ACM Logo  An ACM Publication  |  CONTRIBUTE  |  FOLLOW    

Opinions

See All Opinions

Fourteen Creative Assignment Ideas for the Online Classroom

By Jean Mandernach, Morgan McNaughton / April 11, 2024

In an era of rapid digitization of higher education, innovative online assignments that engage students, foster critical thinking, and mitigate academic dishonesty are paramount. Unique, experiential, and collaborative tasks such as digital storytelling, virtual field trips, interactive infographics, and more can bridge the interpersonal gap in virtual classrooms, inspire active participation, and bolster students' motivation, thus countering challenges such as student disengagement and plagiarism. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Thirteen Strategies to Increase the Impact of Assignment Feedback

By Jean Mandernach, Helen Hammond / March 28, 2024

The value of assignment feedback in enhancing student learning is significant, not just in rectifying conceptual misunderstandings but also in engaging and motivating students and strengthening their belief in their academic capabilities. This article outlines 13 strategies to provide effective, efficient, and engaging feedback, including the use of feedforward guidance, one-to-many feedback, peer-to-peer feedback, multimedia feedback, feedback banks, automation, formative classroom assessment techniques, rubrics, assignment exemplars, generative AI, proactive notifications, automated mastery learning opportunities, and student self-feedback, all of which holistically empower students towards academic success, meaningful instructor-student interaction, and a richer online learning experience. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Twelve 'No Skips' Approaches for Developing Social Presence Literacy in Virtual Education

By Thomas Dyer, Jean Mandernach / February 22, 2024

Online education's success hinges greatly on the implementation of a robust social presence, akin to a perfect "no skip" music album, fostering an interactive and connected learning community. These 12 strategies--being authentic, recognizing students as individuals, ensuring availability, fostering higher-order thinking, intending social presence, creating community cohesion, acknowledging the reciprocity of social presence, strategically implementing technology, leveraging curiosity through gamification, promoting immediacy and intimacy, focusing on affective association, and understanding chronemics--offer a comprehensive guide for educators to improve online engagement, thereby improving the student's learning experience and reducing feelings of isolation. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION, HIGHER EDUCATION

Eleven Best Practices to Support Learners with Disabilities in the Online Classroom

By Rebekah Dyer, Jean Mandernach / January 31, 2024

Online learning can greatly benefit learners with disabilities, provided that inclusive teaching practices and effective support systems are implemented. This article highlights 11 best practices for supporting these learners, including fostering relationships, identifying individual needs, using proactive teaching strategies, ensuring course alignment, providing emotional safety, implementing differentiation strategies, monitoring engagement, encouraging a growth mindset, establishing preferred communication modes, soliciting feedback, and adjusting teaching methods based on that feedback. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Ten Strategies for Fostering Instructor Presence in the Online Classroom

By Sarah Robertson, John Steele, Jean Mandernach / January 23, 2024

Online education, while alleviating geographic constraints, amplifies the challenge of transactional distance, exacerbating students' sense of isolation during the learning process. This article suggests 10 strategies for enhancing instructional presence in a digital learning environment, including creating one-on-one spaces, establishing a reasonable response timeline, leading the class as a collective, using a consistent "voice," showing your face, being genuine, communicating expectations, sharing personal experiences, keeping course resources updated, and regularly checking-in; these strategies aim to mitigate the absence of physical proximity, fostering a more engaging and collaborative virtual classroom experience. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Nine Tips for Humanizing Online Learning

By Lori Cooper, Rick Holbeck, Jean Mandernach / December 13, 2023

Creating a meaningful and engaging online learning environment requires the deliberate fostering of social relationships, tapping into the inherent social nature of learning. Nine key strategies include sharing professional experience and expertise, demonstrating empathy and compassion, maintaining a visible online presence, integrating personalized videos, offering warm welcomes and farewells, providing one-on-one support, establishing rapport, and incorporating synchronous components to facilitate real-time interaction, all aimed at humanizing the online learning experience and effectively supporting learner engagement. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Eight Priorities for Instructional Videos in the Online Classroom

By Sarah Robertson, John Steele, Jean Mandernach / November 15, 2023

To enhance student engagement and learning in the online classroom, instructional videos need to be thoughtfully created, curated, and integrated. Key considerations include making the videos learner-centered and relevant, ensuring easy access, keeping video length short, focusing on clarity over perfection, providing alternative means of accessing the information, fostering student interaction, and personalizing videos to enhance the sense of class participation and connection. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION, DESIGN FOR LEARNING, HIGHER EDUCATION

Seven Strategies for More Efficient, Effective Online Instruction

By Lori Cooper, Amanda Loster-Loftus, Jean Mandernach / October 31, 2023

Teaching in an online environment demands efficient time management and a focus on activities that maximize student learning and engagement. To this end, seven key strategies are suggested: reflect on and prioritize your instructional time, create a teaching calendar to manage tasks, integrate tools for streamlined communication, leverage analytics to focus attention, automate repetitive tasks, utilize video technology for efficient instruction and feedback, and foster collaboration among learners and colleagues. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Six Ideas for Building a Vibrant Online Professional Community

