Cover

Table of Contents

Cover

Table of Contents

Title page

Copyright page

Preface

The Authors

CHAPTER 1 Learning in an Online Environment

ENGAGED LEARNING IN THE ONLINE ENVIRONMENT

GUIDING LEARNERS TO ENGAGE ONLINE

APPROPRIATE ACTIVITIES FOR EACH PHASE

SUMMARY

Part ONE: Constructing Activities to Engage Online Learners

CHAPTER 2 Designing Online Engagement

ADAPTING CLASSROOM-BASED ACTIVITIES

MEETING THE NEEDS OF ONLINE LEARNERS

CHOOSING AN EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION TOOL

SUMMARY

CHAPTER 3 Measuring Online Engaged Learning

ANALYZING THE QUALITY OF CRITICAL THINKING

DISCUSSION ANALYSIS TOOLS

RUBRICS

TEAM ASSESSMENTS

REFLECTIVE SELF-ASSESSMENTS

SUMMARY

CHAPTER 4 Learning to Use Online Tools

BUILDING STUDENTS’ SKILLS IN USING THE NECESSARY TOOLS

Part TWO: Activities to Engage Online Learners

CHAPTER 5 Online Icebreakers

CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EFFECTIVE ICEBREAKER

CHAPTER 6 Peer Partnership and Team Activities

MOVING DYADS TO TEAMS

CHAPTER 7 Reflective Activities

CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EFFECTIVE REFLECTIVE ACTIVITY

CHAPTER 8 Authentic Activities

CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EFFECTIVE AUTHENTIC ACTIVITY

CHAPTER 9 Games and Simulations

CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EFFECTIVE GAME OR SIMULATION

CHAPTER 10 Learner-Led Activities

ACTIVITIES LED BY INDIVIDUALS VERSUS TEAMS

CONVEYING OUTCOMES

CHOOSING THE TYPE OF ACTIVITY

ADEQUATE ORIENTATION AND PLANNING TIME

WHAT DO LEARNERS THINK ABOUT LEARNER-LED ACTIVITIES?

EXAMPLES OF LEARNER-LED ACTIVITIES

References

Index

Title page

Preface

Experts in online learning have repeatedly written that both learners and instructors have new roles to fulfill in an online learning environment. A major challenge facing online educators is not only how to become better facilitators of knowledge acquisi­tion but also how to help learners become more self-directed and collaborative with peers than they might have had to be in traditional, predominantly lecture-based courses. How can an instructor energize a learning environment and empower learners to adopt responsibility for their own learning? How can this be done without verbal or physical communication cues in an environment where it is easy to hide from the instructor and peers?

While educators and learners in classroom-based courses have already discovered the benefits of an engaged learning approach to education, the power of engagement in online courses is yet to be fully realized. We define engaged learning as a collaborative learning process in which the instructor and learner are partners in building the knowledge base. The use of online interactive tools such as asynchronous discussion boards and synchronous chats by educators initially began about twenty years ago. The publication of strategies and guidelines concerning how to use online communication tools to build learning communities began with Harasim, Hiltz, Teles, and Turoff’s book Learning Networks (1996), which was followed a few years later by Palloff and Pratt’s Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace (1999), Salmon’s e-tivities (2002) and then our first edition of Engaging the Online Learner in 2004.

Why another book on the topic of online interaction and engagement? This book represents an alternative for online practitioners who are looking for new ideas to enhance their online instruction, providing another frame­work to consider when designing and implementing online interaction. The proposed framework helps instructors guide learners in the development of skills needed to engage with the content and with one another online without the instructor being the primary initiator of knowledge generation and interaction. We perceived a need for such a framework in our own work as online instructors and in various workshops we conducted with other online instructors. All of us seemed to be seeking methods to improve learner interaction online. Through our experiences it became clear that we could not assume that learners knew how to interact online and how to become more responsible for their online learning. We could not become “guides on the side” without learners becoming more involved as knowledge generators and cofacilitators of the course. The Phases of Engagement framework was developed to help resolve these issues.

While the framework will be of help in explaining how to ease learners into their new role, the strength of this book lies in the numerous examples of activities provided by experienced online instructors across the nation. These activities illustrate various ways in which engaged learning can be promoted in an online environment. While there are many elements that contribute to a successful online course, we have chosen to focus solely on activities because many courses are moving from an instructor-centered, lecture-based focus to a collaborative, learner-centered focus, and the architects of online courses need ideas on how to make this shift occur smoothly.

We do not intend to delve deeply into the theory of engaged learning. Rather, we seek to provide a means to apply that theory in the online environment through various types of activities as represented by the work of others who have successfully infused principles of engagement into their online courses.

The intended audience of the book is practitioners who are relatively new to the online learning environment or who are dealing with learners who are relatively new to online coursework. We also hope this book will be helpful to experienced online practitioners who are seeking inspiration for their established online activities.

