Online Instructor Performance Expectations

Lawrence C. Ragan, Director of Faculty Development for Penn State’s World Campus, discusses their online instructor performance expectations. In this short video clip he shares the following general guidelines for PSU’s online faculty for teaching an online course:

  1. Show up and teach
  2. Monitor the learning experience for the students
  3. Develop regular patterns of communications
  4. Communicate to the learners if there are changes or adjustments to the activities or flow of the course
  5. Respond to learner inquiries within 24 hours (12 hours if possible)
  6. Be very concise and clear in feedback
  7. Submit assignment and exam grades promptly (24-48 hours for assignments)
  8. Communicate to learners when they can expect feedback from you
  9. Use communication tools from within the learning management system
  10. Ensure a quality learning experience by correcting errors in course materials as soon as possible
  11. Have a good relationship with your institutional support services
  12. Have ready and reliable access to your online course

What additional performance recommendations would you recommend for online faculty? Leave a comment with your suggestions!

Google launches a microblogging tool: Google Buzz

Google recently announced Google Buzz, a new microblogging tool integrated within Gmail designed for starting conversations about the things you find interesting. Here’s a quick video introduction to Google Buzz:

It will be interesting to see how Google Buzz can be leveraged for learning opportunities. Since Google Buzz is integrated in Gmail, you won’t have to create a new account or password to use it. This should make Buzz easily accessible to students and teachers that are using Gmail but yet at the same time will isolate users who don’t or choose not to have a Gmail account.

What are your thoughts about Google Buzz? Might you consider trying it either Buzz in your classroom?

Diigo Educator Accounts

I just found Diigo Educator Accounts, which are special premium accounts provided specifically to K-12 & higher-ed educators. Once your Diigo Educator application is approved, your account will be upgraded to have these additional features:

  • You can create student accounts for an entire class with just a few clicks (and student email addresses are optional for account creation)
  • Students of the same class are automatically set up as a Diigo group so they can start using all the benefits that a Diigo group provides, such as group bookmarks and annotations, and group forums.
  • Privacy settings of student accounts are pre-set so that only teachers and classmates can communicate with them.
  • Ads presented to student account users are limited to education-related sponsors.

Learn more >>

I’ve personally applied for my own educator account upgrade and I encourage anyone else with a Diigo account to do the same. In doing so, you’ll be able to continue to use your Diigo account that you’ve already setup but you’ll have additional teacher-only features that may be even more helpful to you and your students as you use Diigo in your teaching.

You can find me on Diigo at diigo.com/user/jrhode

Google Wave

Google Wave is a

…web-based application that represents a rethinking of electronic communication. Users create online spaces called “waves,” which include multiple discrete messages and components that constitute a running, conversational document. Users access waves through the web, resulting in a model of communication in which rather than sending separate copies of multiple messages to different people, the content resides in a single space. Wave offers a compelling platform for personal learning environments because it provides a single location for collecting information from diverse sources while accommodating a variety of formats, and it makes interactive coursework a possibility for nontechnical students. Wave challenges us to reevaluate how communication is done, stored, and shared between two or more people (7 Things You Should Know About Google Wave).

Google Wave is currently only available in a limited preview but I’ve been fortunate to receive access. I’m personally using Wave to design a new online social networking course that I am working on developing for the Illinois Online Network and am finding the tool to have a lot of potential! More about that project in another post.

I have received a few invites that I can give out to others who would like to try to Google Wave. If you’d be interested in giving Google Wave a try, please leave a comment here with the email address you’d like to have the invite sent to and if I still have an invite available, I’ll send one your way!

Recommended Books on Web Design

From time to time I’m asked what books I recommend for someone interested in learning more about Web design. For those interested in a bit more step-by-step guidance with the basics of Web design, here are two books that I have in my personal library and I highly recommend.


Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to (X)HTML, Style Sheets, and Web Graphics (3rd ed.). ISBN 10: 0-596-52752-7

Learning Web Design

This thoroughly revised edition teaches you how to build web sites according to modern design practices and professional standards. Learning Web Design explains:

  • How to create a simple (X)HTML page, how to add links and images
  • Everything you need to know about web standards — (X)HTML, DTDs, and more
  • Cascading Style Sheets — formatting text, colors and backgrounds, using the box model, page layout, and more
  • All about web graphics, and how to make them lean and mean through optimization
  • The site development process, from start to finish
  • Getting your pages on the Web — hosting, domain names, and FTP

Learning Web Design starts from the beginning — defining how the Web and web pages work — and builds from there. By the end of the book, you’ll have the skills to create multi-column CSS layouts with optimized graphic files, and you’ll know how to get your pages up on the Web.

The book includes exercises to help you to learn various techniques, and short quizzes to make sure you’re up to speed with key concepts. If you’re interested in web design, Learning Web Design is the place to start.


The Non-Designer’s Web Book: An Easy Guide to Creating, Designing, and Posting Your Own Web Site (3rd ed.). ISBN: 0-321-30337-7

Non-Designer's Web Book

If you think web design is beyond your reach, or if you want your existing web site to look more professional, this thoroughly updated classic is the place to turn! In these pages, best-selling authors Robin Williams and John Tollett share the creative ideas, useful techniques, and basic design principles that are essential to great Web design-all in the context of the most current technology, software, and standards. Throughout, the authors’ aim is to inspire you and spark your creativity rather than sedate you with pages and pages of code. To that end, you’ll find loads of real-world examples, interesting illustrations, and the simple instructions you need to implement the techniques and concepts described in these pages.