Remote Teaching Resources

This site was used by the university to share resources during the historic shift to online teaching during the pandemic. Please see Teaching @ JHU for curated list of university-wide teaching resources and information:

Quick links:


Five Facets of Social Presence in Online Distance Education

Eunmo Sung and Richard E. Mayer  

Social presence in online learning environments refers to the degree to which a learner feels personally connected with other students and the instructor in an online learning community. Based on a 19 item Online Social Presence Questionnaire (OSPQ) given to college students in two different online learning courses, a series of exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses consistently revealed five factors representing facets of social presence in online learning environments: social respect (e.g. receiving timely responses), social sharing (e.g., sharing information or expressing beliefs), open mind (e.g., expressing agreement or receiving positive feedback), social identity (e.g., being called by name), and intimacy (e.g., sharing personal experiences). Together, the five factors accounted for 58% of the variance and were based on 19 items. Although much previous research focuses on cognitive aspects of learning in online environments, understanding the role of the learner’s sense of presence may be particularly important in distance learning situations in which students and the instructor are physically separated. 

Improving Students’ Learning with Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions from Cognitive and Educational Psychology

John Dunlosky, Katherine A. Rawson, Elizabeth J. Marsh, Mitchell J. Nathan, and Daniel T. Willingham 

Many students are being left behind by an educational system that some people believe is in crisis. Improving educational outcomes will require efforts on many fronts, but a central premise of this monograph is that one part of a solution involves helping students to better regulate their learning through the use of effective learning techniques. Fortunately, cognitive and educational psychologists have been developing and evaluating easy-to-use learning techniques that could help students achieve their learning goals. This monograph discusses 10 learning techniques in detail and offers recommendations about their relative utility. Selected techniques are expected to be relatively easy to use and hence could be adopted by many students. Also, some techniques (e.g., highlighting and rereading) were selected because students report relying heavily on them, which makes it especially important to examine how well they work. The techniques include elaborative interrogation, self-explanation, summarization, highlighting (or underlining), the keyword mnemonic, imagery use for text learning, rereading, practice testing, distributed practice, and interleaved practice. 

Instruction Based on Visualizations (see chapter 22; ebook is available from JHU Libraries) 

Richard E. Mayer 

People learn better from words and pictures than from words alone. This proposal, which can be called the multimedia instruction hypothesis, is examined in this chapter. For thousands of years, the main medium of instruction has involved the use of words— including oral scripts, discussions, lectures, and more recently, textbooks. Recently, advances in computer-based visualization technology have enabled the incorporation of sophisticated graphics in instruction—including animation, video, illustrations, and photos. In this chapter, I explore the question of whether adding visualizations to words in instructional messages can improve student learning. 

Thirty Years of Research on Online Learning

Richard E. Mayer 

This paper presents a personal account of developments in research on online learning over the past 30 years. Research on how to design online instruction represents an example of applying the science of learning to education. It contributes to the science of learning (as exemplified by developments in cognitive load theory, the cognitive theory of multimedia learning, and incorporating metacognitive, motivational, and affective aspects of learning), the science of instruction (as exemplified by the continuing development of research‐based principles of instructional design), and the science of assessment (as exemplified by supplementing self‐report surveys and retention tests with multilevel transfer tests, log file data during learning, and cognitive neuroscience measures of cognitive processing during learning). Some recurring themes are that learning is caused by instructional methods rather than instructional media, so research should focus on features that are uniquely afforded by digital learning environments; instructional practice should be grounded in rigorous and systematic research, including value‐added experiments aimed at pinpointing the active ingredients in online instruction; research in online learning should identify boundary conditions under which instructional techniques are most effective; and research in online learning should test and contribute to learning theory. 

Online Teaching (see chapter 4) 

Chandra M. Mehrotra and Lawrence McGahey 

Online education can be differentiated as synchronous delivery (instructor and student are online at the same time) or asynchronous delivery (instructor and student need not be in direct contact through the Internet at the same time). The asynchronous delivery of instruction attracts many students because it affords greater learner control in balancing education, work, and family life (Hrastinski, 2008), although online courses commonly blend synchronous and asynchronous elements. This chapter concentrates on the role of the effective instructor in asynchronously delivered online courses. It reviews the essentials of online teaching, including the characteristics of online students, the factors that should be considered in designing an online course, the instructional methods most effective in fostering student learning, and methods available to assess learning outcomes.  

