Discover How to Become an Emotionally Intelligent Educator
July 05, 20200

"You cannot interact with students and be devoid of emotions." – Dr. Bruce A. Johnson

Emotions are present in every aspect of our communication, whether or not we are aware of the existence of it. For example, you are having an emotional reaction right now as you read this opening introduction.

You either feel a sense of connection to what you are reading, and want to continue, or you believe you already know enough about the subject and feel it would not be worth your time to continue.

When I refer to having emotions present with all communication, both written and spoken, it does not mean you are having an extreme emotional reaction. Rather it means you are reacting in a particular manner about what it is you are feeling or hearing, and you are...

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Discover Why Failure Is Essential for Learning and Growth
May 31, 20200

Students fear failure. It's not just a failing grade many students fear; it can be the fear of not receiving a perfect score each week for all required learning activities. I've worked with many doctoral learners who earn less than 100 points for their discussion posts in a previous week and believe they have failed. All they can focus on is the loss of points, even if it just six or eight points. The same holds true for written assignments. A less than perfect grade somehow indicates failure because "they have worked really hard", "put a lot of effort into the assignment", and "should be awarded full points". Some learners may believe I have somehow been excessively critical or nit-picking with my feedback, when it did not meet their expectations.

I attempt to change the...

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Online Teaching Best Practices for a New Normal in Higher Education
May 17, 20200

With little advance warning, and time to prepare, the field of higher education rapidly transformed this year and almost all classes had to move to a virtual learning environment. To the surprise of some instructors and students, it was discovered learning could actually occur within this environment and academic rigor be upheld in the same manner as traditional classes, that is once instructors were able to overcome the initial learning curve. Making the transition from face-to-face teaching to online teaching is not an easy one, until you've taught a few classes and developed a teaching style.

Then there are those instructors and students who have already been familiar with this type of learning platform and did not have an initial adjustment period. There are online schools...

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Maintain Excellence in Online Teaching While Addressing Learner Challenges
April 27, 20200

Welcome to the new normal, teaching adult students from a laptop or computer. Or at least this is what many instructors are beginning to experience. Yet there is a segment of higher education with those, like myself, who have already been providing transformative education via virtual classrooms for quite a long time.

Not only are we well-adjusted to this type of learning, we already know it is an effective method for teaching students, even while many instructors are just now making this discovery and attempting to adapt their teaching strategies.

What gave me a unique perspective of online teaching to begin with was my experience as an online learner. I earned a majority of my academic degrees from an online school, and this taught me the value of presence, interactions...

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Five Strategies That Will Inspire Your Students to Learn in a Virtual Classroom
April 11, 20200

The shift to virtual learning which occurred in 2020 may have changed higher education in a profound manner, even after the crisis that caused the transition to occur is finally resolved. Students who have never taken an online class now realize they can learn in this manner. Yet many educators who never taught in this environment understand teaching online is not easier than teaching in a traditional classroom. A lack of visual and verbal cues presents an immediate learning curve for anyone who is just starting to teach online. In addition, the learning management system alone cannot be relied upon as the reason why students succeed in this type of environment. However, virtual learning has already established a proven track record of meeting the needs of students.

One of the...

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April 3, 2020 Educator Resources Newsletter
April 03, 20200

If you have not received the Educator Resources newsletter this month, please enjoy the theme this month: The Power of Your Words as an Educator.

Below is an excerpt and a link to the entire newsletter.

The world is in the middle of a crisis, the likes of which most people have not experienced in their lifetime. The fear of an unknown "enemy" is perhaps more frightening than any previous threat. This crisis has caused almost all classes to move to an online platform, which means educators are no longer interacting with their learners face-to-face. While there are methods of directly connecting, such as virtual meeting rooms, the physical presence is absent. This makes the use of static words our primary form of communication, and one which must be carefully...

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Four Strategies Every Online Educator Needs for a Work-Life Balance
March 29, 20200

Online educators have been implementing the work-at-home model long before there was the 2020 crisis. Some referred to it as "teaching in your pajamas" – because of the nature of the job, which often meant for many, working a full-time position during the day while teaching as an adjunct during the evening hours. Those who are in a full-time position may still find themselves working during both daytime and evening hours, simply due to the needs of the learners and the requirements of classroom management. I've been in both roles over the past 15 years, and my ability to balance a professional and personal life has come about through time and practice.

While the roles may have a slight variation from one online school to the next, the requirements are generally the same. To be...

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6 Critical Best Practices for Online Teaching: Be Prepared
March 15, 20200

We live in an unprecedented time with higher education being disrupted, as traditional classes are being moved online, at least for the time being. Whether or not this will continue for any length of time remains to be seen. This has occurred at an interesting time for the field of distance learning as many of the for-profit schools have closed, and the growth of new online schools has slowed. The number of online schools growing is limited, and competition comes from traditional schools offering online classes.

With a move of traditional classes to an online platform, there is a challenge for many educators to adapt to a virtual environment. Those educators who teach in this environment already, such as myself, are already accustomed to creating a virtual presence. However,...

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Discover 5 Essential Learner-Centered Strategies For Online Instructors
March 01, 20200

Why do you aspire to teach, or continue to teach, online classes? This is a question I have been asking myself for over a decade now, and I use it as a means of self-reflection, to determine if I am growing and adapting as the needs of learners are changing. What I've found is the technology has certainly changed, and the tools within the classroom have also changed, but there are some basic learner needs that have remained unchanged. For example, learners need to know their online instructor is present and engaged in the class, and easily accessible. This should be a simple requirement to meet, and yet I know of many instructors who check into their classes only when needed, making their job a series of rote functions. Do you believe learners notice this disposition? You can be...

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Discover How to Engage Your Students in an Active Learning Process
February 05, 20200

Your students come to class or log onto an online platform and complete required tasks, which must mean to some degree they are interested in learning. Somehow, through class lectures or informative posts an educator has taken time to develop, these students will acquire knowledge they need, and through the activities designed to ensure they take the time to read and apply what has been read, they will meet the required outcomes. That's the plan when a course is designed and implemented.

But the reality is many students are going through the motions of repetitive, reactively responding to the course materials and activities they are required to complete. If it is a class discussion, their response may be based upon a world view held now, which is closely protected and rarely...

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