Submitting Campus



Center for Teaching & Learning Excellence

Document Type

Presentation without Video

Publication/Presentation Date

Fall 11-18-2016


If you have any questions about this presentation or would like a copy of the handout, please contact Angela Atwell. Her information can be found at the end of the presentation.

Contrary to popular belief, teaching and learning in an online environment is not easier or less work than a traditional classroom. It takes intentionality, discipline and commitment from both the instructor and the student. However, the flexibility offered by online programs makes this option increasingly appealing. With this growing demand, online instructors must think critically about the content, strategically plan activities and align outcomes with diverse student goals. All of this must be done while forging relationships, connecting students and providing opportunities to apply the concepts to the real world.

Hardman (2015) reflected on the need to build a community of learners and promote active engagement so that every student can experience the joy of learning. Students will be engaged when they connect with the content, the instructor and their peers. This requires the instructor to shift from teaching to learning. Students must engage in activities that challenge higher-order cognitive skills rather than observe the instructor delivering content (Boling, Hough, Krinsky, Saleem, & Stevens, 2011). Students also need to connect the concepts to their real lives and within the context of their environment. Context is a critical component for all cognitive processes. What we learn, what we know and the connections we make all happen within and as a result of our environment. “One does not remember exactly what has happened. Rather, one remembers one’s construction or reconstruction of what happened” (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2012). Online instructors are tasked with ensuring that educational experiences are meaningful for students, connected to their context and conducted as part of a learning community. Thus, instructors must make learning personal.

During this session participants will share best practices and classroom experiences, engage in large and small group discussions, as well as explore a variety of technological tools to help bridge the digital gap in online classrooms. Participants will discuss the challenges of teaching and learning online as well as the need to create opportunities to connect. Polls, “Gallery -Walks”, “Think-Pair-Share”, “Speed-Sharing” and other interactive strategies will be utilized to model the effectiveness of community.

In this session, participants:

  1. Evaluated current approaches to student engagement.
  2. Explored various web 2.0 tools and potential uses in the virtual classroom to create a learning community.
  3. Explored the importance of context in cognitive processes and its impact on learning
  4. Developed a plan to integrate at least one strategy during the next term.


Orlando, Florida

Additional Information

Presentation was awarded "Best in Strand" for International Perspectives. Presentation was streamed for Virtual Conference Attendees. Presenter also participated in a Town Hall Session on International Perspectives during the conference.