Reimagining Student Satisfaction and Persistence is as Easy as 1–2–3

Concurrent Session 1 & 2 (combined)

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Three practical areas where quality online instruction is clearly visible and easily achievable are determined by . . . ONE: Exhibiting “The Rules of the Road for Online Presence,” TWO: Using “Fun Ways to Enhance Forum Discussions,” and THREE: Employing “Innovative Strategies for Creating Assignments.” Student satisfaction and persistence will soar!


Dr. J. Louis Spencer is the Department Chair for Educational Leadership and Student Life in the School of Arts, Humanities, and Education as well as Associate Professor in the School of Business at American Public University System (APUS). Jan previously served as the Faculty Director for 100+ instructors in the education programs at APUS, which involved maintaining a high quality of teaching practice through training and educating for success. He continues to maintain a weekly faculty blog so that instructors are kept up to date regarding teaching practices as well as university events. Jan received a B.A. in Pastoral Ministry from Life Pacific University, an M.A. in Religion from Azusa Pacific University, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Regent University. His research focuses on vision conflict—the disparity between what employees expect their work to be like versus what they actually experience on the job.

Extended Abstract

Online education professionals continue on the lookout for the most effective tools and strategies for teaching and learning that are also among the most easily facilitated. With all the responsibilities that go into online instruction, maintaining a vital collegial role among other faculty members, and fulfilling your institution’s initiatives and mandates, having sufficient time to find those most-appropriate tools and strategies for teaching and learning may seem a bit out of reach. After all, what are the key areas of teaching “investment” that tend to result in the greatest student satisfaction and continuing persistence? Don’t we tend to glean many of our ideas when we come together and share them together? Plus, perhaps you have an inkling about some tools that you would like to discuss with others in the teaching community.

You likely know that there are three areas of online teaching that continue to rise to the forefront of importance for those who desire to inspire the best from their students: Online Presence, Creative Forum Discussions, and Innovative Assignments. The first area, Presence, has to do with Being There and Being Seen There in the classroom. This is critical for students as they develop a connection to the classroom. Knowing and practicing the rules of the road for communication and presence are, therefore, foundational to student satisfaction, and best of all, they are achievable by any faculty member who wants to be a memorable instructor in the minds and hearts of their students. The second and third areas—dealing with forum discussions and assignment development—have to do with the adoption of Innovative, and Interesting Ideas for the hands-on part of learning engagement. Learning can be FUN and it can incite creativity among students, resulting in an unforgettable experience in your classroom.

LEVEL OF PARTICIPATION: By coming together and sharing ideas—both by the session leader and by some of those in attendance—we will discover fresh and exciting ways to enhance the overall learning experience in our online classrooms. One of the ways we will accomplish this is by hearing from the session leader and then forming groups that come up with “the best idea of the group” to share with the corporate body of attendees. The “room” will vote which of the ideas from groups is the best for each of the three areas covered in the session. The impromptu “sharers” will each receive a participation gift.

SESSION GOALS: Attendees will benefit from hearing about important practices and strategies related to Online Presence, Creative Forum Discussions, and Innovative Assignments for higher education. They will be able to hear contemporary ideas from colleagues that relate to the enhancement of three important areas of online practice. Finally, attendees will come away with useable ideas for their own online classroom(s) and have some fun along the way.