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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Seven Principles for Good Online Teaching

By now those of us involved with teaching undergraduate students are quite familiar with Chickering and Gamson's "Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education." Even those outside of undergraduate education have probably come across a reference or two to this particular article. Borrowing once again from an older article from the eCollege eNewsletter ("The Seven Principles Revisited" - see http://www.ecollege.com/news/EdVoice_arch_1008.learn) from quite some time ago, somewhere in the vicinity of two years ago in fact, I wondered how applicable these seve principles are to good practice in virtual high school education.

I didn't have to wonder long because, apparently, there's an article out there that has taken the first step in looking at this. "Seven Principles of Effective Teaching: A Practical Lens for Evaluating Online Courses" (see http://distance.wsu.edu/facultyresources/savedfromweb/7principles.htm) by Charles Graham, Kursat Cagiltay, Byung-Ro Lim, Joni Craner and Thomas M. Duffy. While still focusing upon the post-secondary environment, these folks from Indiana University have started looking at what these seven principles means for virtual courses.

In this article, the authors discuss each of Chickering and Gamson's seven principles and relate it to a lesson for online instruction. These are:
  1. Encourage Student-Faculty Contact - Lesson for online instruction is that instructors should provide clear guidelines for interaction with students.
  2. Encourage Cooperation Among Students - Lesson for online instruction is that well-designed discussion assignments facilitate meaningful cooperation among students.
  3. Encourage Active Learning - Lesson for online instruction is that students should present course projects.
  4. Give Prompt Feedback - Lesson for online instruction is that instructors need to provide two types of feedback: information feedback and acknowledgment feedback.
  5. Emphasize Time on Task - Lesson for online instruction is that online courses need deadlines.
  6. Communicate High Expectations - Lesson for online instruction is that challenging tasks, sample cases, and praise for quality work communicate high expectations.
  7. Respect Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning - Lesson for online instruction is that allowing students to choose project topics incorporates diverse views into online courses.

My challenge to you in this entry... For our virtual school teachers, is this list of good practices for online instruction applicable to your own teaching? For our virtual school students, would a course taught by a teacher that used this list of good practices for online instruction be a good course for you?

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