Best Practices for Online and Blended Learning

CLT will assist in designing implementing and evaluating your online/course. The appointed instructional designer will guide the instructors with re-thinking their syllabus and their approach to the students' educational journey. This will include helping with the alignment of learning objectives, recommending appropriate learning activities that align with the learning objectives, helping develop online content, maximize the effectiveness of the course discussions.

Take a look at the Readiness to Teach Online/Blended Courses Checklist and reflect on your online teaching.

Online/blended learning environments as a modality for education have evolved from less engaging modes of delivering course content to creating a platform where learners have the opportunities to engage in active learning experiences.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Provide resources that correspond to real-life situations (e.g. case studies, experiments, simulations, virtual field trips). 
  • Construct assignments that mirror real-world, career-specific tasks to encourage your students to immerse themselves in a journey through the real-world situation.
  • Create personalized learning experiences, allow students to reflect on their own learning and practice what they have learned (e.g. self-reflection journals, blogs, practice assignments).
  • Create opportunities for collaborative work (e.g. discussions, chats, wikis) to encourage students to work collaboratively on projects
  • Make use of videos, interactive videos (e.g. Panopto, Playposit).
  • Include assessment to measure the extent to which objectives were met through assigned activities (quizzes, tests,  projects, portfolios, case studies).
  • Incorporate accessible technology (accessible PDFs, closed captions).

Understanding that the platform or “space” where your course will live, i.e. the learning management system, (Blackboard or Moodle), and the functionalities available, can help instructors design a more engaging, student-centered experience. 

Simply video recording your face-to-face lectures is probably not the most effective way to present the content to your students. Lecture material may be more appropriate if presented in another format (e.g. written narrative, chart, PowerPoint). Read more about CLT's Studio Services.

There is a vast landscape of educational technology tools online. Contact our designers at CLT. They will be able to recommend the best technologies for your courses. Check the toolkit page.

The OSCQR checklist is intended to help instructors create and teach quality online/blended courses. The guidelines may be used in a few different ways: 

  • as a tool for self-assessment by instructors during all phases of their courses.
  • to provide constructive feedback to instructors on the design and delivery of their online courses.
  • as a tool for CLT  to determine that an instructor has fully developed his/her online course.
  • help participants identify the features of effective online course design.

Encouraging academic integrity and deterring cheating should be something important to all courses. Here are a few strategies outlining ways to design assessments to deter cheating:

  • Randomize the questions and the answer options in quizzes.
  • Set realistic time parameters.
  • Add honor code statement (e.g. "We, the students of AUC, believe that academic honesty and integrity are fundamental to the mission of higher education. We, as students, are responsible for the honest completion and representation of our work and respect for others' academic endeavors. It is our moral responsibility as students to uphold these ethical standards and to respect the character of the individuals and the university."I have completed this quiz entirely on my own, without the assistance of others in accordance with the AUC Student Honor Code).
  • Use technology tools to help detect instances of cheating (i.e. Turnitin).
  • Add statements and policies in your syllabus.
  • Know your students (participation, writing patterns, interact with them).
  • Report instances of cheating.

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