The Online Instructor’s Bookshelf: 10 Books to Help You Better Understand Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age

Books

While it’s tempting say that good teaching is good teaching regardless of the setting, the reality is that there are real differences between what it takes to teach successfully in person versus what it takes to teach successfully online. Even adding in technology or web-enhancement into a course can significantly change how an instructor needs to approach, methodology, and communication with students. How do you know what the best practices are for these situations and use them to improve your course outcomes?

One place to start is by looking to some of the excellent books that have been written on teaching online and educational technology over the past few years. These books can help shape your teaching for the digital age and are a great place to turn for some professional development, whether you’re a new online instructor or a seasoned veteran. Here are a few worth reading to get you started.

How to Design and Teach a Hybrid Course: Achieving Student-Centered Learning Through Blended Classroom, Online and Experiential Activities by Jay Caulfield

Looking for a handbook that will guide you through getting started with teaching hybrid courses? This book can be a great resource. Caulfield shares his experience, taken from teaching more than 70 hybrid courses and working in the Learning Technology Center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, to help guide those new to the format through both the theory and the practical applications of hybrid learning. Learn More

Managing Technology in Higher Education: Strategies for Transforming Teaching and Learning by A.W. (Tony) Bates and Albert Sangra

Integrating technology into the higher ed classroom isn’t always simple and with so many options it can be hard to know where to start. This book takes a look at the current practices of more than 25 universities worldwide to offer insights into the best and most effective ways to manage technology. While it might not touch directly on what instructors are doing in the classroom (though many serving on tech-focused committees may be able to draw directly from the lessons it offers) , it does offer some assistance in helping push forward initiatives, suggesting ideas, and ultimately ensuring technology is integrated as effectively and efficiently as possible. Learn More

Creating a Sense of Presence in Online Teaching: How to “Be There” for Distance Learners by Rosemary M. Lehman and Simone C.O. Conceição

A growing body of research is showing just how much instructor presence matters to student satisfaction and success in online courses. While presence is easy to achieve in face-to-face courses, it takes significantly more effort to achieve the same effect in an online course. Filled with research-based examples, methodologies, and scenarios, this book will help instructors to close that gap and build stronger, more engaged learning communities with their students. Learn More

What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain

While not focused exclusively on technology, this book is still a great resource for any educator at the college level seeking to improve his or her teaching. Bain embarks on an in-depth exploration of what makes a great teacher, based on research taken from more than 100 college professors over the past 15 years, offering dozens of stories and examples that can make you more conscious of how you interact with students, whether you’re teaching online or off. Learn More

Social Media for Educators: Strategies and Best Practices by Tanya Jootsen

Facebook, Twitter and other social sites have been around for quite awhile now, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always easy to find ways to use them effectively in the classroom. Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. In this book, you’ll learn both why and how you can use social media as a teaching tool, how it can foster communication and deeper learning, and get a roadmap for implementing social media into your own courses going forward. Learn More

The Technology Toolbelt for Teaching by Susan Manning and Kevin Johnson

In this book, Johnson and Manning provide an easy-to-understand outline of what technologies work well in the classroom, why you should use them, and how to apply them in both the online and in-person setting (or something in-between). Because it’s extremely practical rather than just focusing on pedagogical theory, it makes it easy to implement the measures it suggests, which can be a big relief for those already feeling overwhelmed by adding additional technology into the classroom. Learn More

Lessons from the Virtual Classroom: The Realities of Online Teaching by Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt

With examples drawn from real online courses and years of research, this book is one of the best reference books out there both for those just beginning their online teaching journey and those who want to improve their online teaching skills. It tackles issues like evaluating technology, addressing online student needs, and building a strong online learning community. Learn More

The Excellent Online Instructor: Strategies for Professional Development by Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt

Even if you’re already a pretty great online instructor, there’s always room for improvement and this book can help to point you in the right direction. You’ll learn what separates the great online instructors from the crowd and what the current best practices in online education are. While geared more towards adminstrators, anyone working in online education can learn something about Learn More

How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching by Susan A. Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, and Marie K. Norman

This book draws on a wide range of research to help provide guidance on being the best, most effective instructor possible. Broken down into seven learning principles, you’ll get suggestions and ideas taken from intriguing students in psychology, education and cognitive science that will help you better understand the process of learning and your own role in it as an instructor. Learn More 

The Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips by Judith V. Boettcher and Rita-Marie Conrad

Who better to learn about teaching online from than these two pioneers of distance learning? This book takes their lessons from years in the field and turns them into easily applicable theory-based techniques for online and web-enhanced courses. Learn More

Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology by Michelle D. Miller 

In this newly released book, Miller draws on neuroscience and cognitive psychology to show why educational technology can be so powerful in motivating and engaging students. You’ll learn how you can enhance your students’ attention, memory, critical thinking, and reasoning skills by implementing a variety of technological approaches in your classroom. Learn More

 

What are you favorite books on teaching online or teaching with technology? Please share in the comments.

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