Distance Learning Toolbox
The Distance Learning Toolbox is a collection of best practices, guides, online tools, and other resources specifically designed to support Rider faculty and staff engaged in distance learning.
|Course Design||Online Pedagogy||Activities & Engagement||Technology Tools||Quality Assurance – Peer/Self Review|
|UDL (Universal Design for Learning)||Accessibility||Academic Integrity & Plagiarism||Journals, Blogs, Sites||Recommended Reading|
Course Design Models
- ADDIE: Designing Blended Courses the ADDIE Way
- Backwards Design
- Designing Better Learning Experiences – Site provides Information on course and syllabus design: basics of course design, resources such as handouts and templates, examples of good course design, plus a listserv and special topics forum for communicating with others.
- A Theoretical Framework for Effective Online Course design
- Trends in the Design of E-Learning and Online Learning
Creating Syllabi & Learning Objectives
- Syllabus Guidelines (Drexel University Center for Academic Excellence). Resources include a Learning-Centered Syllabus Checklist and Rubric along with sample syllabi.
- Blooms Taxonomy Levels Guide. Use this to find verbs for your learning objectives. Ideas for assignments, activities and assessments that align with these verbs are also included.
- Interactive Tutorial – Create objectives using the ABCD Method (Penn State University)
- Objective Builder – (UCF)
First in the list below is the Rider University College of Continuing Studies Faculty Guidelines for Online Teaching. This instructor's manual, written by Marie Cini and Boris Vilic is "filled with real examples of how to plan for the online experience and then how to actually 'behave' as an instructor online" (4). The next documents are a collection of "Best Practices" and "Tips" created by Dr. Judith Boettcher that she has customized for Rider faculty in consultation with Dean Boris Vilic and Drs. Kathy Browne and Tim McGee, formerly of the Teaching and Learning Center.
- Faculty Guidelines for Online Teaching, 2e.
- Ten Best Practices
- Tip #1: Getting Started
- Tip #2: Three Presences
- Tip #3: Building Community
- Tip #4: Feedback
- Tip #5: Discussion Wraps
- Tip #6: Closing Experiences
- Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice to the Online Classroom
- Tips on implementing the Seven Principles
Assessment and Feedback
- Grading and Performance Rubrics: Carnegie Mellon explains what rubrics are and provides examples
- Sample rubrics for cooperative learning, research reports, and other assessments, compiled by the University of Wisconsin, Stout
- Tips on Providing Feedback to Online Students (a Faculty Focus article)
- Why should assessments, learning objectives, and instructional strategies be aligned? Carnegie Mellon’s resource on assessments to measure student learning and aligned to instruction so that they reinforce one another
- MERLOT’s Searchable Database: a curated collection of free and open online resources, including reusable learning objects.
- Moving a Face-to-Face Course Online Without Losing Student Engagement (a Faculty Focus article)
- 16 Technology Tools for Engaging Students: Idea Works’ quick slideshare overview of interactive technologies
- Ideas on Fostering Student Interaction in Online Courses (a Faculty Focus article)
- Improving Student Engagement in Online Courses - This paper will highlight a number of issues concerning distance learning and what teaching methods may be implemented by professors to facilitate student engagement in online courses.
Tech Tools @ Rider
- Canvas - Learning Management System is Rider’s campus supported web-based teaching and learning tool. Canvas enables professors to provide students access to course materials, communication tools, online assessments, and grades, as well as the ability to submit assignments electronically.
- Google Apps for Education - Google Apps for Education is a free, efficient, convenient and collaborative suite of web based or cloud applications that work together seamlessly. Gmail, Drive, Docs, Calendar and other Google Apps for Education tools are available to all students, faculty, staff and emerti.
- NJVID - NJVID is a state-of-the-art digital media repository service for streaming and preservation of academic and research media for higher education. Integrated with Rider’s Canvas LMS, this service allows both faculty and students to upload media to the repository for sharing.
- Turnitin – Turnitin is a cloud based service that helps instructors detect and prevent plagiarism, grade online, provide feedback and improve student learning. Integrated with Rider’s Canvas LMS.
- SmartEvals –SmartEvals is an online course evaluation application that is used to administer online course evaluations for online and hybrid course sections at Rider. Faculty can customize their own evaluation forms and students are guaranteed anonymity.
Rubrics & Checklists
- Quality Matters Rubric - The Quality Matters™ Rubric is a set of standards used to ensure that online and blended courses are encompassing best practices and procedures.
- Quality Online Course Initiative Rubric and Checklist (Illinois Online Network). Offers two versions of a rubric for online courses: a comprehensive rubric with room for comments and a shortened version with only a checklist.
- California State University, Chico’s Rubric for Online Instruction. Evaluates online or mixed mode courses with six domains along a spectrum of three rankings (Basic, Effective, and Exemplary).
Articles & Other Resources
- Eight Principles of Effective Online Teaching: A Decade-Long Lessons Learned in Project Management Education - This paper presents a practical framework based on eight principles that helps practitioners systematically evaluate online teaching to determine if you are doing the things you can to improve communication and create an effective learning environment.
