Distance learning has overcome some early issues to become a legitimate alternative to a traditional classroom setting. The benefits to students are finally being recognized by even the most prestigious institutions of higher learning. However, the proliferation of online access to a variety of universities and degree programs has presented a challenge for professors to reach students and engage them in a meaningful way.
Here are some best practices and strategies to help distance learning instructors provide their students with the best possible experience.
1. Be present and be consistent. One problem with distance learning in the past has been one of inconsistent standards and behavior. Instructors who are available at the instruction site, provide a clear set of guidelines and expectations and interact with students on a scheduled basis get the best results.
2. Use a variety of communications platforms to increase availability and student-teacher interaction. This means making use of social media, online meeting platforms and mobile platforms to keep your students informed.
3. Divide coursework into large-group, small-group and individual tasks to encourage cooperation while also helping students learn to work independently to devise creative solutions.
4. Develop regular discussion posts via electronic media to encourage the students to take time to devise questions and provide thoughtful insights on the topic of the day. When interspersed with real-time dialogue, students have the opportunity to develop both quick thinking and analytical skills.
5. Ask for feedback from your students after the first few weeks of the course. This will give the student and the instructor enough time to see what is and is not working. When done early enough in the course, these types of informal discussions will allow time to alter or modify elements of the course that aren’t viable.
The University of Florida has a social media degree and this is just one example of a state whose educational institutions realize the longevity of the medium and are preparing their students to remain competitive in an emerging sector of marketing and communications.
If you’re interested in finding a social media degree program, contact a college at your current location or find an accredited online degree program.