Full course description

Course Date:

Nov 14 - Dec 19, 2016


5 weeks


3 hrs/week



Course Type:





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.

Course Instructors

Whitney Kilgore

Whitney Kilgore

Higher Ed Consultant

Whitney is a consultant working with institutions of higher education to build high quality online programs. She has an extensive background in education, leadership, educational technology, strategic planning, learning management systems, professional service delivery, and organizational change. Her primary areas of focus are faculty professional development, personalized adaptive digital content, and learner engagement. Her PhD research focused on the use of social media to support informal professional learning for educators.

Twitter: @WhitneyKilgore

Maha Al-Freih

Maha Al-Freih


Maha Al-Freih is a lecturer of Educational Technology at Princess Nora University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She received her B.S. in Computer Science from King Saud University, Riyadh and her M.A. in Teaching and Learning with Technology from Santa Clara University, CA. During her time in Saudi Arabia, she provided technology training for the Institute of Banking and Alyamama University as well as faculty training workshops on the integration of social media in teaching and learning at Princess Nora University. In addition to teaching and technology training, she has participated in a number of national and international conferences. Read More.

Maha Al-Freih is currently a PhD candidate in Learning Technologies Design Research with an emphasis in Instructional Systems Design at George Mason University, VA where she also works as a graduate research assistant. Her primary research interests include learners’ engagement and persistence in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Personal Learning Environments (PLEs), Self-Regulated Learning (SRL), Learning Analytics, and Design-Based Research (DBR).

Patrice Prusko

Patrice Prusko


Patrice has been designing, developing and teaching online and blended courses since 2001. She is passionate about using technology to increase global access to STEM education and enable all students to have a globally networked learning experience. At Cornell University she is working on the design, production, and support for CornellX MOOCs, online courses and digital initiatives. She regularly collaborates with internal and external groups on innovative uses of technology, and the use of synchronous tools to increase community, global collaboration and engagement.

Her PhD research focused on women, mathematics and self-efficacy. The title of her dissertation was "Five Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Majors: A Portraiture of their Lived Experiences"

Matt Crosslin

Matt Crosslin


Matt Crosslin is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator for the LINK Research Lab at the University of Texas at Arlington. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. His favorite areas of expertise include instructional design, learning innovation, open learning, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, and networked learning. Matt recently earned a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, where his dissertation research focused on course designs that allow learners to create their own pathway through the learning experience.