Interacting with Students


Dr. Pratt and Dr. Palloff in our video resources gave specific guidelines for instructor responses to the student discussion.  This included a limitation to how many times you interact with students and under which situations.  They are very specific about how to strategically respond to posts to promote discussion and prevent inappropriate behavior.

It seems that each of the participants has a different career.  One is a k-12 teacher.  Another works in health care.  The third participant works in the corporate world.  This causes each participant to have specific questions.  In this post, give specific guidelines for instructor interactions with students during an online discussion.

Make sure you:

  • Determine how often you think that an instructor should participate in an online discussion.  This should be a range of numbers and include a rationale.  You may choose any class size for this.
  • What are your favorite questioning strategies?  When would you apply each of these strategies?
  • What specific suggestions would you make for each of these career paths (K-12 education, health care & corporate training)?
  • Finally, what would you say to a student or group of students who are not interacting appropriately?

Be certain that you reference the Walden video within your post.  Also, here are resources that might help you with questioning strategies.

Barton, J., Heilker, P. & Rutkowski (n.d.) Fostering Effective Classroom Discussions. Virginia Tech.  Retrieved from .

Laureate Education, Inc. (2010).  Assessing Interaction and Collaboration in Online Environments. Retrieved from

Muilenburg, L., & Berge, Z. (2000). A framework for designing questions for online learning. Berge Collins Associates Available online: http://www. emoderators. com/moderators/muilenburg. html [19 July 2003].

By Friday

Post your suggestions for instructor participation in online discussions.  Refer to the video and one of the other suggested sources.  Feel free to utilize personal experiences and outside resources.

By the end of Saturday

Read through the postings and respond to at least two of your colleagues’ posts.  You may:

  • Explain how and why you see things differently.
  • Share insight from having read the posting.
  • Connect the information to another post.
  • Validate an opinion with your own experience.
  • Expand on your colleagues’ posting.

Please return to this posting and read the responses to your initial post.  Share with us an insight from this activity.


Here is the rubric.


Plagiarism Detection and Prevention


    Plagiarism is a hot topic currently, especially when discussion online learning courses.  In fact, this topic has become so widely discussed that numerous plagiarism detection software has been developed.  Many universities utilize this software as part of the paper submission process.  Walden University utilizes Turnitin, while other educational institutions utilize Essay Verification Engine (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006).  Students are also able to utilize plagiarism detection software such as Grammerly, iThenticate, Scanmyessay and Plagiarism Detector.  This has come to be because there is such a concern over academic honesty in online courses (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006).  However, students cheat the same amount in online course that they cheat in traditional courses (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).

            As a result of this concern over academic honesty, online courses are being designed with honesty in mind.  Originally, universities offered testing sites that monitored academic honesty during testing.  Now, professors and instructional designers focus on creating assignments that are application based and therefore difficult to actually cheat.  For example, instead of giving a test, one can require a written essay (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).  Another way to prevent cheating is to design assignments in which talking to other students and gathering information is not cheating.  There are rarely instances in the real world in which employees are not allowed to discuss problems or utilize the computer to look things up.  Education should mirror this (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).  To me, this is the best way to insure academic honesty.  We need to think about the types of assignments that are conducive to the learning environment and choose wisely.


            I would also recommend that instructors educate their students.  Not all students view copying and pasting someone else’s work as cheating (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).  Additionally, students do not understand that utilizing their own work from a previous class is cheating (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).  There are also copyright laws to be respected when utilizing pictures and online sources.  Many students are ignorant of these rules.  Education can go a long way toward reducing cheating in our digital world.  One final word of encouragement is to utilize the Media Center.  This is a great resource.  Most media centers include materials for teaching about plagiarism and many higher learning institutions include a writing center to assist students with writing their paper as well as academic integrity of the writing.  As an instructor, I will utilize these strategies to prevent cheating in my courses.




Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by adult learners online: A case study in detection and remediation. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 7(1), 1-15.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2010) Plagiarism and Cheating, retrieved on October 8, 2013 from


Technology in Education


What impact does technology and multimedia have on online learning environments?

      Technology has dramatically changed over the last fifty years.  Now students are playing educational games and working with in depth simulations.  This has completely changed the face of education.  Instructors can now choose the appropriate tool for each situation and successfully aid the learner in achieving the objectives (Goodrich, 2013).


What are the most important considerations an online instructor should make before implementing technology?

      Instructors must be aware that there are many tools available for utilization within a classroom.  As such, it is important to choose the tool based upon instructional objectives, not choose an interesting tool and find a place for it (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).  Being specific in the pedagogical utilization of new technology is very important.  Additionally, an instructor must be aware of student technological proficiency and internet speed.  These two things have the greatest impact on student success in an online environment (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).


What implications do usability and accessibility of technology tools have for online teaching?

