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

This Pedagogical Practice from TOPR explores methods and approaches to establishing clear expectations in online discussions to benefit learner success.

Setting Discussion Expectations
Selecting an effective discussion topic is important, but does not guarantee an interactive, fruitful discussion. It is crucial for instructor to set the stage and establish clear expectations for how learners should participate in the discussion. (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

Kelly, R. (2012). Managing Controversy in the Online Classroom. Online Classroom, 12(3), 2-3.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #38RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #38RSI Dashboard illustration

Regular and substantive instructor-to-student expectations, and predictable/scheduled interactions and feedback, are present, appropriate for the course length and structure, and are easy to find.

Review These Explanations

By setting learner expectations upfront, instructors avoid having a lot of questions asked in course Ask a Question discussion areas, or via email, thus improving course management efficiency, and reducing time spent on extra tasks. Learners will also experience less frustration if they know what to expect.

Establishing expectations, including instructor/learner and learner/learner interaction is important for keeping learners on track and for prioritizing responsibilities to help manage instructor and learner workload (Ladyshwesky, 2013).

Detailed interaction guidelines should be posted in the Course Information/Syllabus materials. These guidelines define course interaction protocol and set expectations on the frequency, response time, and quality of interactions expected from both instructors and learners.

References:

Ladyshewsky, R. (2013). Instructor Presence in Online Courses and Student Satisfaction. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, 7(1), 1-23.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSI

RSI Dashboard illustrationThis standard is the letter of RSI. In well-designed online courses, expectations and strategies for regular and substantive instructor-student interactions are described in the syllabus, present in the course design, appropriate for the course length and structure, and are easy to find. For example, the course will provide information on expectations for:

  • Timely and individualized feedback on learner work.
  • Instructor-facilitated online discussions, or chat.
  • Regularly scheduled review/help sessions, tutorials, or office hours; mid-course, or end of course student feedback surveys/polls.
  • Individualized emails or other instructor-initiated individual or group communications.
  • Weekly announcements (impromptu, or scheduled/automated) covering aspects of the course, or providing guidance, encouragement, feedback, etc.

Online courses can support RSI by including communication plans for regular, predictable, and substantive instructor-to-learner interaction, and clearly stated expectations for timely and regular feedback from the instructor. Directing learners to ask questions and interact with the instructor about course content, expectations, seeking help, and feedback, such as in an online discussion forum, further supports RSI, and is a good general practice. Scheduling a specific instructor-facilitated discussion on course topics, or to provide or to provide clarification, help, or feedback demonstrates compliance with RSI.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions/Resources

  • Create a “What You Can Expect from Me” video and include it in the course Welcome and Getting Started activities. Let learners know early in the course what they can expect from you, and what you expect from them.
  • Let learners know if you will be traveling, or unavailable at any time during the term.
  • Let learners know exactly how long it will take for you to grade, or to provide feedback on their work, including work that has been submitted late.
  • Notify learners if there will be any delay in feedback, including assignments and grades.
  • Acknowledge any delayed feedback you give. You would want the same from your learners!
  • Create an early assignment in the course to give learners the opportunity to practice using the course communication tools, trouble shoot problems, and create a reliable communication loop.
    • Ask students to respond in an assignment to confirm that learners have seen feedback, announcement, or instruction.
  • See SUNY Online RSI Resources.
  • Synchronous Interaction.
  • Asynchronous Interaction & Content Presentation.

Teaching Presence & Interaction

  • Use Weekly Announcements/Email/Messages (impromptu, or scheduled/automated)  to summarize assignments/interactions, explain assignments, and provide reminders/encouragements.
  • Send periodic class and individual check-in communications via email or course messages.
  • Send a midterm encouragement of some kind via email, video, or announcement, for the class and/or individual.
  • Provide an initial communications plan with contact information and preferred methods for course communications,
    • Provide details regarding how, when, and where instructors will provide extra help, answer questions, respond to emails, and provide feedback on assignments
    • Provide details regarding Virtual Office hours (schedule, calendar, how to book a time).
  • Document and communicate expectations regarding instructor response time, for communications, feedback, return assignments/assessments, questions, grades.
  • Provide feedback, class / individual, video, email, audio.
  • Design and engage in instructor-facilitated discussions and interactions on course concepts, content, activities, assignments, etc.
  • Design and guide interactions and collaborations between learners.

