Best Practices in Undergraduate Adult-Centered Online Learning:

March 3, 2008

This study was conducted to explore and identify best practices used by full-time and part-time faculty in adult-centered online learning environments. Using a modified version of the instrument made available by the Teaching, Learning and Technology (TLT) Group (2005), faculty were surveyed and asked to identify and describe teaching practices implemented in their online courses that paralleled those described by Chickering and Ehrmann (l996) in the Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education for online environments. In addition, researchers verified the usefulness of these practices with students by comparing them with comments on student evaluations. Results revealed three themes within best practices for online instruction: course design, instructional effectiveness, and interactivity or interconnectivity. Using these three themes, best practices in course design and delivery are proposed to improve opportunities for student-instructor interaction, teaching strategies that encourage retention and behaviors that influence learning and course satisfaction. This study has implications for planning faculty development activities which assists faculty in integrating best practices and effective teaching principles for online learning into undergraduate adult education.

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