Learning and Development, Training, eLearning, Educational Technology, Human Services, and more…

Chickering and Ehrmann described asynchronous communication as an important example of how technology can be used to facilitate student-faculty communication outside of class. They point out that asynchronous technology such as email increase opportunities for students and faculty to “exchange work more speedily and more thoughtfully and safely.”

Communication with students during these times of uncertainty is more important than ever. I’m pleased to report that my college has really stepped up faculty support as they cautiously make plans to allow some students and faculty to come to campus this Fall. The plan is to offer the following four types of courses:

  • Hybrid courses (partial online/partial in-person) will be called On Campus 50% for student communication. The schedule will provide meeting days/times and the associated room number.
  • Remote synchronous courses will be totally online with synchronous meetings via Zoom, WebEx, MashMe or other video tools. Students will see the name VIRTUAL in the schedule in place of the room number and the days/times will remain for scheduling the synchronous sessions.
  • Remote asynchronous courses will be all online and students will not have any specific times to meet online. Optional synchronous office hours or help sessions can be scheduled. Students will see the name REMOTE in the schedule in place of the room number and no days/times will be listed.
  • Online courses will remain the same as in the past with no changes.

In an Instructional Town Hall, the college shared some great information with faculty to help them prepare for a variety of course modalities. They provided the following guidelines for communicating with students:

  • 2 weeks before class starts, email students describing how the class will run
  • 1 week before class starts, email students again
  • Regular communication – set expectations

I plan to follow their recommendations and reach out to my students at least 2 weeks before class to describe how our online class will run.  I’ll let me students know that our online course will be primarily asynchronous, and we’ll use VoiceThread for our learning interactions.VoiceThread Slide

Chickering and Gamson’s research revealed that student contact both inside and outside of class is a most important factor in student motivation and involvement. During these COVID times, it is critical for instructors to find multiple ways to connect with their remote students.


It is no secret that technology and online education are disrupting teaching and learning. This disruption started well before the COVID pandemic. Some people argue that this disruption to education is long overdue. My hope is that this time will provide

photo of woman using laptop

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faculty and teachers an opportunity to re-think their teaching practices as they pivot to teaching online. When Chickering and Gamson published the seven principles of good practice, we were in the very early stages of using computers and the Internet in education. Chickering and Erhmann’s (1996) essay entitled, “Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as a Lever”, encouraged educators to employ technology in ways consistent with the seven principles of good practice. They stated, “Any given instructional strategy can be supported by a number of contrasting technologies (old and new); just as any given instructional strategy, some technologies are better than others: Better to turn a screw with a screwdriver than a hammer – a dime may also do the trick, but a screwdriver is usually better.”

Modern technologies, when applied with the seven principles in mind, can increase student engagement, learning, and satisfaction. This blog series will describe how faculty and teachers can use 21st century technology to support research-based principles of good practice.


Chickering and Gamson (1987) introduced the “Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education” over thirty years ago to improve undergraduate education. These principles were based on decades of research on college level teaching and learning. The Seven Principles of Good Practice are:

1. Encourage Contact Between Students and Faculty

2. Develop Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students

3. Use Active Learning Techniques

4. Provide Prompt Feedback

5. Emphasizes Time on Task

6. Communicates High Expectations

7. Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning

Chickering and Gamson noted that “while each practice can stand on its own, when all are present their effects multiply.” I believe these principles have stood the test of time.   

Since this seminal research was first published, a plethora of new technological innovations have been introduced that impact current pedagogical practices. Both old and new technologies we use in education today are what Ehrmann (1995) described as “worldware” which refers to software or technology that “isn’t designed for instruction” but is also used for teaching and learning.

The exciting thing about today’s worldware is that it is much easier to use and is often available for free! In addition, schools and universities are adopting learning management systems which incorporate easy to use tools that can effectively support these principles. Crews, Wilkinson, and Neill (2015) examined how the seven principles can be applied to online course design to improve student success. They concluded that “all seven principles are essential in the development of teaching within the online environment.”  