Built in to the Course Template/Design

  • Provide a Course Calendar/Schedule – that lists e.g., synchronous or asynchronous office hours, extra help sessions.
  • Provide Expectations for contact, feedback, and interaction are clear and findable.
  • Create an Ask the Professor discussion forum, associated with course modules, topics, activities.
  • Create an Ask a Question discussion forum, associated with course modules, topics, activities.
  • Produce/provide videos/audio content presentations/lectures with facilitated online discussion for interaction on course concepts with the instructor.
  • Develop and facilitate substantive online course content discussions: demonstrated by percentage of the grade.
  • Design and facilitate course activities, assignments, and assessments with instructor interaction, feedback, summaries/discussion. and or videos/audio.
  • Collect learner feedback for improvements in design/interaction in course for improvements, (not course evaluation). 

Explore Related Resources

It is widely recognized that good teaching includes instructor-student feedback, and in online courses, feedback takes a variety of forms, including both synchronous and asynchronous interactions. To understand better the types and frequency of instructor-student feedback interactions, this case study used document analysis to examine feedback in an online course over a full semester.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #31RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #31RSI Dashboard illustration

Course provides activities that emulate real world applications of the discipline, such as experiential learning, case studies, and problem-based activities.

Review These Explanations

Relevance is central to adult learning. (Knowles, 1984). When the adult learner can apply a learning activity to practical value beyond the duration of the course, relevance is established between the stated learning objective, the learning activity, and the assessment of that activity.

Experiential learning, case studies, and problem-based activities are designed to immerse learners in real world scenarios, with the goal of having learners build on their existing knowledge and skills to analyze specific problems and find solutions. These activities engage learners by having them establish what they know and don’t know, work together to come up with real-world solutions, share those solutions, and review possible results.

According to Kolb (1984), experiential learning relies on four elements:

  • Experience;
  • Critical reflection;
  • Abstract conceptualization; and
  • Active experimentation in a new situation.

Through experience, online learners are led to make observations and reflections. From there, abstract concepts are explored through critical reflection, which learners can then actively test and evaluate. This process engages the learners in scaffolding what they already know, and creating new knowledge.

References:

Knowles, M. (1984). The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species (3rd Ed.). Houston: Gulf Publishing.

Kolb, D. A., (1984), Experiential Learning: Experience as a Source of Learning and Development, Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall.

Louis Deslauriers, Logan S McCarty, Kelly Miller, Kristina Callaghan, and Greg Kestin. 2019. Measuring actual learning versus feeling of learning in response to being actively engaged in the classroom. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116, 39, Pp. 19251–19257.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSI

Activities that are instructor-guided, or instructor facilitated, where the instructor interacts directly with online learners, and on a scheduled and predictable basis are how regular and substantive interactions  are expressed in an online course. The role of the instructor is active and involved (e.g., a consistent instructor presence is visible throughout the design of the course, and it is clear that the instructor is an attentive, engaged participant in course interactions. RSI can be designed into an online course by:

  • Designing activities where the instructor plays an active role.
  • Answering questions about an activity.
  • Provide guidance during, provide feedback, and evaluation after an activity that is instructor-facilitated.
  • Including optional synchronous interactions.
  • Providing instructor-created video content.
  • Practicum/studio/lab/hand’s-on experiences: An opportunity is provided to interact with the course preceptor, or instructor on goals of the practicum activity, and the opportunities for self-assessment and feedback are provided based on the practicum objectives/goals.

