An Absolutely Riveting Online Course: Nine Principles for Excellence in Web-Based Teaching

Jim Henry, Jeff Meadows, Canadian Journal of Learning, Feb 04, 2009
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This isn't a riveting course, it's an article about riveting courses. According to the abstract, "the authors compiled a list of 9 principles to provide direction in the search for online excellence. The principles include: the online world is a medium unto itself; sense of community and social presence are essential to online excellence; in the online world, content is a verb; great online courses are defined by teaching, not technology." Just a brief aside: we do not need to cite various "authorities" to know that the subject is elusive, complex and many-faceted. It's just name-dropping, and should not be necessary in order to get an article published. As for the content of the article - well, I'm thinking about it. For example, the authors write, "online instruction needs to purposefully and strategically engage learners in activities and interaction." Are all four elements of this sentence always needed? Or, "excellence in web-based courses is founded on excellence in teaching." Really? Or is it excellence in exposition? Ah - but I'm being picky. The paper summarizes a lot of what is held to be true in the online learning community, and therein lies its value. Via EDUCAUSE.
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