Finding Community in Online Education

Finding a Sense of Community in Online Education Graduation friends

Taking an online course is far more than sitting in front of a computer. To get the full value out of the experience, you need to go deeper – real engagement involves becoming a part of the community of learners. In fact, research supports the development of community in online education as an important factor for maximizing student satisfaction with the experience.This study has shown that there are five key peer-to-peer interactions in online learning are most predictive of sense of community. They are introductions, collaborative group projects, contributing personal experiences, entire class online discussions, and exchanging resources. In this post, we’ll talk about how we implement each of these interactions within our UNE Online courses, what our programs’ faculty members are doing to facilitate these experiences, and what additional steps students can take to build their online community. How does faculty build community in online education? Course introduction At the beginning of the course, your instructor will introduce themselves… Read More >

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Online Learning at UNE - what you need to know

Fireside Chat

What is UNE Online? UNE Online is the portion of the University of New England that operates out of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies (CGPS) and brings you online learning. Dr. Martha Wilson is our Dean. On our website,, you may also see some mentions of our nickname, OWL, which stands for Online Worldwide Learning. A timeline of the student experience At the very start – the process When you begin your application, you will have a dedicated Enrollment Counselor available to you, to guide you throughout the admissions process. They provide assistance with your application and advise you during your application process so you’re able to put your very best foot forward. Each program has their own specialized Enrollment Counselors who are are experts on thier program, so they are able to answer even the most granular questions about your program of interest. Success through support – your student support specialist With more than a 95% rate… Read More >

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How does an online course work at UNE Online?

UNE Online Course Guide

What does it look like to take an online course? An online course has the same learning objectives as a traditional course but is presented online through technology. At UNE Online, courses are developed by pairing a subject matter expert with an instructional designer to develop learning experiences that are efficient, pedagogically sound, and appealing. Using a typical public health course as an example, this post discusses the “who, what, where, when, and how” of taking a class online at the University of New England. We’ll take a look at how this sample online public health course is structured, what’s expected of you, what resources are available to you, and more. 1. Course outline: the syllabus The majority of online public health courses are eight weeks long and broken out into eight modules. There are a couple of courses that have the modules broken out by content, but most courses divide out the course by week. During orientation you’ll get a course syllabus… Read More >

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5 Secrets of a Successful Online Student

Tips for Online Students

Getting an advanced degree online requires drive… and plenty of discipline. The majority of UNE Online graduate students have a full-time job in addition to their schoolwork, and so purposefully have to carve out a space to get coursework done. Taking online courses requires time management. With in-person classes, you have to actually drive to a classroom and sit there next to other students and your instructor. With online education, there are no physical location requirements. Online school helps you maximize your time. Most likely, that’s why you chose this path, or are at least seriously considering it. You can fit your education in between other important obligations, but you also know you have to prioritize. The following are five secrets of a successful online student: Develop a time management plan and follow it Managing your time efficiently is absolutely crucial for online graduate students, as online classes can take a considerable amount of time. Most UNE Online students have… Read More >

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Science Prerequisites for Health Professions - Why These Courses are Unique

Lending a helping hand with an online science prerequisite course

UNE Online offers many great degrees and certificate programs; however, did you know that we also offer individual science prerequisite courses? From Microbiology to General Chemistry, these courses can be taken anywhere in the world! Students who enroll in our science prerequisite courses are typically students who wish to enter a health professions program but need one or two courses to fill a gap in their transcript. Have we caught your attention? Keep reading to learn more! How are these courses set up differently than courses in matriculated programs? Our science prerequisite courses have a 16-week completion time and they have no due dates, meaning students can complete earlier if desired! Another great aspect of these individual courses is the fact that we have start dates every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month. Yes, that is right; two start dates every month! Frequent start dates allow students plenty of options when signing up for our courses, and are great… Read More >

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Student Spotlight: Tyler Blankenship – Applied Nutrition Program

Tyler Blankenship, Master of Science in Applied Nutrition Student

Tyler Blankenship, Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR), from Orlando, Florida, is a student in the Master of Science in Applied Nutrition program. Tyler’s background includes working as a chef at Walt Disney World, as a restaurant nutritionist at Sea World and also in nutrition management at a long term care facility. From Chef to Dietary Management Prior to beginning his master’s degree with UNE, Tyler flexed his culinary chops working as both a sous chef and nutritionist at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Armed with degrees in culinary arts and culinary nutrition from Johnson & Wales University, Tyler cooked at Four Star, Five Diamond restaurants at Disney. With a developing interest in nutrition, he moved on to a nutritionist position for the restaurants at Sea World. In this role, he provided nutritional and allergy analysis for each recipe offered on the property, as well as developed training materials on how staff could respond to and address concerns about allergies. After that,… Read More >

