Technology is a useful tool in the classroom setting - when it works. 

The up and coming generation can intuitively use new technology, but it can still be a challenge to navigate the systems the university uses.

Online courses are already available at ISU, allowing students to learn from the same esteemed faculty that students who attend class in person do. 

It can be difficult to appeal to the variety of learning styles of different students needs when not interacting with them face to face.

As part of the Practical Pedagogy Series, presenter Michelle Mentzer educated faculty about efficiently organizing an online course to promote student success.

 The presentation outlined ways in which online courses could be structured so more time could be devoted to learning, as opposed to the logistics of the course.

ISU junior Abbe Deckertt says “I take online courses alongside my on-campus classes. It’s busy, but taking classes online allows me to accomplish more.” Deckertt further explained that getting to know the format of an online course is an ongoing process.

“I’m always learning new tricks with the online portal or platform,” Deckertt says, “It would be nice to be more efficient in learning to navigate the course.”

     Presenter Michelle Mentzer hopes that the presentation will help faculty who teach an online class to provide a course with a clear structure, a welcoming note and a clear path for getting started. 

As a result, Metzer explains, “Students will be more confident, work more efficiently and ask fewer questions about logistics and location.”

Faculty teaching online courses should ensure that their course is easy to navigate. 

Links should be clearly marked, rather than hidden in a folder within a folder. The platform should be well-organized and tidy. 

     “I’ve found that students can quickly and easily get acclimated with an online course if I take the time to make it organized, easy to use, and clearly mapped out,” says Professor Allen Long of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

 “I spend much less time trying to help students navigate the platform if I make it easily navigable to begin with.” Said Long.

     Long suggests using a simple, tidy format free of distractions. He emphasizes the need for practicality in structuring an online class.

     “You really have to think about what students will use the most and make those resources prominent within the platform,” says Long.

     Long also says that making turn-in links easily accessible eliminates confusion about where to turn assignments in.

     “I get lots of ‘I didn’t know where to turn that in,’ but if I make the turn-in links very prominent, that can’t be an excuse anymore,” Long explains.

     Technology is a valuable resource for both students and faculty when used effectively. It can supplement learning and provide new experiences to all students. 

When faculty uses technology they should be well-versed in efficient technology use. 

Online courses are a popular option for distance students, and such students can receive the same quality of education as on-campus students if faculty ensure that their course is well-organized, clearly structured and user friendly.