Week 2- Relevance and Expertise



So what can I learn in your online course that ‘s not just for a grade but something that’s useful enough to me in my adult life and I can take with me?

Interest- Based Learning

When a learner engages with the content there is relevance and interest.

According to Zull, Emotion is the foundation of learning . . . all regions of neocortex are enmeshed in networks of other neurons that secrete emotion chemicals.” There are two factors that have been shown to greatly influence the kind of connection made in the brain that can lead to future recall and greater understanding.

  1. The information has meaning to the learner.
  2. The information has an emotional hook to the learner
  • Learners control their interests in your online course. Learners need to be interested in the subject matter to be engaged in their learning.
  • You control the relevance of the content to the learner. Providing relative content is critical to the success of your online course.
  • You also have  control over the degree to which learners understand why they are learning what they are learning.
  • Make learning relevant and you will increase learner engagement. To determine how relevant the content in your online course, ask yourself these three questions;
    1. How does the content connect to other subjects as well as current events?
    2. How does the content apply the learners interests and everyday life?
    3. How might the content affect their aspirations?

When your learners have a greater understanding of the relevance of your content, they will be more interested in learning it. Relevant, meaningful activities that both engage students emotionally and connect with what they already know build neural connections and long-term memory storage. When you make learning relevant you  increase learner interest, effort, perseverance and desire to succeed.

When learners know how your course will benefit their overall education, their chosen profession, and their personal life, they be will be motivated to learn. Learners who are personally interested and invested in a learning activity persist longer, develop deeper connections, and think more critically than students who are not. Research shows that learners perform better when instructors help them to make connections between course content and personally held interests and values.

Although it can be difficult to leverage and adapt to the interests of each individual learner, consider the following strategies to broadly foster students’ interests:


  • Leave room for new learning objectives to emerge
    • As new challenges and opportunities are uncovered during your course, you may need to modify your learning objectives or add new ones. George Veletsianos, associate professor and research chair at Royal Roads University, has developed an activity in which students have the opportunity to “hack” the course syllabus This link opens in a new tab by suggesting readings, topics, and course learning objectives.

Hack My Syllabus page featuring weekly topics, recommended readings, and a Comments menu.


Online Instructors are experts in cognitive, emotional and behavioral engagement.
  • Online Instructors are experts in cognitive, emotional and behavioral engagement.
  • When an instructor engages with the content there is expertise and the potential for rigor.

Even though online teachers know their subject thoroughly, this does not guarantee that they are able to teach others.  The best online instructors not only have knowledge and expertise in their subject area but also in pedagogical and andragogical  (adult learning) strategies.

When instructors have expertise in a subject, and how to learn, they are more likely to inspire students to learn, grow and become responsible learners and citizens. The best online instructors use their expertise to foster students cognitive, emotional and behavioral engagement.

The greatest misconceptions in education today is that certain teachers have a higher natural aptitude in technology than others. However, external skills are only a function of the internal dispositions that allowed them to grow.  


Profile of a Modern Teacher:

  1. choose to be vulnerable.
  2. see themselves as co-learners, not teachers.
  3. allow themselves to fail, often.
  4. don’t wait until they’re experts to introduce something
  5. move into their students’ world, even if it’s foreign
  6. run towards their area of weakness, not away
  7. are comfortable not knowing what is going to happen
  8. invite mistakes into their lives
  9. dream big and ask ‘why not?’
  10. allow their students to teach each other
  11. step outside their comfort zone
  12. embrace change
  13. feel secure asking colleagues for help
  14. model resiliency and perseverance
  15. question everything
  16. believe they can learn anything, given the right attitude and effort

Earn Your  Badge

Get your  – Week 2 Action Plan/Worksheet

Login to UH Google Drive
  1. Make a copy and get your action plan. Click on The Art of Teaching Online -Week 2 [insert your name here]
  2. Insert your name in the title- by clicking on the title name in the upper left corner of your document.
  3. Locate your new   document  in your  Google Drive account.
  4. Please complete the steps  in the worksheet
  5. By the end of Thursday (recommended to have content get the comments started) share your document and enable commenting  (see the directions below) post it in HERE in the Google+ Community
  6. In the  Google+ Community, comment ON two other Google Doc worksheets, by the end of Sunday

Format for commenting on other worksheets.  I am questioning the (INSERT INTELLECTUAL STANDARD) of your statement ____________ because _______.

This format is designed to deepen your learning as well as provide ease of access and clarity for others. Remember that when we are giving feedback, we are focused on a person’s reasoning, not the person him or herself. We all should invite constructive critique of our thoughts and our work. This is an essential disposition of the critical thinker.
IMPORTANT: The link to the forms to apply for a badge are in every Wednesday email.

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