Well, fancy meeting you here, friend! Was it the title that got you to click the link? Well, excellent! I’m glad we’re both interested in how it is that we transform our teaching to do what is best for our online students. Teaching online clearly isn’t the same as teaching face-to-face, but that doesn’t mean that it is inherently worse, or somehow less personal, or all of the other criticisms that can be leveled against online learning from time to time. Like most things, it’s just a tool, and so it offers certain limitations and opportunities. The trick, obviously, is going into online teaching aware of these strengths & weaknesses and then building in ways that specifically aligns with the best parts of online learning. And when the opportunities that are afforded by online learning include offering a flexibility in timing and access that extend the benefits of higher education to a much larger population, we should all try to think about how we can overcome online teaching’s weaknesses in service of this heightened democratization of knowledge, right?
To help in this effort, we at CETL are continuously looking for how to bring out the best parts of online, and minimize the worst parts. As such, we wanted to share with you the work that all of our collective teams have been working on in terms of best practice. This work has been going on for quite a long time, and you have probably read through small bits of thought on this subject or that as you have been perusing our blog over the years. And, if you’ve ever looked at our Quality Certification process, you’ll have seen ways that we encourage the use of national standards like OSCQR, and extend the work in the industry by covering best practice for teaching for diverse populations or to develop skills for life after college.
To continue this work, we have combined elements from all of these sources, plus items from our Faculty Development workshops and Mastering Online Teaching series to provide an open resource for instructors to discover and explore what is most relevant to them at the moment they need it. This compendium of resources will continue to grow from its current text-based form to include procedural documentation, infographics, and downloadable templates to help you create the best courses that you can. So, please welcome our new Best Practices website! We hope that it will go beyond most industry-standard quality certification rubrics by addressing not just the mechanics of navigation or course technology use, but also the teaching methods and perspectives that encourage learning and how an online modality can encourage deeper understandings. We’ll continue to work on the site to bring you updated practices and additional resources for the practices we have currently identified. If there are things you think we should add to make the experience a better one, please feel free to send those ideas along and we’ll look at how we can include them.