Using Videos to Enrich Your Teaching of Online Science Courses

 By Peter Jeschofnig, PhD, Founder of IEDSE: Institute for Excellence in Distance Science Education and Co-Author of “Teaching Lab Science Courses Online”

ComputerMedia_webNo matter how carefully we design the content of a new online science course, once we start teaching and getting student feedback, we learn that students often need extra help and additional clarification with certain course concepts and assignments.  After teaching a course once, it becomes obvious where we need to incorporate supplemental materials to create a much improved subsequent offering.   Among the many improvements made should be instructional video clips snatched from the plethora of multi-media teaching tools available online.

Most instructors use short video clips in face-to-face classes to get a discussion started, explain an especially difficult concept, show a hazardous demonstration, or share a fun experience.  The idea of enriching a class with videos is even more essential in the online learning environment.

Online classes should start with a personal instructor and course introduction video.  This gives the students a unique connection and means to establish rapport with the instructor plus can help enhance and clarify the course content, structure, and expectations.  The instructor’s willingness to share his/her image and enthusiasm for the subject greatly enhances students excitement about what they will be learning and sets the stage for the robust class discussions that are at the heart of online learning. Continue reading

Worlds of Learning – Let’s Get Virtual!

By Dr. John Jamison

Virtual_post

One of the emerging technologies for learning we’ve enjoyed watching develop is the collection of online, 3D, virtual-environment platforms. Becoming more visible with the entry of Second Life around 2003, a search will present a list of more than 1000 approaches to virtual environments, each with their own unique twist. Many of us were already exploring the use of “virtual” learning tools, using less intuitive tools to create “virtual humans;” examples of artificial intelligence on our computers. One of the approaches to that early work was Peter Plantec’s Virtual Humans: A Build-It-Yourself Kit, still a

vailable on Amazon and still of value to those interested in the field. I spent many hours with that book and CD, trying to recreate Peter’s “Sylvie,” the personality that lived on his computer, kept his schedule, and served as a “buddy.” Continue reading

Tenured online science instructor shares his secrets of success

By Dr. James  Brown, Associate Professor of Science at Ocean County College
Dr. Jim Brown

Dr. James Brown

Ocean County College (OCC) in Toms River, New Jersey has offered students online science courses since 2005. Jim Brown, Ph.D., teaches online human anatomy and physiology (A&P) and microbiology courses to OCC students. Why did he decide to move his courses online and has that changed the way he works with students?  Continue reading

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