OVERVIEW OF THE CONTENTS

The book consists of two parts. Part One provides a basic framework with which to organize activities so that engagement is introduced into the online environment and learned by community members in phases. Chapter One provides an overview of the components necessary for engaged learning as well as a framework for building the trust and interdependence needed for learners to interact and learn their new role in an engaged online environment. Chapter Two discusses how to convert your classroom activities to an online environment and how to choose an effective online communication tool. Chapter Three addresses how to assess the learning that occurs as a result of collaborative activities. Interactivity may be high in an online learning environment, but what was actually learned may not be immediately apparent. This chapter provides guidelines for developing assessments for the types of activities discussed in this book.

Part Two presents activities that can be used to promote engagement among online learners on a phase-by-phase basis. Use them as they are or adapt them to more closely fit your subject matter. Chapters Four through Ten describe specific types of activities keyed to each phase of engagement and provide several examples of each type. Each activity contains the title and the name of the instructor who tested the activity in an online environment and submitted it for inclusion in the book. Chapter Four focuses on how to help learners learn to use online tools. Chapter Five provides examples of online icebreakers. Chapter Six discusses building peer interaction through peer partnerships and team activities. In Chapter Seven, the use of reflective activities is the focus. Chapter Eight provides examples of authentic activities. Chapter Nine focuses on games and simulations. Chapter Ten discusses learner-led activities.

UPDATES

This revised edition includes updated references, additional notes on the use of the activities, and the implications of new technology tools. We believe the original activities are still relevant and therefore remain intact. These activities are also useful in a blended learning environment, which has become more prevalent since this book was first published. New activities will be presented in an upcoming book.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This book presents not only our ideas but those of numerous faculty across the United States who have creatively and diligently worked to engage online learners. We salute the faculty members who volunteered their activities for use in this book. It has indeed been a community endeavor, and we are deeply indebted to each contributor.

A special thanks goes to Bill Draves and the LERN organization for helping us to reach faculty nationwide. We are particularly grateful to Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt, who inspired us and encouraged us. Without them, this book would not have come to fruition. Our gratitude also goes to Rhonda Robinson and Sharon Smaldino for their mentorship, to Belle Cowden for her contribution to the development of the phases of engagement and to the director and staff of the Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning in Madison, Wisconsin, who provided the environment in which this book was conceived and nurtured. Our deep appreciation also goes to David Brightman, Cathy Mallon, and Erin Null, our editors at Jossey-Bass.

And to the most important people in our lives, our families, we express our deepest gratitude—to Larry and Alec Conrad for their understanding, patience and abiding belief, and to Al Donaldson for his encouragement, love, and shared laughter.

AN INVITATION

Please let us know how you use the activities in this book. Also, if you have an activity that you would like to share in future editions, please contact Rita at rconrad@nc.rr.com or Ana at ana.donaldson@cfu.net. We look forward to hearing from you.

Rita-Marie Conrad
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

J. Ana Donaldson
Cedar Falls, Iowa

The Authors

Rita-Marie Conrad has been teaching, designing and consulting about online courses for nearly two decades. She was the head of online instructional development and an online faculty member in the School of Information Studies at Florida State University. She also assisted in the development of two master’s programs in Instructional Systems in the FSU College of Education and was an online faculty member for those programs as well. Conrad consults on the design, implementation, and evaluation of online courses, and provides training to community college and university faculty. She is a frequent presenter on the topic of online instruction at various national forums such as the Learning Resources Network (LERN) and the Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning. Conrad has also taught online courses for Walden University, Fielding Graduate Institute, Capella University, and Nova Southeastern University. She is coauthor of the Faculty Guide to Moving Teaching and Learning to the Web, The Online Teaching Survival Guide, and Assessing Learners Online.

Conrad has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in educational media and computers from Arizona State Uni­versity. She holds a Ph.D. in instructional systems from Florida State University.

J. Ana Donaldson retired as an associate professor of instructional technology from the University of Northern Iowa. She continues her love of teaching online by working part time as a contributing faculty member for Walden University. She also provides instructional design and program evaluation consulting. For many years, she has presented workshops on how to effectively use technology to apply the principles of engaged learning in the classroom and online.

Besides her years of classroom experience in creating Web-supported learning environments, Donaldson is a published author, keynote speaker, and international presenter. She has presented at conferences sponsored by the International Visual Literacy Association, the University of Wisconsin, the Association for Educational Communication and Technology, and the International Conference on Education Research on a variety of engaged learning topics.

Donaldson received a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in instructional technology from Northern Illinois University. She holds an Ed.D. in instructional technology from Northern Illinois University. She has been elected the 2011–2012 AECT (Association for Educational Communication and Technology) president.