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Five things teachers and students need to know about online learning

A recently published book, Creativity and Critique in Online Learning , edited by Jacqueline Baxter, George Callaghan and Jean McAvoy from the Open University, throws up some key things to consider if you are teaching or studying online.

1) Online forums

Don’t assume that just because only certain people contribute to online forums, that they are the only ones learning! Many students learn by just reading forum posts.

2) Group work

Doing group work online may take a bit longer to get used to , but it’s important that people are given time and space to get to know each other online- this makes a big difference to what students gain from the experience learning wise.

3) People are people

Being seen as a “real person” online is important for teachers and students – make time and space to let people know how your own interests link to what’s being studied.

4) What really is online learning?

Real online learning is not just ‘putting stuff online’, it involves real thinking about how people learn and teach and continual research into how to make online learning work better for students and teachers.

5) Get your senses working

The more you engage all of your senses in online learning, the more you will learn: take advantage of podcasts, videos and online tutorials to really make your learning a 360 experience.

Jacqueline Baxter is Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management, Jean McAvoy is Senior Lecturer in Psychology and George Callahan is Senior Lecturer in Economics. They all have a keen interest in how people teach and learn online.

About Author

Christine works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She is an experienced BBC journalist, sub-editor and news editor and has a background in regional newspapers. After moving to PR she worked as a press officer for the Zoological Society of London. She has a BSc in Social Sciences with Politics from The Open University and focuses on stories from the Faculty of Social Science and widening access in HE. Chris swims regularly and has a pet Tortoise called Lightning.

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