By Katie Sprute, Crystal McCabe, Lynn Basko, Paul Danuser, Jean Mandernach / October 3, 2023

Building vibrant, online professional learning communities (PLCs) is crucial to combat the isolation experienced by online faculty and facilitate their professional growth, with strategies such as prioritizing relationship building, empowering all faculty with a voice, recognizing their achievements, ensuring relevant and targeted content, teaching best pedagogical practices, and accommodating faculty needs. By nurturing a supportive and collaborative online environment, institutions can help faculty overcome remote teaching challenges, connect them to valuable resources, and enhance their professional and personal fulfillment in their roles as online educators. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION, HIGHER EDUCATION

Five Priorities to Help Learners in the Online Classroom

By John Steele, Thomas Dyer, Jean Mandernach / September 7, 2023

To maximize online student learning, instructors should prioritize their time towards instructional strategies that students deem most impactful, such as providing individualized, one-to-one feedback; adopting a holistic feedback approach; engaging in asynchronous discussion forums; curating relevant content resources; and presenting instructional content in efficient, versatile formats. As research reveals, learners value instructor feedback and engagement in online discussions above all else, thereby guiding where educators should focus their limited instructional time. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION, HIGHER EDUCATION

Four Strategies to Foster Effective Online Teaching within a Standardized Curriculum

By Beverly Santelli, Kendra Stewart, Jean Mandernach / August 3, 2023

In a standardized curriculum, it is essential to design courses that maximize the unique qualities of each instructor while maintaining curricular consistency. By adopting a collaborative approach to course development, integrating technology intentionally, creating opportunities for instructor personalization, and supporting instructional growth, educators can ensure the benefits of unique instructor differences are utilized, resulting in an enriched online learning environment. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Embracing the Power of eLearning: Advancing the future of education

By Anita Samuel / July 27, 2023

In an era of rapid technological advancements and explosion in eLearning, it is with great enthusiasm that I start my term as the new Editor-in-Chief of eLearn Magazine. I am honored to lead the magazine through these exciting times. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Three Student-Centered Approaches to Integrate ChatGPT in the Online Classroom

By Thomas Dyer, John Steele, Jean Mandernach / July 18, 2023

In response to the advent of AI technologies like ChatGPT in academia, educators should not merely react with plagiarism policies but proactively integrate such tools to enhance learning. By cultivating AI literacy, integrating AI into assignments for interactive learning, and leveraging it for idea generation, we can prepare students for a digitally advanced future, promoting critical thinking and digital literacy while ensuring thoughtful use of technology to support student growth. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION, EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES, HIGHER EDUCATION

2022-2023 Year in Review and Transition to New Editor-in-Chief

By Simone C Conceicao / July 11, 2023

This editorial provides an annual review of eLearn Magazine including a high number of published articles, the addition of new topic series, increased partnerships, and an effective editorial board strategic plan. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Two Essentials for Fostering Agency in Virtual Education

By Jean Mandernach, Rick Holbeck / June 22, 2023

Learner agency, premised on making education meaningful and relevant, involves fostering two critical aspects in online classrooms: voice and choice. By providing students with a say in the teaching-learning dynamics (such as setting course policies or assignment deadlines) and offering them decision-making capacity in mastering course content (like choosing individual learning paths or formats to demonstrate understanding) educators can create a personalized learning experience that enhances student motivation, engagement, and investment. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION, HIGHER EDUCATION

One Interactive Approach to Gamify the Online Classroom: Digital badges

By Tom Dyer, Jacob Aroz, Jean Mandernach / June 13, 2023

Gamification, the application of game elements in non-game contexts, is being embraced in higher education, particularly in online classrooms, to foster engagement, participation, and satisfaction. As a quick and effective way to gamify, digital badges serve as virtual rewards for accomplishing specific tasks or goals, stimulating student motivation, promoting community, encouraging critical thinking, developing skills, and bolstering incremental learning, thus making learning tangible and shareable, and driving competition. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION, DESIGN FOR LEARNING, HIGHER EDUCATION

Making ChatGPT Work for You

By Xi Lin, Steven Schmidt / April 27, 2023

Although concerns around academic integrity and plagiarism have been raised, ChatGPT can be used constructively as a learning tool. Several examples are included to guide educators on how to integrate ChatGPT in their teaching, such as answering questions, designing interactive lessons, starting discussions, and providing personalized learning experiences. However, it's imperative for educators to post guidelines for proper and improper use of ChatGPT, as well as teach students to use AI tools effectively and ethically. Embracing AI tools like ChatGPT could provide students with a dynamic and responsive learning experience. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Closing the Assessment Excellence Gap: Why digital assessments should go beyond recall and be more inclusive