Direct interaction with the instructor around these types of course activities, such as guiding, asking questions, and providing feedback to deepen learning and understanding in an online discussion forum, for example, further supports RSI, and is a good general practice. Scheduling specific instructor-facilitated course discussions/interactions, question and answer, or help and feedback sessions (group or individual) course content and activities demonstrates compliance with RSI.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Instructor presence in these types of online course activities (real-world, hand’s on, problems, cases, experiences) helps learners to develop their own individual understanding of how to apply the course content in ways that are relevant and important beyond the course context.
  • Create scenario-based discussion forums for learners to interact in. Establish and assign roles for learners within those scenarios.
  • Use mini-cases as pre-lab work where learners can see what might go wrong before they are actually immersed in an online lab.
  • Have learners create and facilitate course related scenarios.
  • Have learners turn in reflective essays along with applied learning activities to measure critical thinking and reflection stages of the process.
  • Assign “offline” activities to learners, and have the learners “debrief” in the online environment.
  • Require foreign language learners to interact with native speakers (online) and summarize their experiences.
  • Have learners document their real-world experiences through digital storytelling tools.
  • Explore MERLOT for case studies that you can integrated into your course.

Resources

Expzore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

These Pedagogical Practices from TOPR explore methods and approaches that incorporate real-world applications and promote experiential and problem-based learning in online courses to benefit learner success.

Anchored Instruction
Anchored instruction is the process of presenting instruction in the context of an authentic environment with problems or issues which learners must resolve. The problems or issues which are presented to learners in the authentic environment are “anchors” which link learning of content and skills to authentic tasks and activities in which the learning must used. (Read more …)
Assign Collaborative Experiential Learning While Partnering With Clients
While there is sometimes resistance to group collaborations in online learning, (Smith et al., 2011, p 121) adding a collaborative experiential learning component can more deeply engage students AND provide them the opportunity to develop an array of competencies including “coordinating across time zones and geographic locations, developing computer skills, enhancing internet search skills, and interacting with individuals from diverse backgrounds” (Johnson, 2013, p 34). (Read more …)
Engage Adult Learners with Course-Long Role Play
Role playing in the context of educational simulations has been cited as a particularly engaging strategy for online courses (Ausburn, 2004; Bender, 2005; Cornelius, Gordon, and Ackland, 2011; Lytle, Lytle, and Brophy, 2006; and Serby, 2011). Such role playing when conducted for an extended time period (e.g., for the duration of an academic term) in the context of as realistic as possible tasks may be particularly engaging for adult learners (Ausburn, 2004 and Ausburn, 2004). (Read more …)
Problem-Based Learning
Problem-Based Learning is an instructional strategy in which students learn the subject matter of a course and the related skills by solving real-world problems and reflecting on their experiences of solving the problem/s. In Problem-Based Learning, students may be given a specific course-related problem to solve or they may be provided with a selection of related problems from which they can choose. (Read more …)
Use Online Debates to Enhance Classroom Engagement
A debate is a formal competition between two teams, usually with three members each, arguing a discussion statement known as “the moot”. Shaw (2012) believes that debates stimulate critical thinking and can be a highly effective way to actively engage students in research in the online classroom. Student-generated debate presentations can become a welcome change from the call and response format of the typical online discussion board interactions. (Read more …)
Use Pop Culture to Energize Online Discussions
Faculty want to get to know their students and they want to provide them with opportunities to get to know them and each other (Phillips 2008). So how can faculty foster increased student interaction and engagement with the material, with the faculty member, and with other students? (Read more …)
Using Mobile Apps to Facilitate Project-Based Learning
Project-based learning is a method of inquiry-based learning where students are required to develop an end product using their knowledge of a specific topic. In most cases, the product is directly applicable or usable in the real world. (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

Lee, S., Ngampornchai, A., Trail-Constant, T., Abril, A., & Srinivasan, S. (2016). Does a case-based online group project increase students’ satisfaction with interaction in online courses?. Active Learning In Higher Education, 17(3), 249-260.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.