2017 - Volume 6

ISSN 2159-0281 (Print)
eISSN 2159-029X (Online)
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Table of ContentsEditorial BoardCall for Papers
Individual articles can be accessed below. The full volume of the journal is available at the following link:

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Edition

Laughter to learning: How humor can build relationships and increase learning in the online classroom

Crystal McCabe

Katie Sprute

Kimber Underdown

DOI: 10.9743/JIR.2017.1

Research has shown that students perceive their success, in even the most difficult courses, on their interactions and relationships with their instructors (Anderson, 2011; Micari & Pazos, 2012). In the online classroom, instructors run into an even greater challenge when it comes to engaging students, showing their personalities, and being present. One way of making connections with online college students is through humor. Hackathorn, Garczynski, Blankmeyer, Tennial, & Solomon (2011) found that students not only expressed favorable comments about their professors who used humor in the classroom; they also showed higher success rates and levels of engagement. Davies (2015) also discovered that student comprehension of material delivered with wit was increased over students whose instructors did not use humor. This article will provide research behind using humor, examples of appropriate and effective means of demonstrating humor in the online classroom, and sample evidence of student comments when humor was used. Even the most humor-challenged faculty members will leave this article with strategies to add elements of their own wittiness into their online classes.

Grit, Growth Mindset, and Deliberate Practice in Online Learning

Cristie McClendon

Robin Massey Neugebauer

Amanda King

DOI: 10.9743/JIR.2017.2

Online education continues to grow in popularity and is an attractive option for individuals of all ages, but particularly for adults who must balance work, family, and school responsibilities. Attrition rates in online courses are high for a variety of personal and institutional reasons. Some of the personal reasons attributed to retention in online courses and degree programs focus on non-cognitive factors related to persistence, a growth mindset, and grit. Prior research has demonstrated that higher grit scores could equate to higher achievement in multiple areas of a person’s life–professionally and personally, and in academic settings. However, to mindfully improve retention of online learners, faculty need training and should implement strategies such as deliberate practice, which requires full engagement, repeated attempts at success, openness to taking risks, and reflection on learning and failures. Thus, it makes sense that grit, a growth mindset, and deliberate practice strategies may improve retention of online students. Identifying reasons for high attrition rates in online courses and non-cognitive traits that lead to academic success will offer a foundation for more research to identify ways to increase student persistence in online degree programs.

EVERYONE’S A COMEDIAN.” NO REALLY, THEY ARE: Using Humor in the Online and Traditional Classroom

Victoria D. Smith 

 Amy S. Wortley

DOI: 10.9743/JIR.2017.3

The effects of the incorporation of instructor humor in both the traditional and online classroom settings was examined. Students react to instructor humor in positive ways that demonstrate both increased engagement with the material and increased information recall following the use of instructor humor in lecture. Challenges of instructor and student relationship and connection within the classroom could be mitigated in part through the use of humor. Despite its challenges, instructors should incorporate humor in the classroom. The ability to project one’s personality and connect with students in the classroom is a key element in the effectiveness of humor as it relates to student engagement. In order to fully benefit from the incorporation of humor, instructors should play to their own strengths and talents in the delivery of humorous material in the classroom, both traditional and virtual.

 Increasing Student Engagement Through Paired Technologies 

 Lynn Basko
     Jillian Hartman

DOI: 10.9743/JIR.2017.4

The article highlights efficient ways to combine tech tools, such as Remind and video conferencing, to increase student engagement and faculty/student communication. Using Remind is a great way to provide information to students outside of LoudCloud, and video conferencing is a tool for having synchronous meetings and conferences with students. Video conferences can be used to provide students with important information about courses and assignments and give students an opportunity to see their instructor and fellow classmates face to face. Based on a study of 58 undergraduate courses with 1302 enrolled students, the authors found that by combining video conferencing and Remind, instructors can increase the number of students who attend their video conferences and therefore increase student achievement in their courses. The article provides strategies for implementing these technologies as well as best practices regarding when and where to use them in online classrooms.

Encouraging Student Autonomy Through Higher Order Thinking Skills

Victoria D. Smith

Janet W. Darvas

DOI: 10.9743/JIR.2017.5

This article discusses how to empower students to work, think, and act independently in the higher education setting. Inspiring students to progress through the stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy emboldens them to discover intrinsic motivation and self-regulated learning. This article defines and focuses on the importance of teaching intrinsic motivation through higher order thinking skills, reliance on materials provided for success, and metacognitive assessment. Additionally, this article provides examples of ways to implement student autonomy in the traditional and online classroom settings.

The Integration of Spirituality and Transformational Leadership in Higher Education

Cheryl Patton

Natasha Webster

JoAnne Moore-Dent

DOI: 10.9743/JIR.2017.6

As concerns about the skyrocketing costs of a college degree have converged with the increasing availability of open educational resources (OER), higher education administrators are asking faculty and curriculum designers to use OERs to design courses and programs. This case study explores the decision making process and outcomes of an online, for-profit university’s attempt to build low-cost business degree programs using open educational resources. The paper concludes with a list of suggested criteria for evaluating open source content when designing similar programs.
Strategies For Successful Group Work

Mary Beth Nipp

Stephanie  Maher Palenque

DOI: 10.9743/JIR.2017.7

The thought of group work, or CLC Groups often strikes fear and loathing in the hearts and minds of both students and instructors. According to Swan, Shen, and Hiltz (2006) collaborative work presents the possibilities of many difficulties including a largely unequal contribution of group participants, an inability of the students to manage the different ideas and opinions while progressing, a decentralization of the objective of the work due to the requirement for increased autonomy and control over the choice of information and its processing, and individual assessment of each group participant. However, the many proven benefits of collaborative work make it worthwhile in both traditional and online classrooms. It is well worth the effort to gain control of this aspect of the class and position students for a successful and fulfilling experience. This article will discuss key steps, including connecting to collaborate, committing to comply, and anticipating to adapt, that instructors and students can take to help ensure the best chance for successful group work in the classroom.

Successful Instructional Leadership Styles in Education

Gina Smith

Maria Minor

Henry Brashen

Kristie Remaly

DOI: 10.9743/JIR.2017.8

The purpose of this research study was to explore the dominant leadership styles of online college instructors. Online instructors voluntarily participated in a survey to indicate which of four leadership styles they use in their classes: transformational, situational, democratic, or authoritarian. The surveys indicated that the transformational leadership style was the most common style used by the online instructors. The majority of instructors felt that their leadership style in the classroom was effective based on feedback and evaluations, although only half of the instructors indicated that the university or college they teach at offers leadership training.

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