Chickering and Ehrmann encouraged faculty to explore technologies that are “interactive, problem oriented, relevant to real-world issues, and that evoke student motivation.” This blog series will describe how innovative teachers leverage 21st technologies to support each principle of good practice. 


Chickering, Arthur W.; Gamson, Zelda F. (March 1987). Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. AAHE Bulletin, p 3-7.

Chickering, Arthur W.; Ehrmann, Stephen C. (October 1996). Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as a Lever. AAHE Bulletin, 3-6.

Crews, Tena B.; Neill, Jason K.; Wilkinson, Kelly (2015). Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education: Effective Online Course Design to Assist Students’ Success. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Vol. 11, No. 1.

Wow, I just checked, and it has been over a year since my last blog post! In the past year I changed careers from online education in higher ed to a training and learning and development role in state government. There are a lot of similarities and differences in these two worlds but I’ll save my reflections about that for a future post. I’ve learned so much this last year!

Today, I feel compelled to share some of the things I learned today at an AWESOME Digital Learning & Development conference sponsored by the The Alchemy LAB. Below is a screenshot of a few of their upcoming sessions.

I learned about this conference and the Alchemy LAB just yesterday from Alex Joyes, a senior learning and development specialist at a Canadian Bank. I met Alex at a 2-day Cornerstone training that we both attended in Santa Monica in February, 2020; back in the good ole days when we were able to do training in-person. I really didn’t want to spend my Saturday at a work-related digital conference but the sessions looked interesting, so I decided to pop in for just a few minutes. 

The first session I attended was titled, “Interact and Engage! Activities for Engaging Virtual Training.” Kassy Laborie’s session was so good I attended 3 more sessions which were all fantastic! Kassy kicked off her session by explaining the difference between a Webinar and Live Virtual Training and I was intrigued.

The Alchemy Lab is using a platform called Crowdcast for their L&D conference. Crowdcast allows you to clip out and then share video clips via embed code or a url. On a side note, I was disappointed that the embed code won’t work in WordPress unless I upgraded to WordPress “Premium.” I was happy to discover I am still able to embed YouTube videos (see below). Here is one of the many tidbits I wrote down from Kati Ryan’s excellent session about onboarding.

“What we do AFTER training is more important than what we do DURING training.”

Kati Ryan, The Alchemy Lab Digital L&D – May 9, 2020

Check out a video snippet from Kati session called “Wake and Shake Them Up: Injecting Fun Into Your Onboarding Training.”

I have embed code for Kati’s presentation and others but for now, I can’t share them on my blog. If you happen to be reading this on May 9, 2020, there is still time to register for tomorrow’s sessions.

Because of COVID-19, I’m converting a 3-day in-person New Worker Training to a Live Virtual Training over 2 weeks. One of the takeaways from today that I’ll implement in our training is sharing how to use the interactive components of our platform BEFORE our virtual training. This may also give our participants a “heads-up” that they will be expected to engage with the presenter, the content, and one another during our virtual New Worker Training.

I think most of the folks who attended the L&D conference were able to figure it out without the tutorial but many audiences need this type of resource.

That’s all for now!

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I just attended the CHLOE 3: Behind the Numbers webinar which was the third in a series of webinars based on a survey of chief online officers from all sectors of U.S. higher education. The webinar was presented by Richard Garrett, Eduventures Chief Research Officer, ACT | NRCCUA and Ronald Legon, Executive Director Emeritus, Quality Matters, and discussed enrollment trends, the typical structure of online courses, institutional governance practices for online programs, and analysis of online quality assurance as a process.

