Instructor Feedback in Vista Classes

Recently I read an article that stated the number one complaint of students taking online classes is the lack of instructor feedback. Of all student complaints, I have to say this one is worth special attention. Feedback is something we need in order to become better. Whether it is on a personal level when you ask someone how your cooking tastes, or on a professional level when you read your annual review, feedback helps to shape our processes and actions.

In the article, Overcoming the #1 Complaint of Online Students: Poor Instructor Feedback by Errol Sull in Distance Learning, Online Education, the author describes surveying 300 students who overwhelmingly state that poor feedback from their instructors is a major concern. I have listed his ideas below and with each, give my take on it and where in Vista instructors can address this concern.
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A Learner-Centered, Emotionally Engaging Approach to Online Learning

by Rob Kelly, Online Classroom, June 2009

Learning research shows people learn better in the presence of some emotional connection to content or people. Rick Van Sant, of Ferris State University says, “One of the things we know about learning is that learning with emotion is a far deeper experience than learning without emotion.” Technology provides access to a vast array of content that has the potential to resonate emotionally with students. Van Sant recommends that you might like to visit Technology, Entertainment, Design, which features top presenters talking on a wide range of topics.

Keeping that “teachable moment” online in an asynchronous online class is difficult. Create an emotional connection by using a wiki or a blog. Remember to create a learning community.

Rick Van Sant can be reached by email,

Promoting Early, Active Discussions Online

Scott Warnock presented at The Teaching Professor Conference, June 5-7 in Washington, D.C.
In a recent study it was found that students who post early also tend to take control of the conversation and check for reactions to their messages.

  • Use simple prompts. Don’t give students too much to think about before responding.
  • Make it fun. Use playful threads.
  • Make discussions valuable. Use posts as evidence of their papers.
  • Have students moderate. Students may respond better to each other…
  • Give students choices. Give them freedom to respond to what they like, not everything.
  • Have students analyze disucssion posts. Have them comment on their own posts.
  • Visit online,

    Burnout and Online Instruction

    Burnout and Online Instruction: Tips to Revive Your E-Classroom and Yourself
    by Jody Oomen Early, PdD., MS, CHES Department of Health Studies, Texas Woman’s University. From Online Classroom, January 2009.

  • Create a more “affective” and diverse environment using audio discussions
  • Collaborate: form a learning community, working together across disciplines
  • Establish boundaries, but keep your social presence: clearly announce when you will be online and how frequently you will communicate with students
  • Include informal, non-graded assignments to stimulate discussion and increase learning comprehension – this can reduce the amount of grading you have to do, but increases students connections to content.
  • Take a break! Move away from your computer; take weekends off.
  • Use resources available to help you. Find out what is available to you from your chair.
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify.
  • Don’t try to do everything at once. Take one step at a time. Incorporate one new tool at a time.