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New and 100% online - Principles of Human Nutrition

Principles of Human Nutrition

New online classes begin twice a month Registration deadlines for Principles of Human Nutrition and the entire suite of Science Prerequisite for Health Professions online classes are on the first and third Monday of each month. Secure your spot today! Register Now Not all online nutrition courses are the same. UNE Online has a brand new online nutrition course, 100% online, with fresh, custom-developed content. Principles of Human Nutrition is a 3-credit, science-oriented, introductory online nutrition course. Course content focuses on the role of nutrition in health promotion and disease prevention in relation to personal health choices. Emphasis is placed on the nutrient requirements of healthy individuals, nutrient categories and their characteristics, physiological functions, metabolism, and food sources. Who is the ideal person to take this Principles of Human Nutrition survey course? Are you looking to apply to medical school but need a science course to satisfy your prerequisite science credits? Or maybe you are in the process of applying for an advanced degree… Read More >

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The 12 Days of Course Development

magic, doves, sky, ring

What is Instructional Design? When Christine B. shared with us Aesthetic principles for instructional design, it was like walking in a magic forest with fairy tales hopping from tree branches. Could we have said it better ourselves? The instructional designer “sometimes acts in a role similar to that of the Greek chorus, commenting on the dramatic developments from a privileged standpoint.”  And sometimes he/she “functions as a companion character  who is confidant to the protagonist and who might also act as provocateur or mirror, as Sam does during Frodo’s quest in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.” “Instructional designers are also in the business of creating “refined and intensified forms of experience.” In the spirit of the magic, and as a final blog post for this year (!), we are offering a collective effort at the season’s cheer and whatnot, with an aside note that some of us can even sing and/or play music! The 12 Days of Course Development… Read More >

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UNE Online Presents at AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education

Victoria presenting at the AMA 2015

Victoria Hartig, marketing manager for the UNE’s College of Graduate and Professional Studies (CGPS), had the honor of being selected as a speaker at the American Marketing Association’s Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education this year, presenting on best practices for digital marketing strategy. Higher education’s largest marketing event This national AMA conference took place November 15-18, 2015 in Chicago, and attracted more than 1,300 higher education institutions who came together with the goal of growing their skills and knowledge of building strategic marketing campaigns to increase student enrollments. Sharing best practices Victoria’s presentation, titled ‘Marketing to your Ideal Candidate,’ covered the strategy, tactics, and digital marketing assets necessary to build and manage successful campaigns specifically targeted to higher ed audience segments. Victoria and the marketing team at UNE Online have implemented this same process for all of UNE Online’s graduate programs and have found that it has proven to be a vital contributing factor in CGPS’s growth and increased student enrollment. Other speakers included: Michele… Read More >

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In Celebration of National Distance Learning Week at UNE Online

University of New England

A history rooted in innovation As a continuously evolving institution, the University of New England has one of the most unique histories in higher education. Established as Westbrook College in 1831, the University merged with St. Francis College (est. 1939) in 1996 to become the University we know today – UNE. From this rich history has grown a collaborative, innovative institution comprised of six colleges all with student-centered missions. UNE is known for being an innovator in the realm of healthcare education, but we are also so much more. In the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, as UNE Online, we are an important part of UNE as an innovative, student-centered online college. Our day-to-day operations are set up to anticipate and efficiently assist the unique needs of our online student population. Oftentimes online students deal with numerous outside forces and circumstances, and UNE Online is here to support them on their educational journey, to ultimately facilitate their success. A… Read More >

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UNE creates new track and presents at ACTEM 2015 Conference

Large classroom

I think we can all agree that the use of technology plays a vital role in education – not just online education, but education as an entire discipline. There’s a need for educators to be kept up to date on current best practices, and learn how to get the most out of their classroom technology. For many educators, attending conferences is one important way to keep current. Significant change for the better Two years ago, UNE Instructional Designer Corey Butler felt that higher education was underrepresented in the Maine’s only technology in education conference, ACTEM. So he initiated a conversation among his colleagues at UNE to see what they could do about that. Last fall, the entire Instructional Design Services (IDS) department traveled up the the ACTEM conference as a team, and from that experience, they envisioned an opportunity for growth. And not only just at ACTEM, but potentially across Maine’s educational landscape. The UNE IDS team advocated for change by submitting… Read More >

