Part One

In the first section, “Course Conceptualization and Support,” three chapters come together to highlight what goes into making an online course, including learning theory, course design, and instructor training. Daniel Ruefman in the first chapter, “Return to Your Source: Aesthetic Experience in Online Writing Instruction,” focuses on experiential learning theory to inform readers about how students learn. Ruefman warns that online courses should not be monomodal and use less technology than its face-to-face counterparts because these classrooms distance students from the experiential learning process.

The second chapter— “When the Distance is not Distant: Using Minimalist Design to Maximized Interaction in Online Writing Courses and Improve Faculty Professional Development” by Heidi Skurat, Dani Nier-Weber, and Jessie C. Borgman— continues Ruefman’s discussion by seeking to demonstrate a minimalist approach and provide examples of online course design. The examples in the chapter prove that instructors should participate in professional development opportunities to learn about implementing minimalist design in online courses, which also promotes instructors’ use of technology when it improves understanding and engagement. Further, the chapter argues that through professional development, instructors will see “less is more” for online contexts, providing students with the optimal learning environment (32).

Teaching online—as demonstrated by these two chapters—is challenging due to new considerations regarding learning and course design. Therefore, the final chapter of this section, Leni Marshall’s “Shifting into Digital Without Stripping Your Gears: Driver’s Ed for Teaching Online,” declares the educational value of teaching instructors and students about online classrooms. Instructors and students alike need to learn how to use a CMS in order to maximize its potential.