Distance education courses face a special challenge in building a student-centered community of learners. For this reason, instructors teaching courses that are classified as online, hybrid, or web-enhanced need to consider how they will use synchronous and asynchronous communication tools in order to create opportunities for collaboration amongst students and between the students and instructor. Here are a few ideas for how you might start:Asynchronous Communication
- Instructor facilitates discussions with the whole class or in small groups.
- Instructor reads all posts and responds to a selection of them.
- Typically, the instructor provides a starting question and students reply to each other to formulate an answer.
- Blogs provide students with a space to write compositions that can be viewed by both the instructor and other students.
- Students and instructors can then comment on each others' blog posts.
- Instructors can use blogs to have students formulate and discuss their understanding of important course concepts.
- Journals provide students with a space to write compositions that can only be viewed by the instructor.
- Journals can be useful if the instructors wants students to regularly reflect on course topics.
- Journals combined with Discussion Boards can allow instructors to simulate Think-Pair-Share activities in an online environment.
- Wikis are a collaborative tool that allow multiple students to work in the same online space.
- Wikis can be used to have students complete group projects, such as building a website, creating a bibliography, or developing a glossary of important terms.
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For even more resources and information about synchronous communication in online learning environments, click here.