Participate in the CHLOE 4 survey

The CHLOE 4 annual survey will be distributed soon. Contact Barbara Burch at bburch@qualitymatters.org to confirm that it will be sent to your institution’s Director of Online Learning or Chief Online Officer (COO). Expanded topics in the CHLOE 4 survey will include:

  • Pros and cons of centralized vs. distributed support functions
  • Preparing faculty to teach online
  • Relationship between the COO and other senior administrators
  • Update findings on the use of online program managers (OPMs)

Check out a recording one of the earlier CHLOE 3 webinars below.

CHLOE 3 Highlights Webinar

Please make sure your institution will be represented in the CHLOE 4 survey.

Thanks to Regis faculty members Tom Yagosor and Bob Spagnola for their presentation, “Let’s Debate: Active Learning in the Online Classroom” at Friday’s eLearning Consortium of Colorado (eLCC) meeting. Tom and Bob teach both online and face-to-face courses at Regis and they shared how they recently started using Zoom in their online classes for debates.

This was my first eLCC meeting for over a year and it was great to see both old and new members. We were also treated to a tour of the Innovation Center which is located in the middle of faculty offices in Regis University’s College of Business and Economics.

Innovation Center

The room was designed so that the technology is always on to avoid needing to connect. The walls are writable and markers are stored in the ottoman chairs. eLCC meets monthly and is hosted by member campuses each month. Thanks to Regis for hosting a great meeting!

eLCC Conference in Breckenridge, CO

eLCC’s annual conference will take place Wednesday April 17 – 19, 2019 at Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, CO. The Call for Proposals for the conference has been extended to March 18, 2019. Special hotel rates are valid until March 8, 2019.

The eLCC conference draws people from across the nation and is a wonderful opportunity to connect with peers in higher ed who are using technology and online learning to provide opportunities for students.

According to Dr. Tony Bates, there are systemic problems with leadership in online learning management in higher education.  In one of his 2018 year end reviews titled “2018 review of online learning: weak leadership,” Tony describes two classic cases of weak leadership in the area of digital and online learning. Dr. Bates is a Canadian scholar with a distinguished background in the area of distance learning.

black and white blackboard business chalkboard
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The e-Learning cases he highlighted were:

Case 1: There was no project management, no change of course design, no course director, and three months before the course was due to be launched, no confirmed instructors. Worst of all, the department was not listening to the advice of the Centre for Teaching and Learning

Case 2: Under pressure from a couple of deans, the acting provost of a large university summons all the deans to a meeting to discuss ‘what we should be doing about e-learning.’ An external expert is invited to address the meeting for about 20 minutes. This is followed by a largely unstructured discussion where it is clear that about a third of the deans are anxious to move ahead rapidly with blended and fully online courses for credit, about half are open to moving but need more resources and technical help before making any commitments, and one or two are sullenly quiet, suggesting opposition….

Twelve months later, the situation remains the same, under a new Provost.

Does this sound familiar? Many higher education administrators and faculty members are still ignorant about the benefits and challenges of online and hybrid education. Universities need a strategic plan for online education so classic cases like the above are not so common.

Tony Bates is a well known leader in online teaching and administration. You can learn more about online learning from Dr. Bates by following his blog or by reading his free, open textbook, Teaching in a Digital Age. I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Bates and attend one of his sessions at the 2017 World Conference on Online Learning

Don’t miss Tony’s other 2018 year-end reviews:

Members of the academic community have very strong opinions about online education. These opinions are often negative and based on myths, not evidence. Some like to share their negative perceptions in the comments section of articles or blogs about online education.  Here is an example from the comment section of a recent Inside Higher Ed article entitled, “Online Education Ascends.”

Are we really ready to accept that the students are the best judges of the quality of an education they are just starting? And all kinds of things are here to stay, and most of them are horrible. That’s hardly a selling point. And maybe this is the heart of the problem. Online education for most administrations is a selling point and has very little to do with educational quality. (By: 3rd Tyrant)

I think 3rd Tyant’s comment was in response to Stewart Sutin’s comment that online education is here to stay.  Sutin shared some well researched tips about how to ensure the quality of online education by:

  • Carefully selecting online instructors
  • Providing instructors with adequate training and access to course design specialists
  • Providing adequate budgets to support faculty and quality programs
  • Providing ample tech support
  • Ensuring institutional objectives extend beyond enrollment growth

I agree with all of the above. I also appreciated Chris’s reply to 3rd Tyrant’s comment,

“Why the assumption that in-person is high quality but online is not?”