Instructional Video 

Five Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Instructional Video

Richard E. Mayer, Logan Fiorella, and Andrew Stull 

This paper reviews five ways to increase the effectiveness of instructional video and one way not to use instructional video. People learn better from an instructional video when the onscreen instructor draws graphics on the board while lecturing (dynamic drawing principle), the onscreen instructor shifts eye gaze between the audience and the board while lecturing (gaze guidance principle), the lesson contains prompts to engage in summarizing or explaining the material (generative activity principle), a demonstration is filmed from a first-person perspective (perspective principle), or subtitles are added to a narrated video that contains speech in the learner’s second language (subtitle principle). People do not learn better from a multimedia lesson when interesting but extraneous video is added (seductive details principle). Additional work is needed to determine the conditions under which these principles apply and the underlying learning mechanisms. 

Learner Control othe Pacing oan Online Slideshow Lesson: Does Segmenting Help?

Richard E. Mayer, Ashleigh Wells, Jocelyn Parongand Jeffrey T. Howarth 

How can we improve the instructional effectiveness of an online slideshow lesson? In the present study, college students received a 12‐slide multimedia slideshow lesson on how a geographic information system works. In a 2 × 2 design, the lesson was presented one complete slide at a time (large segment) or added one section of the slide at a time (small segment) when the student pressed the CONTINUE key, and the words were presented in printed form (text) or spoken form (voice). Students performed significantly better on a transfer posttest when the lesson was paced in small segments rather than large segments (d = 0.34); there was no effect or interaction involving modality. The small‐segment version was rated as less difficult than the large‐segment version (d = 0.43). The segmenting principle was supported in the context of online slideshows. 

What Works and Doesn’t Work with Instructional Video

Logan Fiorella and Richard E. Mayer 

This commentary examines the papers in a special issue on “Developments and Trends in Learning with Instructional Video”. In particular, it focuses on basic findings concerning which instructional features improve learning with instructional video (i.e., breaking the lesson into segments paced by the learner; recording from both first- and third-person perspectives) and which features or learner attributes do not (i.e., matching the instructor’s gender to the learner’s gender; having the instructor’s face on the screen; adding practice without feedback; inserting pauses throughout the video; and spatial ability). In addition, it offers recommendations for future work on designing effective video lessons. 

Pivoting to Remote Teaching 

So You Want to Temporarily Teach Online

Stephanie Moore and Charles B. Hodges 

With the possible disruption to social gatherings presented by the coronavirus, there is increased discussion around planning for the use of online learning as a continuity plan for most universities and schools. While there seems to be more fervor around this idea than in the past, this is no different than other times when online has been considered as part of an instructional continuity plan. A number of resources and ideas are being shared, but many of them focus more on institutional plans or are technical how-tos. This article provides an instructional planning guide that individual instructors can use. 

Going Online in a Hurry: What to Do and Where to Start

Michelle E. Miller 

This article rounds up crowdsourced resources and recommendations from a variety of experts in online teaching and educational technology. Topics include synchronous and asynchronous teaching, assessments, communication, and course materials. 

Pivoting to Online TeachingResearch and Practitioner Perspectives (Open Course starting March 18)

George Siemens, Justin Dellinger, Matt Crosslin, and Tanya Joosten, LINK Research Lab, University of Texas at Arlington 

In this course, participants will explore research-informed, effective practices for online teaching and learning in postsecondary institutions. By enrolling, you will learn practical ways to quickly move into teaching online, guided by top scholars and practitioners in the field. Each week, you will watch videos and read articles by online learning experts and participate in activities and discussions over different topics. The instructors will host a live session each week, and synthesize relevant resources to help those who are new to online learning and those who have experience, but want to expand their skills and provide support for others. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and share practices that have worked well in online learning environments. 

Given recent global developments related to COVID-19, colleges and universities have rapidly shifted to move teaching online, even for course instructors who have no prior experience in that environment. It is our hope that this course can support this transition by helping promote high-quality, online pedagogical approaches grounded in research and equitable outcomes for learners. 

OLC Continuity Planning and Emergency Preparedness

Online Learning Consortium 

A collection of resources and initiatives to support your efforts in moving your courses to an online format when emergency situations arise. The page includes webinars, videos, and professional development courses. 

Moving Online Now: How to Keep Teaching During Coronavirus

Chronicle of Higher Education

This collection includes the Chronicle of Higher Education’s best advice guides and opinion pieces related to online learning and remote teaching to help faculty and staff members make the adjustment. Follow the link above to request a free copy of the collection.