3 Ways to Connect with Online Students

Lack of interpersonal communication is a frequent concern in distance learning, because a student’s chance at success can be negatively affected if they feel isolated in their pursuit. Here are three strategies professors can use to build strong connections:

Online-Professor-Bluefield-College

  • Make your own videos. If you want your students to feel a more personal connection, consider taking the time to accompany study units with short video clips. You can also record a screencast as a tutorial of a process you are teaching. Concise, thoughtful 3-5 minute segments hold viewer’s attention and they are also relatively easy to access from mobile learning devices. There are free tools like Screencast-O-Matic that also allow you to upgrade for video-editing and the ability to record longer movies (perhaps for a recorded interview with an expert in the field).
  • Enable students to work together. Although adult learners achieve best when able to work autonomously, there may be some instances where you find collaboration a preferable strategy. To help students effectively work together on a large research project or a communications exercise, share access to documents, slideshows, or spreadsheets through Google Drive. The platform automatically saves any changes, so learners can continue to progress asynchronously and see their peers’ updates in real time. Additionally, students can leave notes to recommend revisions to each other or connect their ideas.
  • Find creative ways to build social media interaction. Many MOOCs and a growing amount of traditional college courses share a unique course hashtag in the syllabus. As an instructor, you could use a hashtag to tweet assignment reminders and encourage students to answer each other’s questions. More structured discussions can also happen through a LinkedIn group. Students can reflect on the lesson objectives in a closed message board while also practicing their networking skills. These exercises may also form connections that carry on past the end of the course.

The emerging segment of nontraditional learners balance multiple responsibilities, frequently intermittent study sessions, and the need to feel personal meaning to motivate their learning. Exploring new strategies to address their challenges in higher education will support more opportunities available for student success.

What creative ways have you connected in the virtual classroom?

Image credit:  “Teaching Online” by Bluefield College, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Why Aren’t My Students Buying the Textbook?

Professors do so many wonderful things for students, including crafting lesson plans, writing recommendations, and holding office hours every week. When you make the additional effort to review multiple titles and find the perfect fit for your course, it can be disappointing to realize only a handful of your students are doing the readings.

We’ve learned that students are more engaged when their textbooks include relevant, real-world content. Here are four of the primary challenges we’ve designed solutions for:

1. “It’s too expensive!”
Textbook costs have risen 945 percent since 1978, finds the American Enterprise Institute. After covering tuition, rent, and all the other necessary expenses of attending college, being able to afford textbooks is a real issue for many students. In fact, a recent study by Student PIRGs found that 65 percent of students forgo buying at least one textbook due to being too expensive, even though nearly all of them were concerned that choice would hurt their grade.

Flat World has worked hard to keep our titles priced affordably, starting at just $24 for all one-volume books. In addition to being available through our online catalog, we also provide access codes that students can purchase using their financial aid at the campus bookstore.

2. “I have to pay more for the study tools?!”
As if the book cost alone wasn’t enough, some publishers use digital add-ons to generate extra revenue. Not at Flat World.

Students can tag, take notes, and color-code important material as they read. When it’s test time, our platform allows them to toggle to study mode. This is a unique feature where all their notes for each chapter are paired with key information for review. Many of our titles also include a combination of flashcards, self-assessments, and test questions for import to your LMS — all at no additional cost.

3. “This book is out of date.”
When was the last time you looked for an updated text? While we never force instructors to use new editions, your students may find more value in timely titles. Our peer-viewed texts are updated regularly by authors who are experts in their fields.

We know many professors have a flair for writing too, which is why every title in our catalog can be customized for your course. Add, edit, and rearrange any content to better fit your focus.

4. “I don’t have time to go to the bookstore!”
72 percent of students are in the workforce full- or part-time. 26 percent have children and 34 percent are 25 years or older, finds the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The traditional needs of students are changing, and we’re meeting them with nontraditional solutions.

Is your campus bookstore bound to restrictive hours of operation? Your course will have a unique URL that students can use to access a digital version of the text on any device immediately after purchase. And for those who prefer print, they can order a physical copy to arrive on their doorstep in 10 days or less.

Are you ready to engage more students with a flexible, refreshing textbook? Browse our catalog and request a complimentary review copy! flat-world-textbook-students


 

What’s New in Business Ethics?

While some students may enter your course intimidated by the thought of ethical theory, Dr. James Brusseau maintains a clear and engaging approach throughout the newly published The Business Ethics Workshop: Ethics in the Workplace, v. 2.0. Here a just a few of the refreshing updates to this version:

  • More than 50 video case studies are embedded throughout the text, many featuring news reports along with sharpening refinements of the presented conflicts.
  • A robust PowerPoint deck of nearly 700 slides to thoughtfully complement the textbook. Besides clearly summarizing each section, there are slides linking to videos that raise ethical dilemmas for class discussion.
  • Affordable student pricing options beginning at $24 for online access, with the ability to upgrade to downloadable PDFs, ebooks, and printed copies.
Without sacrificing scope or rigor, this text discusses the ethical dilemmas facing employees and managers in the workplace with a variety of contemporary case studies many students will find relatable. Some of the cases profiled include Toms shoes, American Apparel, the Bernie Madoff fraud, and how the SATs are used by the College Board. Instructors may also choose to customize the book with their own cases of interest and other content at no additional cost.

 

We are pleased to share this new version of one of our catalog’s most notable offerings. If you are a faculty member interesting in reviewing a complimentary desk copy, we invite you to request yours here!

 

Questions about reviewing or customization options? Our Learning Content Adoption Consultants are ready to assist you at 1-877-257-9243. You’ll reach a real human, because we believe automated phone attendants are just unethical.