Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum (ECAC)
Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC)

Donna Reiss
Active Learning Online

Active Learning Online By the Numbers: A Compilation of Lists
from Several Scholars of Active Learning with Technology


10 Tips for Generating Interactive Online Discussions

Katherine Fischer, Donna Reiss, and Art Young developed this 2005 resource, which has evolved from 20 years of teaching computer-enhanced and online communication-rich classes.


7 Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education + Technology

Implementing with Technology: Chickering and EhrmannIdeas for Implementing the 7 Principles
  1. Encourages contacts between students and faculty: frequent, encouraging + asynchronous, "more intimate, protected, and convenient"
  2. Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students: group activities and informal conversations + asynchronous and synchronous communication
  3. Encourages active learning: talking, writing, developing, discovering, applying + simulations, authentic and archival research, discovery and development, interaction with experts
  4. Gives prompt feedback: appropriate, frequent, encouraging + text commenting, electronic portfolios, individual responses, responses to group
  5. Emphasizes time on task: constructive, productive + asynchronous access
  6. Communicates high expectations: support systems + publication and performance
  7. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning: values and extends + writing, reading, reflecting, illustrating, enabling

6 Kinds of Quality Learning with Technology

from Engines of Inquiry: Teaching, Technology,
and Learner-Centered Approaches to Culture and History, Georgetown University
[no longer online]

  1. Distributive learning: access to knowledge and shared responsibility for learning
  2. Authentic tasks and complex inquiry: simulations, resources, multiple methods and media
  3. Dialogic learning: communication on complex issues
  4. Constructive learning: projects and products
  5. Public accountability: publishing to peers and others
  6. Reflective and critical thinking: "multiple kinds of literacies and evocative juxtapositions"

5-faceted Approach to Online Instructor-Student Interactions

from "Big Ten School in Cyberspace" by Christopher Hons
T.H.E. Journal January 2002

The program instructors [at Penn State World Campus] have, in turn, benefited from the students' feedback, improving their course design and content to match the needs of working learners.

  1. Monitor student progress. WebCT, a Web-based educational delivery system used by the World Campus, enables instructors to document each student's learning process, including when they logon to a lesson and how much time they spend on it.
  2. Motivate students. If students are falling behind in their work, send them an e-mail or call them to help get them back on track.
  3. Intervene. If students are having problems, offer specific suggestions targeted to what will help them through a particular lesson.
  4. Critique written exercises. Analyze how students draw conclusions, the appropriateness of their explanations and proposed courses of action.
  5. Respond to questions. Answer all student questions, even those that go beyond the scope of the course.

4 Features of High Touch Mentoring in Online Courses

from "'High Touch'in a 'High Tech'World: Strategies for Individualizing Online Learning" by Edward H. Ladon [no longer online]

These instructors have concern about the visual aspects of their courses like most, but much of their energy clearly is invested in what I would call "high touch mentoring." The most successful online teachers ... demonstrate a very rich, active, respectful and responsive style of communication.

  1. They provide a safe climate.... let students know that there are numerous supports available to assist them - including the Orientation Course, the Help Notes, the 24x7 Help Desk, and their peers and the teacher. Most of all, they explicitly assure students that it is okay to ask for help, to trust them, and to trust that they will be very available and accessible....
  2. They invite input regarding the goals and agenda of the course.
  3. They provide much individualized feedback .... lots of positive messages about what they are doing well. They also offer constructive criticism when called for, provide models of good performance, and recommend links to resources for enhancing understanding of subject matter and/or to enable students to pursue material related to individual interests.
  4. They connect learners with one another. They appreciate that in interactive and collaborative learning situations, individuals have an opportunity to gain perspective and think reflectively, and this often produces higher levels of cognition as well as self-esteem.

1 Website for Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum: Benefits, Teaching Tips, Resources

ECAC Home | Active Learning Online
for educational purposes only
developed and copyright ©1996 by
D. Reiss
modified and copyright © 9 September 2010 by
D. Reiss