- 10 Principles of Effective Online Teaching: Best Practices in Distance Education. A free report when you sign up for Faculty Focus, a free e-newsletter for higher education faculty published three times per week by Magna Publications.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to course and syllabus design based on principles that enable faculty to design and teach their courses in ways that make learning accessible to all learners.
- Equal Access: Universal Design of Instruction (DO-IT Project at University of Washington). A 13-minute video plus accompanying publications, demonstrating strategies for making instruction accessible to all students.
- UDL on Campus: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education—a guide
- CAST, Center for Applied Special Technology: Transforming Education through Universal Design for Learning. The portal for information on Universal Design for Learning pre-K through college. A comprehensive site including research, online tutorials, and publications.
- The ACCESS Project: Colorado State University - Visit this site for disability modules, self-advocacy resources and activities, and information on Universal Design for Instruction.
Creating online content and materials that are accessible ensures a quality learning experience for all learners – including those with a disability. Below are some resources to help you get started.
Articles & Other Resources
- Improve Accessibility in Tomorrow’s Online Courses by Leveraging Yesterday’s Techniques (a Faculty Focus article)
- Apple Products Accessibility Features
- Google Products Accessibility Features
- Microsoft Products Accessibility Features and Resources
- W3C's Accessibility for Web Design and Applications
- NCDAE Cheat Sheets - This set of cheat sheets from the National Center on Disability and Access to Education covers accessibility best practices for Word, PowerPoint, and PDF documents.
- WebAim Resources
Checklists and Guides
- Creating Accessible Content: A resource from University of Central Florida for faculty teaching online/blended courses and dealing with ADA and 508 compliance.
- WebAIM Section 508 Checklist: A checklist by WebAim to determine if your online materials and courses are compliant.
- Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices (The Council of Writing Program Administrators). Defines plagiarism; suggests causes; proposes shared responsibilities for students, faculty and administrators; and recommends specific practices to reduce plagiarism.
- The Citation Project This site provides systematic data, discussion, and resources to help instructors and administrators with developing plagiarism policies and with developing effective instruction methods for the ethical use of sources.
- Plagiarism.org – Free source of information on plagiarism and best practices for ensuring originality in written work
- VAIL (Virtual Academic Integrity Laboratory ) - VAIL includes guides, tutorials, bibliographic information, and survey research on academic integrity issues in higher education.
- “Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers,” 2004, Robert Harris. Discusses why and how students plagiarize; presents specific strategies for prevention and detection, including links to sites that provide term papers and sites that detect plagiarism.
- “Curbing Academic Dishonesty in Online Courses,” Mike McNett, May/June 2002 (Illinois Online Network, University of Illinois). Methods for assessing students and detecting plagiarism in online courses. Includes links to articles and sites on academic dishonesty.
- McNabb, L., & Olmstead, A. (2009). Communities of integrity in online courses: Faculty member beliefs and strategies. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 5(2). Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol5no2/mcnabb_0609.htm
- Faculty Focus publishes articles on effective teaching strategies for the college classroom — both face-to-face and online.
- Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration: a free, peer-reviewed electronic quarterly journal with a specific focus on the management of distance education programs.
- Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) Online Learning Journal: double-blind peer reviewed journal that promotes the development and dissemination of new knowledge at the intersection of pedagogy, emerging technology, policy, and practice in online environments.
- The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning: a free refereed, open access e-journal that aims to disseminate research, theory, and best practice in open and distance learning worldwide.
This next collection of links leads to readings that have been recommended for various reasons. In each case, the link leads either to an external site where the file is hosted or to a downloadable .pdf. The brief annotations are intended to give you some notion of the content of each reading.
- Course Design Factors Influencing the Success of Online Learning. Abstract: This paper looks at factors affecting the success of asynchronous online learning through an investigation of relationships between student perceptions and course design factors in one of the largest asynchronous learning networks in the country. It finds that three such factors -- consistency in course design, interaction with course instructors, and active discussion – have been consistently shown to significantly influence the success of online courses. It is posited that the reason for these findings relates to the importance of building community in online courses.
- An Instructional Strategy Framework for Online Learning Environments. The authors advocate that faculty "adopt a philosophy of teaching and learning that is appropriate for online instruction. . . . [that] should build on a combination of learning theories rather than be confined to one preferred perspective" (33).
- Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.). (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
- Medina, John. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. Seattle, WA: Pear Press, 2009.
- Moore, A. H., Fowler, S. B. & Watson, C. E. (2007). Active Learning and Technology: Designing Change for Faculty, Students, and Institutions. EDUCAUSE Review, 42(5), 42-61.
- Moskal, B. M. (2000). Scoring Rubrics: What, When and How?. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(3).
Have a resource you’d like to share? We are constantly striving to improve the Distance Learning Toolbox. If you have a recommended resource that is not listed above or if you have any questions about these documents or Rider's other resources to support distance learning please contact Kweli Snowden at 609-895-5671 or [email protected].