Humanizing Online Instruction: The #HumanMOOC is a 4-week MOOC made available on Canvas Network. Humanizing online instruction means creating the sense of connectedness that has been noted in research as effective practice for engaging and retaining students. This MOOC introduces learners to the process of building community and emphasizes the human element in an online course through by increasing instructor, social, and cognitive presence. Prerequisite knowledge for this course is familiarity with online teaching and learning, willingness to interact and learn using a variety of technologies such as VoiceThread and YellowDig, and a desire to understand how multimedia might supplement instruction. This course is free and does not require a textbook. To be successful in this course, plan to spend approximately 3 hours per week completing activities and interacting with other participants. The primary audience for this course are those who wish to explore methods and tools that will enhance the sense of community and presence in online or hybrid learning.
In an effort to ensure that the course would be pedagogically beneficial, 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.
- Evaluate and choose the audio/video screencasting tool that will be used for providing learners feedback via video.
- Develop a sample course announcement using audio and/or video to include in a comprehensive course communication plan.
- Demonstrate good digital citizenship using instructor presence.
- Explore and select a new method of monitoring and managing student progress using voice and video.
- Develop course goals and outcomes communications.
- 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.
- Create triggering events for your own course that build learners problem- resolution strategies in order to deepen cognitive presence.