Online Education and Its Effective Practice: A Research Review

Anna Sun, Xiufang Chen
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 15  •  2016  •  pp. 157-190
Using a qualitative content analysis approach, this study reviewed 47 published studies and research on online teaching and learning since 2008, primarily focusing on how theories, practices and assessments apply to the online learning environment. The purpose of this paper is to provide practical suggestions for those who are planning to develop online courses so that they can make informed decisions in the implementation process. Based on the findings, the authors argued that effective online instruction is dependent upon 1) well-designed course content, motivated interaction between the instructor and learners, well-prepared and fully-supported instructors; 2) creation of a sense of online learning community; and 3) rapid advancement of technology. In doing this, it is hoped that this will stimulate an on-going discussion of effective strategies that can enhance universities and faculty success in transitioning to teach online. Under current debates on the cost and quality of higher education, this study could help for the improvement of higher education and student enrollment and retention.
online education, online teaching, online learning community, asynchronous learning, cognitive presence, social presence, teaching presence, online higher education
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