From Advising to Increasing Engagement in Courses: Enhancing Your Online Programs with Web Conferencing
Concurrent Session 5
In an effort to increase learning, community, and retention in distance learning programs, a growing number of advisors and online faculty are enhancing their online programs via purposeful integration of web conferencing. This session will present several current web conferencing tools and suggested best practices for effective web conferencing in online programs.
Student-student, student-faculty, and student-advisor interactions are critical components in establishing an engaging and successful online program. Interaction and engagement are essential ingredients of any teaching and learning environment, whether that is face-to-face classroom-based, synchronous/asynchronous online education, or blended models (Woo & Reeves, 2006). While many online instructors successfully integrate asynchronous tools such as discussion boards and email communications, a growing number of online faculty and advisors are supplementing and enhancing their online program interactions via synchronous communication methods, such as live chats and web conferencing. This session will focus on the purposeful planning and effective integration of web conferencing activities in the online learning environment. The following web conferencing tools to be discussed include, but are not limited to: Lync/Skype for Business, Adobe Connect, and the Canvas Conferences Tool.
It is generally known that the success of many online courses is contingent on the nature of student-student and student-faculty interaction (Picciano, 2002). As such, careful planning toward meaningful and engaging, online course experiences, like web conferencing, is key. While the asynchronous platform allows opportunity for real-time student-student and student-faculty interactions, structure and leadership is critical (Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005). Considering the role of the instructor or advisor in providing web conferencing activities that can both engage and promote potential, increased academic success for the online student, this session will also discuss recommended best practices from planning considerations, such as appropriate lesson examples and accessibility, to software and troubleshooting preparation. An informational take-away and other related, shared resources for the participants will be provided.