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Best Practices in Promoting Faculty-Student Interaction in Online STEM Courses

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Working at the Intersection of Industry and Academia

Tagged Division

Continuing Professional Development

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Paper Authors


Thomas M. Freeman Michigan Technological University

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Thom Freeman
Sr. Instructional Designer, Online Learning Specialist, and Adjunct Instructor - Michigan Technological University

Thom Freeman provides faculty and academic departments at Michigan Technological University with Instructional Design services, LMS Support, and assistance with the design, development, and administration of distance learning programs and online learning. He teaches graduate education courses in online teaching and integrating educational technology into teaching and learning.
M. Ed. - Education and Human Development - The George Washington University

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Michelle E. Jarvie-Eggart Michigan Technological University

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Dr. Jarvie-Eggart is a registered professional engineer with over a decade of experience as an environmental engineer. She lectures in the Engineering Fundamentals department at Michigan Technological University. Her research interests include online learning, active and collaborative learning, sustainability and diversity in engineering.

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In this paper two experienced veterans in the fields of online teaching and supporting instructors in teaching online will detail several best practices in promoting faculty to student interaction in online courses. The unique demands faced by those teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses online will be considered and addressed in each of these best practices.

Faculty-Student interaction is vital to the success and quality of any online course. The need to develop a rich sense of active instructor presence in online learning has never been greater. Recently The US Department of Education (1) and the Higher Learning Commission (2) (HLC) have required "regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor" (1) in online courses. Additionally, research has consistently shown that a strong sense of instructor presence and frequent and meaningful faculty to student interactions improve student persistence (3), satisfaction (4), and achievement (5) in online courses. This paper will provide instructors with several evidence-based techniques and methods to incorporate effective, meaningful, and STEM-friendly faculty to student interactions into their online courses.

References: 1) US Department of Education. “Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.” October 11, 2018. 2) Higher Learning Commission. “Background Information on Distance and Correspondence Education.” 2018. 3) Richardson, J, Besser, E. Koehler, A. Lim, J. and Strait, M. Purdue University. “Instructors’ Perceptions of Instructor Presence in Online Learning Environments”. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning Volume 17, Number 4. June 2016. 4) Ladyshewsky, R. "Instructor Presence in Online Courses and Student Satisfaction," International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 7: No. 1, Article 13. 2013. 5) Sandercock, I. “How Important Is Instructor Presence in an Online Course?” TeachOnline - Resources for Teaching Online. Arizona State University. October 13, 2014.

Freeman, T. M., & Jarvie-Eggart, M. E. (2019, June), Best Practices in Promoting Faculty-Student Interaction in Online STEM Courses Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32148

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