Shattering the Myths

Of Online and Blended Learning

What myths pervade the landscape of online learning?

  • What have you heard?
  • What have you said?
  • What do you believe?

Let's Shatter Some Myths

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Discussion: Why do myths around online/blended learning even exist?

Myth: Online Courses are Not Rigorous

Discussion: What defines rigor?

Answer this question using the Answer Garden below.

Rigor + Five Critical Learning Questions

  1. What do students need to learn?
  2. How will they learn it?
  3. How will you know if they learned it?
  4. What will you do if they don’t learn it?
  5. What will you do if they already know it?

Rigor of an online course is predicated on specifically and accurately building and designing elements that address the above questions, not necessarily in a static listing, but embedded organically as each outcome transitions and flows smoothly from one essential question to the other.

(Above Questions are from Rick and Rebecca DuFour and Robert Eaker’s work with Professional Learning Communities)

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Universal Design for Learning

How will students learn it?

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See Biology Online Class Example below:

Multiple means of . . . .

  • representation
  • expression
  • engagement
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Using Sign-Language to Teach Mitosis

Watch short video as this Biology teacher (as mentioned above) provides a varied means of representation.
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Access, Engage, Express: The Lens for Teaching and Learning

Research from Personalized Learning by Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey
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Rigor Matrix: Examples and Application

Instructional Pillars

A framework to ensure the following learning questions are met:

  1. How will we know students are learning?
  2. What will we do if they don’t know it?
  3. What will we do if they already know it?

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Discussion: What are your foundational pillars?

Answer question by going to PollEverywhere

Click the following link to review responses.

Myth: Meaningful Student-Teacher Relationships Cannot Be Formed Online

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Content matters! But content ALONE is not effective learning -- research says student success is all about the relationship with the teacher!

"Although students have less time with teachers during high school, there is strong evidence that relationships with adults in these settings are among the most important predictors of success."

"Connection with teachers was a better predictor of many outcomes than was students’ sense of family connectedness. As with young students, the benefits of positive relationships with adults are not limited to social and emotional outcomes. Although both parental and teacher support are important in predicting students’ achievement, a recent study indicated that student-perceived teacher connection was the factor most closely associated with growth in achievement from 8th to 12th grade (Gregory & Weinstein, 2004)." (Hamre, Bridget and Robert Pianta. "Student-Teacher Relationships." 49-60. Web. 1 December 2014. <>)

"Great teachers form strong relationships with their students and show that they care about them as people. Great teachers are warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring. Teachers with these qualities are known to stay after school and make themselves available to students and parents who need them. They are involved in school-wide committees and activities, and they demonstrate a commitment to the school." ("What Makes a Great Teacher." Great Schools. Web. 1 December 2014. <>

"[S]tudents who have close, positive and supportive relationships with their teachers will attain higher levels of achievement than those students with more conflictual relationships. If a student feels a personal connection to a teacher, experiences frequent communication with a teacher, and receives more guidance and praise than criticism from the teacher, then the student is likely to become more trustful of that teacher, show more engagement in the academic content presented, display better classroom behavior, and achieve at higher levels academically. Positive teacher-student relationships draw students into the process of learning and promote their desire to learn" ("Improving Students' Relationships with Teachers to Provide Essential Supports for Learning." American Psychological Association. Web. 1 December 2014. <>

Discussion: What implications does this research hold for online and blended learning? In short, how does this research shatter this myth?

Building Meaningful Relationships: Some Non-Negotiables

How to Develop Positive Meaningful Student-Teacher Relationships

  • Post daily announcements that inform, celebrate, and instruct.
  • Get to know the students: 21st Century Icebreakers
  • Encourage, trust, and respect students: learning gaps, interests, plans, learning style, backgrounds, family environment.
  • Ensure respective tone in all correspondence: remember, e-mail (although a viable means of synchronous contact) can be cold, and inflections, intonations can be misconstrued.
  • Connect with students by communicating regularly and frequently and in various formats. For example, see Teacher Expectation document for North Carolina Virtual Public School Teachers, particularly the following sections: "Expectations Prior to 'Meet the Teacher'" and "Expectations for the First Week of Class and DAILY Thereafter."
  • Adapt and apply one of the following five (5) ways to build positive and lasting relationship with students in an online environment.
  • Host frequent (twice in a semester, or quarterly through the year) chats, hangouts, or meet ups focusing on relevant and meaningful topics the students generate. Create a survey for each to share an interested topic, all in an effort to know your students.
  • Build and sustain class community. Click on this presentation to see examples of building community in an online environment to foster meaningful connections and relationships.
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