E-Learning Classroom is Open for Learning and Teaching

4:50 PM Aug. 20, 2011 — by Howard Finberg

On Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, we turned on our first 16-week e-learning module for university students. As you know, we'll be teaching across multiple campuses and with different tools from our online training kit. Of course we don't know whether these students have had much experience with online education. All the research indicates they might taken an online class, especially if they have been in college for a couple of years. Even our own NewsU evaluations surveys have shown a big jump in the number of participants who have had e-learning experience. In 2005, 48 percent said "yes." In 2011, that number was 70 percent.

We have spent lots of time thinking about the student experience as we designed both the content and the interface for this course. Given our different methods of online teaching -- synchronous and asynchronous -- we recognize that more content could cause confusion and hinder effective learning.

Our solutions took two approaches.

First, make sure the online navigation was clear and with specific instructions to the students. In other words, it wasn't going to be enough just to say "go learn from this module." It was more important to say "go to this module, read this section and look these elements."

The second method was to create a Student Guide to the course. Knowing a little how distracted everyone is in our multitasking society, we are especially happy with the checklist our course editor, Pam Hogle, designed.

The e-learning classroom is open, awaiting students who want to learn about journalism. And we are excited about learning how to be more effective e-learning teachers.