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NORTHCENTRAL UNIVERSITY ASSIGNMENT COVER SHEET

Learner: Barbara Andrine Koenig

EL7004

Dr. Glen Gatin

The Online Learner

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I want to thank you for your comments on the activities. The reflection opportunities allowed me to push myself to go out of my boundaries and experiment with valuable technologies that I had not interacted before. When I was uploading the pages, I could really see the improvement in the technical writing and research techniques. I was talking to my father and told him that you were the first person to push me so far and call me on my stuff, and I appreciate that. I wish you the best and thank you again, Barbara In two separate files, submit the following: 1. Guide Prepare an all-encompassing guide designed for faculty who are about to teach in a distance education program. Include all the elements that you feel are critical for the faculty to understand before they commit to such a program. Be sure to include information on what faculty should include as an introduction for students. The completed project may take the form of a newsletter (in pdf format), PowerPoint presentation, website (live site, include the URL), blog (include the URL), or podcast (include the URL). If you wish to present your guide in another format, please discuss this with the mentor for this course. 2. Reflection Write a reflective essay that supports and explains your reasoning for selecting these particular elements for your guide. Support your reasoning for their inclusion. Include, as well, a brief reflection on your experience of designing the guide, using your selected format. Why did you select this format? What is it about this format that is effective?

KoenigBEL7003-8 Faculty Use Only <Faculty comments here>

<Faculty Name>

<Grade Earned>

<Writing Score> <Date Graded>

Activity 8 Part II:

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Reflection and Rationale of Online Instructor Comprehensive Guide From Delivery Selection, Development, to Implementation The guide is available in both a portable document format (PDF) or linked to a wiki. This provides back up of the technical side and options for the instructor to provide alternative for diverse distant learners. This guide is effective because it was written in a progressive manner. The guide first provides an introduction and stresses the important characteristics of online instructors including a heavy emphasis on forming positive relationships. Instructors and distance learning programs in higher education must truly understand the learner's needs, understand how they learn, and be willing to embrace critical competencies of the online instructor. Instructors must focus on relationship building and forming a sense of community, engaging the students not only with the course content but with their peers as well, and challenging their students to take part in a community building process (Paloff &Pratt, 2009). Connors (n.d.) supports the concept of relationship building as a key factor of online instructor competencies and states that good mentors are enthusiastic and takes the time to interact with their students; share personal experiences and relate to the learner in a flexible way. The findings of Connors (n.d.) research showed that mentors in a one-on-one mentoring situation main felt that it was important to be a collaborator and be a learning guide as well as a motivator and a cheerleader. The students in the study also expressed the importance of interaction with the instructor and forming trusting emotional relationships to help facilitate the learning process (Connors, n.d.). The introduction also does not hide from the challenges of online learning and offers helpful tips to overcoming these challenges through communication. Within the guide, citations are provided for the online instructor to reference for support in development of their online pedagogical skills. Some students may not be appropriate for online learning, but motivation

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plays an important role in success (Paloff & Pratt, 2004). Because of this, it is important for the online instructor to provide students with as much information needed to the student to allow them to be successful online learners. This information can also allow them to make appropriate decisions to continue with online courses or select to return to a traditional setting (2004). Orientation activities that fit the individual class are important so the student can meet the goals and the objectives of the syllabus. Communication is the second section of the guide and begins with the importance of setting norms and engaging the online learners from the beginning of the course. An example was provided for interactivity and norming. Sticking with the communication strand, emphasis was placed on appropriate communication and time effect on inquiries. Communication is extremely important concerning the expectation and requirements of the course. Providing timely feedback is a critical success factor of online instructors (Abdous, 2010). This engagement often motivates and engages the students, especially when given in a friendly and conventional tone (2010). Specific feedback reinforces the demands, goals, and expectations of the course and allows the students to reflect and make proper adjustments for future assignments. Abdous (2010) states that it is important for the instructor to reach out to the students and get feedback from them concerning the course and appropriately and promptly addresses any concerns Requirements and expectations are clarified with the syllabus details and structure. The online instructor is provided with clear direction to make their course expectations clear to their students. Again, emphasis is placed on quality instruction and specific and timely feedback regarding assignments for the students to reflect and learn. Before class begins, it is critical for the instructor to have a solid curricular map, student expectations and outcomes, and overall goals and objectives for the course clearly listed in the syllabus (Paloff &

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Pratt, 2004). If the higher learning institution prepares the course syllabus, is the instructors responsibility to go over the syllabus to ensure that the student meets the overall goals of the course (2004). Appropriate planning and evaluation must take place to ensure the syllabus matches with expected outcomes or meets the appropriate standards from the learning institutions (Abdous, 2010). Whatever the institution fails to do it is the responsibility of the instructor to fill in any gaps (Paloff & Pratt, 2004). With attrition rates in distance education reaching upwards of 60 to 70%, having as much clarity of expectations possible is important (Levine, 2005, p.74). To assist the online instructor, a list of 10 online websites was provided that can serve as a reference or supplement to online instructor orientations. Williams (2006) states that skills can be learned and developed by teaching online instructors skills and best practices of online instruction. Paloff and Pratt (2004) state that appropriate staff development in online learning for instructors decreases the students anxiety and leads to better relationship building and student performance. Keeping up on pedagogical advances concerning online learning and the technologies are essential to the success of the online learner (Abdous, 2010; Abdulla, 2004; Williams, 2006). I feel that the layout is friendly and the resources can help support quality online instructor development.

References

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Abdous, M. (2011). A process-oriented framework for acquiring online teaching competencies. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 23(1), 60-77. doi: 10.1007/s12528-0109040-5 Abdulla, A. G. (2004). Distance learning students' perceptions of the online instructor roles and competencies. The Florida State University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 166 p. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/305185937?accountid=28180 Connors, S. (n.d.). Assessing mentor characteristics in an online course. Retrieved from 4AssessingOnlineCharacteristics.pdf Northcentral University at http://learners.ncu.edu/CourseRoom/Default.aspx?course_code=EL7004&learner_course _id=213818 Levine, S. J. (2005). Making distance education work: understanding learning and learners at a distance. Okemos, Mich.: LearnerAssociates.net. Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2003). The virtual student: a profile and guide to working with online learners. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Williams, F. D. (2006). An examination of competencies, roles, and professional development needs of community college distance educators who teach mathematics. University of Central Florida). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 208 p. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/ docview/304942913?accountid=28180