WISE Excellence in Online Teaching Award Recipients
Best Practices – 2006
Bruce W. Dearstyne
University of Maryland
Best Practices: Constantly engage the students. Actively participate in online discussions, pointing to particularly strong student postings and raising questions to move the discussion along. Respond to assignments and research papers with reactions and suggestions that help push students' insights. Maintain a "News" forum for postings about current news items and reports that relate to the topics of the course, to show relevance and keep bringing in fresh material. E-mail students with questions and concerns, and respond promptly to e-mail questions from them.
What Professor Dearstyne’s students say: “His diligent work made the course such a rewarding experience for me: knowledge-wise as well as enjoyable online learning experience; I didn’t feel lonely – enjoyed sitting in front of the compute “talking to” and “listening from” your professor and classmates”
Managing Information Systems Projects
Best Practices: One: Maintain a strong presence in the course, with feedback
on bulletin board discussions and injection of real-world examples and
experience. Two: Well-organized materials and clear expectations, with
meaningful assignments tied closely with the weekly lectures and readings.
Three: Provide Quick feedback on assignments with the opportunity to improve.
What Professor Emborski’s students say: “The professor made the course uniquely a uniquely positive experience for me by managing to use an online asynchronous environment that made me feel involved and included. I thought this was great considering I was in New Zealand and he was in America. He encouraged all students to participate in forums and communicated extremely well through WebCT by providing all instructions and assignments in a timely manner…”
Adult Popular Fiction & Reader's Advisory Services
Best Practices: Keep it real. No matter what your subject matter is that you are teaching pulling real life scenarios into the online environment will give your students practical and authentic experience in a learning environment. I feel it is essential to provide lots of guidance and to keep the class very organized while at the same time being open to going with the flow of true learning. This builds trust and provides the student with a strong environment for experimentation and growth.
What Professor Hendzlik’s students say: “Dr. Hendzlik was always extremely prompt in answering both my questions and those of my classmates. This is often lacking in online courses and was my biggest source of frustration as an online student. She was always connected to her virtual audience throughout the class.”
Indexing and Abstracting
Best Practices: I build motivation and self confidence by encouraging students to share their work with everyone in the class even in its formative stages - warts and all. The art of collegial critique is a lifelong skill, but it also builds a sense of community, trust, and co-teaching where everyone can contribute. I don't consider a class a success unless I have learned from my students and they from each other as well.
What Professor Kwasnik’s Students Say: “She constantly responded to discussion questions (often with humor) and simulated an interactive class...always very affirming of comments and offered additional responses when needed. …offered her lectures in various formats to make them feel more 'live'.”
University of Pittsburgh
History of Children’s Literature
Best Practices: I try to provide the distance students the same sorts of
things that are available to on campus students (by posting lecture notes,
providing videos from the lectures, choosing textbooks that support the material
in the class, providing readings via PDF as possible). I also try to make sure
that they have ample opportunity to communicate with me.
What Professor Mahoney’s students say: “Elizabeth was very enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and (important in an online class) accessible! I came away with a huge appreciation for children's literature that was a result of her well-organized, informative, and engaging lessons, which included great readings and resources… I also appreciated her timely responses to my many emails, especially when WISE students were having some trouble with Blackboard emailing.”
Steven J. Miller
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Best Practices: One best practice is to have students work in small groups on exercises, due every two or three weeks, which link course principles and concepts with practical applications. Giving full credit for good-faith attempts rather than assigning individual grades helps alleviate student anxiety and encourages contributions as part of a shared, collaborative learning process. The specifics of the group exercises cumulatively model for the students what they must submit for a final individually-graded course project, in which each must demonstrate their ability to apply what they learned in the exercises to a unique instance of their own creation.
What Professor Miller’s students say: “This was a very inspiring course for me as a practicing librarian returning to library school courses, showing there’s interest for setting a very high bar for online library school instruction that promotes student learning both for new library school students and for professional development…”
Hope A. Olson
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Feminism, Librarianship, & Information
Best Practices: Virtual guests in online discussion add authority and richness by allowing students to interact with experts locally, nationally, and globally to an extent that would be nearly impossible in a face-to-face classroom.
What Professor Olson’s students say: “Professor Olsen provided the class with a supportive and stimulating learning environment where we were free to debate and challenge both her and our fellow students …The class really established a good sense of community and I was sorry when the semester was over.”
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Cataloguing and Classification I
Best Practices: A lot of students come into cataloging afraid of the complexity of the subject, and weekly online exercises are an essential part of getting them past the fear. They give the students a shared experience in an OPAC or a cataloging tool so they develop greater confidence in interacting with cataloging records. I like to use humor and clever searches to break the trance of passive browsing, to focus in on a level of detail that doesn't come naturally to most students.
What Professor Tarsala’s students say: “Professor Tarsala would be a fantastic teacher in a regular classroom. In the context of the online environment, she was able to use online techniques to the same purpose--to make her class feel welcome, supported, and capable of dealing with difficult concepts...”