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(HE) Humanizing Online Instruction: The #HumanMOOC

via Canvas Network

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Humanizing Online Instruction: Building a Community of Inquiry is a 4-week Micro-MOOC made available on the Canvas Open Network. This course is designed to prepare online instructors who teach college and university courses to be able to increase instructor, social, and cognitive presence in their online courses. Each of the weekly modules contains annotated research related to the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework, grounding the application-based activities in theory. Engagement in this networked community of practice is designed to stimulate the process of inquiry and collaboration among educators. Participants will explore emerging technologies and create digital assets that they can employ in their own instruction.

In an effort to ensure that the course would be pedagogically beneficial for faculty who teach online, the pedagogical competencies for online teaching success defined by Penn State were reviewed. The Humanizing Online Instruction MOOC addresses nine of the 27 competencies. The competencies that are aligned with this course include (1) attend to the unique challenges of distance learning where learners are separated by time and geographic proximity and interactions are primarily asynchronous in nature, (2) provide detailed feedback on assignments and exams, (3) communicate with students about course progress and changes, (4) promote and encourage a learning environment that is safe and inviting and mutually respectful, (5) monitor and manage student progress, (6) communicate course goals and outcomes, (7) provide evidence to students of their presence in the course on a regular basis, (8) effectively use course communication systems, and (9) communicate expectations of student course behavior (Ragan, Bigatel, Kennan, & Dillon, 2012). The course objectives were carefully crafted to align with these competencies.

Course Objectives

  1. Evaluate the use of several asynchronous tools that enhance teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence to meet the needs of learners who choose distance learning for the sake of convenience.
  2. Evaluate and choose the audio/video screencasting tool that will be used for providing learners feedback via video.
  3. Develop a sample course announcement using audio and/or video to include in a comprehensive course communication plan.
  4. Demonstrate good digital citizenship using instructor presence.
  5. Explore and select a new method of monitoring and managing student progress using voice and video.
  6. Develop course goals and outcomes communications.
  7. Develop a personal action plan explaining the new communication strategies to enhance instructor, cognitive, and social presence that will be included in the learners’ future courses.
  8. Create triggering events for your own course that build learners problem- resolution strategies in order to deepen cognitive presence.


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  • Profile image for Cathy Schmidt Barnes
    Cathy Schmidt Barnes
    I took this course 2 years ago and am signing up again, because I know I will learn more. If you are an online instructor, faculty development director, or just plain interested in learning about how online ed can be more human, you don't want to miss this opportunity to share tips, techniques, and resources with educators around the globe! Highly recommend this course. Cathy Barnes, University of Cincinnati, OH USA

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