I’m guessing 3rd Tyrant has bought into the common myths about teaching online and hasn’t done research on the subject.  3rd Tyrant and other online education naysayers need to take time to learn the facts about teaching online.  The video below does an excellent job of responding to the ten most commons myths about teaching online.

This video is one of the many excellent resources from Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence.

I had a great experience using VoiceThread in my online class last Fall and this year I’m using it for my Syllabus overview.  This is a super easy way to provide students with a personalized syllabus summary in an online course. I’ll be using the FREE version of VoiceThread again this year.

I’ll be sharing my experiences teaching with VoiceThread at the Magna Teaching with Technology conference in St. Louis on Oct. 7, 2018.  The title of my presentation is “Supporting Effective Teaching and Learning Principles with VoiceThread.”


I’m using FlipGrid for the first time this year starting with class introductions. We will use both tools during the course to move beyond text-based discussions. FlipGrid and VoiceThread give us asynchronous opportunities to hear and see one another, and build a sense of community within the course. I have approval to do a study to explore how  using FlipGrid and VoiceThread impact proven principles of good practice.

I decided to add FlipGrid as a required participation tool after hearing from a few  faculty who tried it out in their online course and claimed their students loved it!  I also like the fact that FlipGrid is now part of the Office 365 suite so educators can now take advantage of features only previously available be a paid license.

Finally, giving students an opportunity to explore these technologies supports several outcomes for a course about teaching, learning & technology.  I can’t wait to give them a try!




One of the most exciting benefits of learning to teach online is that it positively impacts pexels-photo-245132_Diversityface-to-face (FTF) teaching by:

  1. improving the use and integration of digital media and technology in face-to-face classes;
  2. making more extensive and better use of the Learning Management System tools;
  3. moving faculty from the “sage on the stage” to the “guide on the side”;
  4. offering professors more flexibility of how, when, and where they teach their class;
  5. motivating professors to learn more about pedagogy and course design for all courses;
  6. promoting the alignment of learning objectives to content, assessments, interactions, and activities in all courses.

Empirical research from faculty who participated in an intensive 4-week Teaching Online Workshop (TOW) at a private, non-profit university, supports external research findings (McQuiggens 2012, Sener 2012) that learning to teach online has a positive impact on F2F teaching.

The vast majority of TOW faculty agreed that learning to teach an online course has positively influenced how they teach their on-campus courses.


Learning Management Systems like Blackboard, Canvas, and BrightSpace often get a bad rap in higher education.  The key is how faculty members leverage these systems to support student learning.  Below are testimonials from Teaching Online Workshop graduates about how teaching online has impacted their LMS use in face-to-face courses

Testimonials about more extensive use of LMS

These findings are good news for students and higher education overall. When instructors apply what they learn about effective online learning practices to their face-to-face classrooms, it is a win-win for everyone!


Keairns, Kathy, & Tobin, Heather (2015). Faculty as Students: One Model for Preparing Faculty to Develop and Teach Online. Distance Teaching & Learning Conference. Madison, WI.

McQuiggan, Carol A. (2012).Faculty Development for Online Teaching as a Catalyst for      Change. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, Volume 16: Issue 2.

Sener, J. (2012). The Seven Futures of American Education: Improving Learning and Teaching in a Screen-Captured World. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing.



Are you ready to network with colleagues and LEARN strategies that support project-based learning, flipped learning, universal design for learning, and more?  Mark your calendar for August 1 & 2, 2018, and then register for the 2018 COLTT conference. COLTT Flyer