Georgia Highlands College

Distance Learning

1. Distance and learners
2. Online Course Design Principles
3. Help with Distance Learning at GHC
4. eLearning Research
5. The Seven Principles of Good Practice
6. Exemplary elearning courses
7. Developing a Master Course
8.  iPads in Higher Education
9. Digital Reading

Distance Learning and Learners

Distance learning can be defined as "a formal educational process in which some or all of the instructional interaction occurs when student and instructor are not in the same place."  Teaching online has unique advantages and challenges, but one thing is certainly true: "Creating a distance learning course involves more than replicating familiar classroom strategies in a different form".


  • Higher Education a Focus on Technology (New York Times, Oct 10, 2010) "If technology is well designed, experts say, it can help tailor the learning experience to individual students, facilitate student-teacher collaboration, and assist teachers in monitoring student performance each day and in quickly fine-tuning lessons. 
  • Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction (New York Times, Nov. 21, 2010) "Students have always faced distractions and time-wasters. But computers and cellphones, and the constant stream of stimuli they offer, pose a profound new challenge to focusing and learning. Researchers say the lure of these technologies, while it affects adults too, is particularly powerful for young people. The risk, they say, is that developing brains can become more easily habituated than adult brains to constantly switching tasks — and less able to sustain attention."
  • Learning Perspectives 2010" eBook (4MB pdf) This free eBook available for download is geared more towards corporate training but has many interesting points about todays learners that directly apply to Higher Ed. and eLearning The articles in this eBook cover the wide range of viewpoints and perspectives on the changing nature of Learning.  It includes articles from our 30 Under 30 Learning Leaders." "


Online Course Design Principles

  • Creating a 5-Star Online Course   (The University of West Georgia) offers suggestions intended to help instructors and other online course designers understand the components that go into making an exceptional online course. "We hope that you find the rubrics and examples contained in this site helpful and we encourage you to use any information found here in your courses!"

Help with eLearning at GHC

  • Distance Learning at GHC (pdf) includes recommendations for the College, and advice for instructors considering developing a hybrid or online course.
  • The eLearning area of the GHC website is extensive and a great place for an overview.

eLearning Research: Reports and Articles

  • Horizon 2013 Report (pdf) The EDUCAUSE Horizon Report is a qualitative research project established in 2002 that identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry on college and university campuses within the next five years.

The Seven Principles and Distance Learning

Exemplary eLearning Courses

Exemplary Course Program  A good way to get ideas about how to design and structure an online site, particularly if you are designing and teaching in a learning management system like GeorgiaVIEW Vista, is to look at award-winning sites developed in Vista. Blackboard hosts the annual Exemplary Course Program, in which Vista courses submitted by instructors are evaluated, and nine of which are selected as "exemplary courses."  Winners from prior years are also available.

Developing a Master Course

A "Master Course" is a course template available within a Learning Management System (currently GeorgiaVIEW Vista) that has been designed in such a way that instructors teaching sections of the course can base their individual sections on the Master Course template. Individual instructors can then modify their individual sections. 

Building a web-based Master Course necessarily involves a systematic approach. It is wise to keep in mind that a Master Course can (by definition) be shared with any number of instructors, each of whom may use it as a basis for any number of course sections.

The slideshow below is intended as a general overview of the processes and steps involved in building a Master Course.
1. To play the slideshow, click the forward arrow.
2. To make the presentation fill the screen, click the icon to the right of where it says "Slide 1/13."



A Master Course (MC) can save instructors time by including elements commonly used by all instructors. Considerable thought should be given to the design and functionality of a course that is to be shared with other instructors.  The first task is to determine who is responsible for designing the MC, and who is responsible for building and maintaining it.

The decisions about the MC content and functionality are generally made by a team of instructors,  The building and ongoing maintenance of the is often done by a single MC Designer. The MC Designer should function to establish the style, naming conventions and file structure of the MC, and should maintain the original course files and a local backup.

The MC Designer should communicate with the local GeorgiaVIEW Administator to discuss how best to make the Master Course available to instructors. In early 2012, a set of guidelines for how to develop a successful Master Course will be available for downloading here.


iPads in Higher Education

A. Initial thoughts and misgivings

The iPad and Higher Education 
A guest post by David Parry, assistant professor of emerging media and communications at the University of Texas, Dallas. Misgivings about the use of the iPad in education from "Profhacker," Tips about Teaching, Technology and Productivity.
Here's an extract:

"What education really needs is tech savvy teachers, engaged with helping students develop 21st century literacies, not disciplined and controlled digital experiences. But, when you can’t even find someone to teach digital literacy, is the problem really that you don’t have a portable touch screen interface?"

B. Faculty and the iPad: a USF Study 

The iPad: Implications for Higher Education 
A session presented at the EDUCAUSE 2011 Conference. The University of San Francisco (USF) conducted a six-month iPad study by John C. Bansavich, Ed.D Ken Yoshioka which included 40 faculty with the intention of reviewing, experimenting with, and sharing its potential uses in higher education.  This link takes you to the EDUCAUSE session page. The following links to pdfs and a video are provided under the "Resources" section of the above session site.

  •  iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad Apps for Education (pdf)
     An extensive list of useful applications available for the iPad.
    "The iPhone and iPod Touch are more than just a toy for games, video and music. It has also become a device for business, learning and information. The range of applications that are available for these devices is growing each week. We want to specifically look at applications that have possibilities for the classroom. From communication to social networking to reference material, 
  •  USF iPad Study Video (YouTube) 
    This YouTube video consista of short Interviews with SFU faculty members who participated in the study.
  •  Links to IPad Articles  
    The USF study included a Wiki, in which there is a comprehensive list of useful and informative links to iPad-related materials.


C. iPad Tips and Suggestions

  • iPad Academy 
    "iPad Academy will help you master the Apple iPad. Get valuable iPad tips and tutorials. Find easy-to-follow instructions for making the most of the iPad, apps and accessories. "
  • EDUCAUSE site "Tablets and iPads" Resources
    Many colleges and universities have begun experimenting with tablet computers and iPad classroom integration initiatives that vary from campus-wide distributions to small-scale, single-class pilots. These programs are designed to provide evidence of improved student learning and engagement. Explore this resource site—a collection of all EDUCAUSE resources related to tablets and iPads in the classroom.
  • Lecturing with an iPadThis short video (6mins) from a University of Michigan professor discusses his use of an iPad in the classroom as a student engagement tool.

D. IPads and Student Learning

  • iPads for the College Classroom? (Chronicle of Higher Education)
    Not so fast some Professors say...Despite the iPad's popularity—Apple has sold nearly 15 million of them and just came out with the iPad2; and there are dozens of competitors, like the Samsung Galaxy—early studies indicate that these finger-based tablets are passive devices that have limited use in higher education.

Digital Reading

Most US College Students Prefer Digital Reading
The majority of U.S. college students now prefer digital formats whether they’re reading textbooks or “fun” books, according to a new survey from the Pearson Foundation.

What's new?

Higher Education Teaching and Learning Portal
A new online portal ( allows professors to talk about technolgy and othet issues. What started as a small group on LinkedIn that allowed college professors to talk about their teaching has grown into an online community boasting more than 6,000 participants.

It’s called, simply, Higher Education Teaching and Learning Portal, or HETL, and it serves as a forum for professors to seek and share advice about teaching, and often about how (or whether) to bring technology into the classroom.

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