      This is the most important aspect of technology utilization.  Having the latest and greatest technology, but no skill in utilizing it is pointless.  Students in online courses come from a myriad of backgrounds.  It is necessary to be cognizant of the student readiness for technology options.  While some sections of your course may be able to utilize advanced software, this is not the case for all students.  Providing an education means being aware of impediments such as technology failures or difficulties and providing alternatives.  For example, Lucid Charts is not an easy program to utilize for beginning users.  However, the benefits outweigh the difficulties.  As such, I would provide tutorials and be available for video conferencing and sharing my screen throughout the utilization of this tool.


What technology tools are most appealing to you for online teaching as you move forward in your career in instructional design?

Obviously, I will incorporate discussions also called forums.  These help build a community and are effective for actively engaging students.  Although I cannot cite any other specific tool without an understanding of what I will be teaching, I will list a few of my favorite tools that I utilize in my current position. 

  • Google Applications – this allows real time collaboration on documents, presentations and data collections.
  • Simulations/Games – I always find one or two that reinforce or provide extensions.  It is important to me that I provide alternative ways to process information.
  • ScreenCasting – As we move into an informational age, I have found numerous students unable to utilize software.  A simple screen cast eliminates this problem.
  • Google Voice is a new software that I will begin utilizing.  It provides a phone number and archives all messages.  It also provides an mp3 file and a text copy of the voicemail.



Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


Goodrich, David (2011).  What are the effects of multimedia on learning?Retrieved from:

Laureate Education, Inc. (2010).  Enhancing the online experience.  Retrieved from



Online Learning


          Technology is a fantastic tool when you are capable of utilizing it properly.  As an instructor it is very important to understand the tools available to you (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).  This can make your course more interactive and engaging.  If you are unfamiliar with the technology, it can make your course harder for your students.  In fact, I often have students in my classes who complain about teachers who do not know how to use the technology they ask students to utilize.  Additionally, I work with teachers who could make their classes easier by utilizing technology appropriately.  In an online course this need becomes magnified (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).  Instructors must be able to help students with the technology that they choose to use.  If they cannot, credibility can become an issue.  As an instructor, I always test new technology several times before deploying it with my students.


                Communication is the key to creating a successful online environment.  It is important for the instructor’s presence to be felt by students early and often (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).  The best way to keep students from feeling isolated is to communicate with them throughout the course (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).  Some instructors prefer e-mails while others work via discussion threads.  The one thing that I have learned is that it does not matter what method you utilize as long as your students feel connected to you on a personal and social level.

Key Points                

                Every time I take an online course, I learn something new about online learning.  One of the things that surprised me this week was the importance of introductory activities.  Getting acquainted with each other and setting up a positive learning community are top priority for the beginning two weeks of an online course (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).  When working in my online courses I will focus on the themes of presence, community, patience and clear expectations (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).  While accomplishing these things, I will be cognizant of my role as the instructor.  I am the guide on the side, not sage on the stage (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). 


Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2012). Online Learning Communities.  [Video webcast]. Retrieved from

Online Learning Environments

ImageOnline learning is equivalent to face-to-face learning courses.  However, the online learning community has a significant impact on both student learning and satisfaction with the course.  Dr. Rena Palloff explains that an online learning community allows us to support each other in the learning process and co-construct knowledge and meaning.  Dr. Keith Pratt believes that we can also challenge each other and help each other grow by drawing things out of each other and correct each other in a way that the instructor cannot.  According to Dr. Palloff, student perception of learning increases and outcomes are must stronger (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). 


The online learning community requires five elements:  people, purpose, process, interaction and presence (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).  This means that an online learning community must have students and an instructor that interact with each other.  Additionally, there must be a reason for the interaction.  In our case, this would be a Master’s Degree in Instructional Design.  Finally, there must be a process or delivery of the course.  This is usually accomplished via a LMS or CMS, in our case, Blackboard.  Each course is divided into weeks with specific activities for each week.  These activities require interaction as part of the assignments.  That ensures interactivity throughout the entire course.

An online learning community can be sustained via interactivity.  Students must be present in the online learning environment (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).  They are no longer passive knowledge-absorbers, but active knowledge generators (Conrad & Donaldson, 2011).  This means that groups are less than twenty and activities require a high degree of interaction (Conrad & Donaldson, 2011).  The instructor is a facilitator who keeps the students engaged by guiding the discussion (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).

Image                Community building is the hallmark of effective online instruction.  The student’s role as an engaged learner develops over time (Conrad & Donaldson, 2011).  The faculty’s role becomes that of a mentor and a member of the community (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010).  The guide on the side is responsible for setting the tone, but the students build the actual community.  Everyone is responsible for providing a positive learning environment (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).  In this environment, students can thrive and education occurs that is equivalent to the traditional learning environments.



Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Conrad, R., & Donaldson, J. A. (2011). Engaging the online learner: Activities and resources for creative instruction (Updated ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2010).  “Online learning communities.”  Retrieved from: