The article was last updated on August 23rd 2016.

It is a core aim of every teacher to routinely deliver the most helpful information based on a great depth of knowledge and experience within their online courses. However today online teachers usually face one more objective - engaging learners to grow beyond the course. You should use a number of great collaboration tools smartly to stimulate sharing useful information between students, peer-to-peer assistance, in-depth discussions which tend to go on even after the course is complete.

Today we would like to share with you a list of tips useful for every teacher how  to build an effective and inspiring relations scenario with students, create an open enough environment for collaboration and boost performance as a result of your teaching. The tips are mostly taken from a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) by Charles Severance (a.k.a. Dr. Chuck) – a Coursera Instructor at the University of Michigan School of Information and a co-creator of Open Source LMS (Sakai).

The core idea is that you should engage students to help a teacher and exhibit their skills. See below the list of core tips used by the e-Learning expert who has a reputation of never letting down his students and followers:

  • Is your audience multilingual? Ask your students to contribute in to the translation of your learning materials. E.g. the students enrolled in the MOOC mentioned above were happy to translate the video lecture’s subtitles and it worked successfully. Besides it definitely makes your learning materials easy to grasp when they are provided in students’ native languages;
  • Create a study group on Facebook or/and in the local community on your learning portal, create a Google+ hangout, add a special Twitter #hashtag for short discussions related to the course. Feel free to promote the idea to create social groups to your class and leave the study groups’ creation to active students’ care. It will be a useful set of resources that students can use within a course to swap stories, help each other, have a great time online and agree to meet offline. Students will be glad to take these discussion boards with them once your course is complete;
  • Create a board of fame for the most active students at the course discussion forum and invite your students to share names or links to public profiles of the best contributors to learning process by sharing useful information, assisting peers, translating learning materials and whatever is applicable. It motivates effectively to go on contributing;
  • Welcome the peer grading process for some assignments or mid-term exams. Thanks to an opportunity to fight with our own subjectivism  students learn to develop their objective evaluation and do the same regarding the entire world’s views and problems in the forum threads;
  • Create an optional survey and ask the students to propose questions for a final exam. It motivates the students to carry out a bit of extra research to come up with straightforward questions that really reflect the actual content of the course. Besides it makes the students aware of the hard work of teachers and gives them a chance to feel involved in a core teaching process;
  • Stay tuned to your students for a while after the course is complete. You might publish unique bonus content on the topic available for the course students only. Media content works the best (video, infographics or more). You might meet your former students all over the country or even all over the world if you have a travelling schedule. It will definitely encourage people to meet offline if you share a short video of your meeting with the students introducing the ones who came to meet you to the rest of the class. Dr. Chuck does it all successfully! For information check Dr. Chuck’s hours in Amsterdam 2012-11-12 for his MOOC at Coursera.

For your information about 7,700 students have taken the final exam at the Internet History, Technology, and Security course by Dr. Chuck with an average score of 25.5/ 30. It is worth of attention that within a course 2 extra credit assignments were graded by peers and it turned that average score for the 1st one was 7.15/ 10 whereas for the 2nd one average grade was much higher being 7.93/ 10. It might mean that the learners do better when they have experienced grading  peers’ assignments before. It is a really interesting supposition to think over. It might be a good idea to implement student grading option for JoomlaLMS. What do you think about it? Share your opinion in the survey at JoomlaLMS users group at LinkedIn.

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