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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Best Practices in Effective Online Instruction: Quality vs. Quantity in Student-Faculty and Student-Student Interaction

Donna McLaughlin (Boston University School of Social Work, USA)
Polly Smith (Utica College, USA)
Kimberly Weller (Queens University of Charlotte, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 12:45pm
Faculty and Professional Development & Support
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Southern Hemisphere III
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 2
Virtual Session

This presentation demonstrates best practices to enhance social presence and engagement in online learning.Effective teaching examples from asynchronous, synchronous and blended models are highlighted.

Extended Abstract

This presentation will demonstrate best practices needed to enhance social presence and engagement in online learning. It will focus on the interaction of the three main components of quality online courses: design, student-faculty interaction, and student-student interaction. Effective teaching examples from asynchronous, synchronous and blended models from experienced faculty will be highlighted.

The desire for a robust and active connection for students in online learning is a priority in most teaching pedagogy. Paramount to educators is providing a meaningful learning experience that often incorporates current theory and research, builds competencies, encourages experiential learning, fosters critical thinking, and is accessible to students with varying learning styles. These best practices require high levels of interaction, feedback, and engagement. High quality courses are designed by experts to provide student-student and faculty-student interaction that maps module level objectives to the overall objectives of the course.

This panel presentation proposes that sustaining the human connection is a necessary priority in an on-line learning environment. Panelists will discuss proven techniques for increasing social presence and student engagement in an online course, including the use of video and real-time student peer support groups; tactics to foster an interactive and supportive environment through quality (vs. quantity) instructor interaction, and using the discussion board to generate peer interaction and to connect module objectives to course level learning objectives. Effective online teaching examples from asynchronous, synchronous and blended models will be highlighted utilizing vignettes from various courses across disciplines to show that high quality courses require quality design, student-faculty, and student-student interaction to guide the learning process.

Lead Presenter

Donna McLaughlin, MSW, LICSW, is Clinical Associate Professor at the Boston University School of Social Work where she directs the Groupwork Specialization Program and teaches a range of foundation and advanced level graduate courses. She designed and teaches Clinical Practice with Groups for the BUSSW On-Line program. Ms. McLaughlinÕs scholarly and practice interests include cultural competence and diversity; the supervision and mentoring of students and new workers; community training in group work; trauma and homelessness; and issues facing the LGBTQ community. She also practices as a clinician/consultant in private practice; and presents and trains on social group work practice, supervision and mentoring locally and internationally. Ms. McLaughlin is a past board member-at-large with the International Association for Social Work with Groups (IASWG). She is the recipient of the 2015 Group Worker of the Year Award presented by the Massachusetts Chapter, International Association for Social Work with Groups (IASWG) and a 2014 Platinum Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning Programming from the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA).