Online Learning Toolbox is a collection of seminal readings with commentary on different topics of online learning. Students taking the EDUC-507: Principles and Practices of Distance Education graduate course in Fall 2019 at Iowa State University contributed to the development of this open online source. This initiative is a product of the “open pedagogy” approach that I follow in designing the renewable assignments and projects in my courses. Open pedagogy is a participatory teaching approach in which students contribute to the development of the content they learn . As I was exploring the integration of open pedagogy activities into my graduate courses, I came across with the Open Education Reader, a collection of readings on open education, developed by Dr. David Wiley and his graduate students. This work inspired me to implement similar projects in other contexts (see the Learning Environments Design Reading Series and Aquatic Toxicology WikiBook).
As a requirement of their first project in the course, students synthesized and presented their notes on selected articles and shared examples as well as discussion questions that can help future readers interested in exploring these topics. For each topic, we analyzed the pioneer work on that field and synthesized them with the following information:
- Reference and link to the article
- Summary of key points
- Discussion questions
- Additional resources
The topics we cover in the first edition include: Open Education, Self-Regulation in Online Learning, Online Learning Communities, Engaging Online Learners, Online Learning in K-12, Social Media and Online Learning, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), Effective Feedback in Online Learning, Accessibility & Universal Design of Online Education, Community of Inquiry Emotions in Online Learning, Assessing Online Learning, Online Learning Interaction, Online Discussions, and Evaluating Online Education. Future students taking EDUC-507 will study the chapters prepared by current students, and will add new chapters or sections to this toolbox.
I would like to thank the students and contributors of this edition. All students diligently worked on analyzing the research articles and presenting commentaries for future readers and students. I am excited to connect my current and future students through this participatory work.
Special thanks to Dana Alzoubi in helping me design the book, Abbey Elder, Open Access & Scholarly Communication Librarian at the Iowa State University Library in supporting our work on open pedagogy and open educational practices, and Harrison Inefuku for the design.
I am excited to share this resource with the online learning community. I hope you enjoy reading this collection. If you have recommendations for other topics and articles related to online learning, please contact us.
—Evrim Baran, December 2019