An Introduction and Guide to Enhancing Online Instruction with Web 2.0 Tools

Karyn W. Tunks, University of South Alabama


With online course development on the rise (Allen & Seaman, 2011) the challenge for instructors is to enhance and ensure learning through this modality (Brinkerhoff & Koroghlanian, 2007). When direct contact with students in a traditional face-to-face classroom is not feasible, instructors must be innovative in content delivery and provide for students a sense of instructor presence. It has been suggested that the online instructor is the critical factor for a successful learning experience (Brabazon, 2001; McKenzie, Mims, Bennett, & Waugh, 2000; Beaudin, 1999). Indicators of instructor presence include behaviors such as communicating, sharing information, and maintaining a sense of community within the course (Palloff & Pratt, 2003). These indicators have been directly related to student perception of success in meeting learning outcomes (Kupczynsk, Ice, Wiesenmayer, & McCluskey, 2010). Web 2.0 tools offer ways to personalize classes and demonstrate instructional presence. Some of the more widely recognized tools include blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, video and photo sharing, avatars, microblogging, social bookmarking, and social media. This generation of free, easily accessible Web-based tools allows users to access as well as create and contribute information to sites. In an online classroom setting, Web 2.0 tools enable instructors to interact with students in a variety of innovative ways. Rather than passively viewing information, students collaborate and learn as a classroom community. The purpose of this paper is to help novice online instructors understand exactly what Web 2.0 tools are, as well as why, and how they can be used in the online classroom. Suggestions for specific Web 2.0 tools that work well across disciplines are provided.


Online Learning, Web 2.0, Teaching Strategies

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