Do End of Course Evaluations Reflect Your Classroom Performance Accurately?
September 13, 20200

What is your belief about the end of course evaluation? Do you believe it accurately reflects your performance in the classroom? Do you live in fear of the outcome you'll receive, as to your standing with the school you teach for now? Do you focus on the potential outcome of the evaluation, and do everything you can to ensure your learners are satisfied with the course, even if it means becoming more lenient than you might naturally be?

Those of us teaching for online schools know the weight these evaluations hold for determination of the future of our positions. The online school I work for takes these evaluations very seriously, and yet, there is a holistic view taken and that means all factors of performance are weighed in. The reason why is there are typically only a few...

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Learn How to Become Visible and Accessible in a Virtual Classroom
August 15, 20200

Do you feel adequately prepared to teach as an online instructor? Are you easily accessible and available for your learners? Do learners perceive you as being visible and uniquely identifiable as their instructor?

One of the challenges higher education has faced recently is providing quality education via a virtual classroom environment, especially for classes not normally assigned to be taught remotely. Even for experienced online instructors, there are inherent challenges that are based upon the nature of working in this manner and will always be present, requiring dedication and time to address. One of the most pressing challenges is becoming a real person to learners, someone who is visible and available to address their needs, and more importantly, accessible when needed to...

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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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