Best Practices for Online
By La’Troy Ingram
July 6, 2013
As educators we know that the traditional lecture is not the only
way to learn. We as learners learn in many different ways, at
different times, and from a variety of sources. We also know
that learning is not purely a cognitive process, but that it
involves the emotions and even the spirit (Draves, 2007).
Best Practices for an on-line learning environment would engage
the “whole child.” This would include the elements of
content, interaction and grade-appropriate online tools. The
content should be delivered in atleast three ways: written &
graphic; audio; and video, animation; and pictures. By doing
so, the teacher/facilitator is addressing multiple learning styles.
Interaction would take place in chat rooms, discussion
forums, class webpage, threaded boards, and/or email. Grade-
appropriate online tools are tools that help to enhance students’
Grade Appropriate Online
The online teacher knows and understands
the use of an array of grade-appropriate
online tools for communication,
productivity, collaboration, analysis,
presentation, research, and content
delivery (iNCOL, 2011).
Grade Appropriate Online Tools (2nd
• Steps to writing a Friendly Letter:
• How to Write a Friendly Letter!
• My Friendly Letter. http://www.youtube.com
NOTE: The above sites can be used and modified for both lower and upper grade level students with possibilities as a review for
Interaction: Building Community
The online teacher knows and understands the techniques
for developing a community among the participants
(iNCOL, 2011). A student’s learning process is enhanced
through careful activity preparation on the part of the
instructor. The goal is to create activities that will engage
and challenge learners while expanding their personal
connections to their existing knowledge (Conrad &
Building Community Example
• Objective: In an effort to build a community of learners, students will provide
basic information about themselves in a letter format.
• Opening Activity: Newcomer--You will view flipcharts 2-6 that illustrates the
format of a Friendly Letter via prometheanplanet.com (Five Parts of a Friendly
Letter). After viewing the flipcharts, open up Microsoft Word and begin to
construct a simple letter to me the teacher. Introduce yourself, tell me some of
the things that you like to do, provide your nickname used at home if you have
one, your favorite foods, and anything else that you would like to share. Be sure
that you have followed the format from the flipcharts. Save your letter and post it
to the class webpage. Finally, read your classmates letters and find two that you
have atleast one thing in common with and welcome them to the class.
• Motivation: This activity involves the method of active participation; the
relevance of flipcharts modeling a friendly letter and its parts is provided to
students via a website while building their confidence by having them write simple
things about themselves. The new knowledge gained from viewing the flipcharts
will give students the confidence to complete their simple letter.
Content: Technology to enhance
• The online teacher knows and understands
appropriate use of technologies to enhance
Learning (iNCOL, 2011).
The idea of Web 2.0 in the online class cannot
be overlooked as it pertains to group work and
collaboration. Each tool provides a means for
students to engage with their classmates,
instructor and with their course materials.
Technology to enhance Learning
• Task: To analyze peer’s friendly letter
• Objective: Students are to provide
feedback to peers on the five parts of a
• Activity 2: Collaborator-- Now that you
have become acquainted with your peers,
choose two different peers introduction
letters and analyze them for the proper
friendly letter format. Did it have all five
parts; where the parts in the correct
places? Use the flipcharts and youtube
videos as a guide as you analyze your
peer’s letters. In your response be sure to
include what they did right as well as
making suggestions on items that were off
task. Insert a happy face to show that their
letter includes atleast three of the elements
of a friendly letter. This should be done
and posted on the class webpage.
•Five Parts of a Friendly Letter
•How to Write a Friendly Letter! .wmv <iframe
•My Friendly Letter <iframe width="560" height="315"
Booth, K. (2007). Five Parts of a Friendly Letter. Retrieved from http://www.prometheanplanet.com/en-
Conrad, R.M. & Donaldson, J.A. (2011). Engaging the online learner: Activities and Resources for creative instruction. San
Francisco, Ca: Jossey-Bass.
Draves, W.A. (2007). Advanced teaching online (3rd ed.). River Falls, Wi: LEARN
How to Write a Friendly Letter! .wmv. Retrieved from www.YouTube.com
iNCOL, (2011). National Standards for Quality Online Teaching. Retrieved from http://cup.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-
My Friendly Letter. Retrieved from www.YouTube.com
Steps to writing a Friendly Letter: Retrieved from http://www.studyzone.org/testprep/ela4/n/friendlyletterl.cfm
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.