By Gavin Cooney, John Kleeman / January 5, 2023

Stakeholders in digital assessments have requirements and expectations that technology implementations do not always meet. This is the "Assessment Excellence Gap." This article explains why digital assessment is important and focuses on two particular aspects with a call to action to make assessments more inclusive and to write questions that go beyond recall when creating assessments. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Supporting Online Teaching Faculty Beyond the Pandemic: A “faculty concierge” model

By Anita Samuel / December 22, 2022

Higher education is faced with a shifting milieu that actively embraces online education. This environment requires robust faculty support. Enter the faculty concierge model of faculty support, which extends the instructional designer-focused concierge model of online support proposed by McCurry and Mullinx through a faculty-centered lens. The faculty concierge model aims to provide high-touch, individualized faculty support. Faculty concierges respect the experiences and expertise of the faculty members they work with; they start with small changes and focus on offering simple and accessible support. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Getting Authoring Right: How to innovate for meaningful improvement

By Alice Leigh, Shaun Crowley / November 29, 2022

With so much technology-enabled innovation in assessment, one area has often had too little attention--the exam development phase, often called the "hardest job in publishing." Writing exams is so challenging and so important, not just for the validity of tests but also for the ability of exam providers to innovate their services and operate efficiently. With genuinely enterprise scale solutions finally becoming available in this area, the authors offer a checklist guide for assessment providers to review their authoring processes. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Harnessing the Power of Natural Language Processing to Mass Produce Test Items

By Martin C. Yu, Taylor Sullivan / October 18, 2022

Mass production of test items involves numerous steps and takes time. Technology can play a key role in supplementing human resources whether gathering and storing source materials, communicating with subject matter experts, or synchronizing and coordinating activities during a complex or fast-paced development cycle. Our work in automated item generation (AIG) using natural language processing is one example of this process unfolding in practice. Over the past few years, there has been a surge in developments in the fields of natural language understanding and generation (NLU/NLG) regarding applications of language models developed via machine learning techniques that have yet to be applied to the area of AIG. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION, EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

Centering All Students in Their Assessment

By Mark Johnson, Uma Venkateswaran, Fiona Hinds, Steve Ferrara, Megan Bairstow / September 21, 2022

The primary focus in developing and providing equitable assessment should be the student who will engage with the assessment. Students' diverse experiences and individual needs are key to centering them in their assessment. New practices and greater emphasis are needed to provide an assessment environment that enhances student agency. Performance assessment, current innovative and emerging technologies, and considerations for marginalized students and students with disabilities, all grounded in research-based practices can promote equity in assessment. Some of these approaches already exist in some schools, which can serve as an illustrative example of what can be accomplished. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Going Beyond Multiple Choice

By Brian Moon / August 11, 2022

This is the first in a series of articles covering advancements in eAssessment. The series will feature educators, developers, and researchers from around the world who are innovating how learning is assessed while meeting the challenges of efficiency, scalability, usability, and accessibility. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

2021-2022: A Year of New Initiatives for Reaching Out to Our Community

By Simone Conceição / July 31, 2022

The highlight of this past year was new community initiatives. In this annual review of the magazine, the Editor in Chief details her accomplishments and goals. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

eLearn Magazine Special Issue: Beyond Multiple Choice

Special Issue: Advancing Beyond Multiple Choice eAssessment

By Brian Moon / September 30, 2021

Authors for this special issue presented their work, perspectives, and recommendations that look to move learning assessment at all levels "beyond multiple-choice." » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

The future of assessment depends on elevating culturally diverse perspectives

Special Issue: Advancing Beyond Multiple Choice eAssessment

By Susan Lyons / September 30, 2021

In this opinion piece, Susan Lyons explores the imperative to amplify diverse voices and perspectives in the field of educational measurement. She identifies two negative effects of the lack of cultural diversity in leadership positions within the field and ends by calling for a higher level of critical consciousness within the profession of educational measurement. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Challenges and Opportunities for eLearning During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The year in review

By Simone C. Conceicao / August 26, 2021

In 2020-2021, elearning became essential at all levels of education due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This editorial provides a year in review for eLearn Magazine. A common theme was the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in online education and opportunities for overcoming these challenges. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Wikipedia Engagement Can Enhance eLearning

By Shannon A.B. Perry / March 31, 2021

With so much formal learning now taking place online, eLearning educators have the opportunity to incorporate Wikipedia as a multifaceted pedagogical resource. I argue that doing so facilitates the cultivation of 21st century skills and empowers learners to participate in creating positive social change. The article concludes with various ways educators may incorporate Wikipedia into teaching practice, appropriate Wikipedia assignments for students. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION

Renewing Self-Directed Learning in E-Learning Experiences

By Francesco Giuseffi / January 22, 2021

The possibilities for meaningful elearning experiences are endless, yet intentional work must be done to see that students are engaged and motivated. Through the fundamental elements of self-directed learning, students and teachers can forge new paths in education and create a bright future for teaching and learning online. » [Full Article]
TYPE: OPINION