Creating a Climate for Learning in an Online Course: Strategies that Work

By Susan Garton, Susan Heinz and Kendra Sticka.

Published by The International Journal of Technologies in Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Professors transitioning from face-to-face classes to online courses find that technology is convenient and efficient in content delivery, but can be impersonal and mechanical for learners. This study was designed to test the efficacy of pedagogical methods in creating a climate for learning in online synchronous courses. Researchers based the investigation on the premise that humanizing elements such as personalization and individualization could promote the engagement and motivation of learners. In this study, professors identified strategies to promote participation and interaction. These strategies were implemented in online, synchronous credit courses, across disciplines and at graduate and undergraduate levels. All courses were delivered using Blackboard and Elluminate Live during the spring semester of 2012. Enrolled students were asked to identify effective methods in end-of-session surveys and end-of-course evaluations. Strategies reported by the students as most effective in creating a learning climate are presented.

Keywords: Learning Climate, Online Learning, Online Teaching, Pedagogies

International Journal of Technologies in Learning, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp.33-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 378.390KB).

Dr. Susan Garton

Associate Professor, College of Education, Educational Leadership Department, University of Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Susan Garton, Ph.D. prepares leaders for public schools as a faculty member at the College of Education, University of Alaska Anchorage. She teaches graduate courses for aspiring principals and superintendents, and supervises field experiences throughout rural Alaska where the use of technology is an absolute necessity.. Her challenge is to motivate and engage distant learners through the use of pedagogical approaches proven to be compatible with technological delivery of courses.

Susan Heinz

Adjunct Professor, College of Education, Department of Teaching and Learning, University of Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Susan Heinz, Ph.D., is an adjunct instructor and supervisor for pre-service elementary teachers, often in a synchronous online format, at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has a tutoring business and is a frequent speaker at national conferences and parent workshops.

Kendra Sticka

Assistant Professor, Dietetics and Nutrition Department, Culinary Arts and Hospitality, University of Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Kendra Sticka: MS, Med, RD, is an Assistant Professor of Dietetics & Nutrition at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She teaches and advises undergraduates across the State of Alaska who are working toward becoming registered dietitians or pursuing a general degree in nutrition. With the majority of coursework for this program being online, she has developed a passion for making online learning a rich experience for students and educators.