Episode 87

"Humanizing Online Education"

Duration 00:11:56 Recorded on March 17, 2011

Susan and Dan take a look at a topic close to their hearts - how to humanize online education. What are some interesting ways to make the web-based learning experience more personal?

It seems so simple in practice, making online education more human, but it's less common sense than you might think. How do you make sure to address not just the content of your teaching, but also your students'to start, Susan and Dan discuss how best to exploit synchronicity. Taking time to get together online to interact in real time can create a much better sense of community and enrich the relationships between students and teachers.

Even though sometimes people are anxious or shy about interacting via video and voice, Susan makes the point that more direct interaction really helps, and literally humanizes the experience. Dan and Susan talk about making sure to ask questions of your students, and perhaps doing a bit of a learning analysis. You can use storytelling, humor and cartoons to reach out to your class, and Susan mentions William Horton's classifications of activities.

Of course, all of this applies to both students and teachers. To humanize a class you too have to be human; you can't hide behind your degree or your webpage. It's important to have social presence and using it for instructional design, and Susan recommends a new book on the subject: "Creating a Sense of Presence in Online Teaching: How to 'Be There' for Distance Learners,' by Rosemary Lehman and Simone ConceiƧao.

What methods do you use to humanize online education?

About Us

The LT Green Room is a podcast for Renewal, Retooling and Conversations about Learning. It is co-hosted by Susan Manning and Dan Balzer and its show topics are often drawn from members of LearningTimes.org, a free online community of education and training professionals from across the globe. The LT Green Room gives listeners (and ourselves) an opportunity to reflect on what they're doing behind the scene that results in an effective learning experience.


Co-Host & Producer
Susan Manning
Co-Host & Producer
Dan Balzer
Executive Producer
Carl Heine
Special Inspiration