This fall promises to be a challenging one. And while teaching and learning might look different, at its core, it’s still about relationships. As students and instructors find themselves engaging with each other over distances and through new technologies, will they be able to develop the kinds of connections that facilitate learning?
Students want to be heard. And the best way to let them know you are listening is by providing consistent and substantive feedback. Discussion boards can be a vital tool for engaging students more deeply in the online classroom. The Best Practice Guide for Online Discussion, authored by Dr. Rhonda L. Blackburn, the president of the United States Distance Learning Association, provides advice for how to deliver an online experience where students can share what matters to them.
Rhonda L. Blackburn, PhD
Dr. Blackburn has been working in academia for the pasts 20+ years as a teacher, administrator, trainer, and consultant. Before serving as VP and Chief Academic Officer for LoudCloud Systems, she was the Senior Advisory Consultant and Strategic Account Manager for Higher Education for Desire2Learn, where she provided guidance and planning for state-wide consortiums and large institutions.
Prior to Desire2Learn, Dr. Blackburn was the Associate Provost of Educational Enhancement at the University of Texas at Dallas. Her office covered faculty development, instructional technology, distance education, media/video services, and classroom experience. Within this capacity, she supported faculty while helping them develop well designed courses, both traditional and online. She also guided her staff in understanding the technology and how it can be used effectively in a classroom setting. She spearheaded the redesign and integration of technology into the classrooms throughout the campus. Dr. Blackburn received her B.S. in psychology at Texas A&M University and M.A. in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Career Development Education and a specialty in Human Resource Development at Texas A&M University.