Presence, Responsiveness, and Flexibility: What Do Non-traditional Students Need In an Online Course?

Concurrent Session 5
Equity and Inclusion

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

What are sound online teaching methods? As a player in this Jeopardy game, you’ll grapple with data-informed practices based on a 2021 study of online undergraduate and graduate students. Besides vying for points, you will depart the session with a toolkit of principles and practices for online course design.


I'm originally from St. Louis, MO, but my career began in Nicaragua. After completing my bachelor's degree in international development, I worked as an educator and principal for several years before returning to the United States. Since that time, I earned my Ed.M. International Education Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an MA. Sociocultural Anthropology from Columbia University. After moving back to Missouri, I joined Southeast Missouri State University as the Online Instructional Coordinator. In this capacity, I collaborate with faculty and staff to promote high-quality flexible learning experiences. My current focus is on building processes that support data-informed decision-making in content delivery, assessment, and technology adoption.
Andrea Thompson is an Online Program Specialist with Southeast Missouri State University. In this position, she acts as the primary advisor for online degree programs housed in the College of Education, Health, and Human Studies and the College of Humanities and Social Science. Andrea holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Missouri- Columbia and an MA in Higher Education Administration from Southeast Missouri State University. She is currently completing her Doctorate in Educational Practice and Leadership at the University of North Dakota.

Extended Abstract

What teaching methods work best online? How can instructors meet the needs of non-traditional students? This session will feature a series of research-backed takeaways on online course design and delivery based on a 2021 study of fully-online undergraduate and graduate students at a 4-year, comprehensive regional university. Attendees will depart the session with a list of overarching principles as well as a toolkit of specific, data-informed practices. That said, this session will not include a single bullet point; instead, attendees will engage with these takeaways through a rousing game of Jeopardy. While facilitating the game, the presenters will take time to share anecdotes and invite attendees to contribute to the discussion based on their own experiences. This session is well-suited for all attendees. Whether you are new to the online learning space or are a seasoned online instructor, you have something to learn and contribute here. Plus, who doesn’t love a good game show?