1

Does anyone know examples where online courses (or other similar eLearning methods) are currently used effectively in the curriculum of a university?

3

There are several types of online learning. Some practical considerations you seem to be wondering about are meeting times, delivery methods, and best practices in online learning.

The time of meeting could be described as synchronous, asynchronous, or a combination of both. Synchronous refers to the practice of the students and instructor meeting online on specific days at specific times. Asynchronous means that the students and instructor do not have to "meet" or connect online on specific days and times. Most online courses are asynchronous.

The delivery methods of online course content is as varied as the universities, majors, and faculty involved. Nearly all of them will use an LMS, or Learning Management System, to deliver course content to students. Some of the most popular are Blackboard, Brightspace by D2L, and Canvas. The content itself may be text-based, video-based or audio based and may include interactive elements, whether simply utilizing the discussion and quiz tools in the LMS or more complex learning interactions such as simulations or gamification.

You can get started in finding some of the best practices for online instruction can be found by searching academic research using keywords such as: elearning, distance learning, online, best practices in online learning (or elearning, or distance learning), and postsecondary (higher ed) educational technology. Another research topic that might be of interest to you is instructional design models. Many of the best practices in online teaching and learning have much in common with F2F best practices. The delivery method is simply the means, not the end.

Additionally, there are universities offering bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in instructional technology, instructional design, or educational technology where one can make a study and subsequently, a career, in online learning. There are also many national and international organizations devoted to the continual improvement of distance/online learning/elearning in both K-12 and higher ed.

2

Online master's programs are quite common in Library and Information {Science|Studies} schools/departments. Sometimes there is a (very limited) requirement for face-to-face attendance, e.g. an opening orientation bootcamp.

As far as I know, no online LIS program has lost accreditation merely for being online. Admittedly that's not the best way to measure effectiveness, but it's hard to know what is, exactly.

Some working professionals still maintain a hiring bias against students from online programs. To the best of my knowledge that has diminished over time (though not to zero), and in my experience most of their objections (when they can be bothered to articulate them) are either mistaken or specious.

  • Could you please explain more about the practical aspects? How are exams carried out, is there live interaction (videochat or similar), video lectures or lectrue notes? Are there any best practices? – 50k4 Nov 5 '15 at 8:48
  • Few exams on the master's level (it's usually project-based work), but we can either use the learning-management system's quiz function or do a timed release of an exam paper. Live interaction level varies; where I am, some require it and some (like me) prefer wholly-asynchronous. Video lectures are common; most of us post our lecture slides for students also. Best practices -- large literature on this, check it out. :) – D.Salo Nov 5 '15 at 13:06
  • could you give sime hints how to search for the literature on best practices? – 50k4 Nov 5 '15 at 13:57

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