Research has shown that one of the top characteristics of successful online courses is having rigid expectations that are consistently enforced.
Children might never have had independent learning experiences before, McGeary explained, and educators should recognize that.
An October 2009 study suggested that by 2014, every higher-education student will be taking at least one online course. That raises an important question for K-12 educatiors, McGeary said: Do they change nothing, or do they send K-12 students on to college prepared for that online learning component?
Educators who are designing their own online courses or who are becoming involved in an online teaching program should evaluate what their students need now to be successful in education, and what they will need in the future to maintain that success, he said.
Online learning offers educators a chance to completely revamp education and create rigorous learning spaces, he said.
And one of the best things to do early on in an online course is to build a sense of community in the online space. Students need support and explicit instructions, McGeary explained; many studies have shown that without instructions, kids are more likely to try something on their own and give up than ask for help.
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