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Touching the Third Rail: The Learning Styles (Myth) and Are They Worth Your

red school door

It’s almost impossible to have a conversation about learning or teaching without invoking the concept of learning styles. Much of the drive behind lesson and course design is based on the need to tailor curriculum to particular or all of the learning styles that your students might come with. Is it practical – or even possible – to teach in a way that a student perceives she learns best? What observations have you made over the years that back up the claim that learning styles matter and can be leveraged? Or even, that they actually exist as a phenomenon? Is It Possible that It’s All Just a Myth? While it sounds good and we are emotionally and ethically inclined to help a learner get the best possible experience, devoting all our energy to finding out the learning styles and aligning the curriculum this way may not be the wisest solution. First of all, as Harold Pashler states it, there is… Read More >

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College Acceptance: How UNE Online creates a more inclusive environment for

platinum rule

When looking for colleges, whether online or the more traditional brick and mortar, many students look at tangible areas. Questions often asked are: ‘How much will this cost?’ ‘How long is the program?’ ‘Are there residency requirements?’ ‘Is there a decent professor to student ratio?’ The list goes on and on. One question that is rarely asked of an institution is ‘How will you make me feel like an individual?’ On top of this, nobody ever asks ‘How will you respect and work with my identities and create an inclusive environment?’ Whether social identities (religious, gender, race, etc.) or personal identities (parent, athlete, full time employee, etc.), these are often areas that a person must work with to create the best situation in a college environment, and rarely does a student question the institution unless it is a major issue. UNE Online however answers these questions before they are ever asked. You may be reading this and asking yourself how… Read More >

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Google Docs Add-Ons

Google Docs Add Ons

We’ve touted the benefits of using Google Drive in the past. This time, we’re going to talk about a new(ish) dimension of capabilities within Google Docs (and Google Sheets, though we’re not getting into that today), that empowers users to integrate functionality from a multitude of different services directly, contextually, within Google Docs. Google introduced add-ons to Google Docs and Sheets about a year ago, but the ecosystem of add-ons was pretty immature back then. Now, with a year gone by for services to develop add-ons, the choices are richer and more useful. First, in order to get/manage/activate/deactivate add-ons, you should open up a Google Doc. Look at the toolbar across the top of your sheet–there should be a tab that says “Add-ons.” Click it, and then click “Get add-ons.” There you go. Now it is important to remember that add-ons won’t automatically activate after you’ve added their functionality to your doc. You have to activate them. Click “Manage add-ons” to… Read More >

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Skip the admissions process with these online courses

UNE classes with no admissions

When do you NOT need to go through admissions? UNE Online’s Science Prerequisites for Health Professions classes are our exception to the admissions process rule. They do not require an admissions process at all. Simply log in, register for the class, pay, and begin on the first or third Wednesday of the month.  All of our classes are instructor-led, high-quality courses. They are taken a la carte, as you need them, so you can do just one class or a couple of classes at once. You can take as many of these courses as you need over time. Filling gaps – efficiently UNE has a strong history of preparing students for the health professions, and we were finding that a lot of students who wanted to transfer into our graduate programs were missing a class or two, so we started offering online courses to fill such gaps for students. Satisfying requirements – quickly At this time, we have 16 science prerequisite class offerings, and many… Read More >

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Gamification: The Bartle Test

Bartle Test

In academia, “Gamification” is the (lately hyped) practice of applying game design to instructional design. The basic idea behind it is that well designed games motivate players to spend inordinate amounts of time learning the system of the game and boatloads of extra lives and respawns trying to beat/win/“game” the game. If one were to effectively align the artificial system of a game with the real-world process of learning a specific subject, perhaps students would be equally as motivated to learn as they are to study the 100,000 pages of content on the World of Warcraft wiki. Class is already a game, of course. Generally speaking, most teachers know to scaffold the large “boss” challenges (tests, final papers, etc.) with smaller, “minion” challenges (quizzes, discussion, etc.) so that students have familiarized themselves with the tools they’ve been provided and the environment in which they’re working before they’re flung headlong into ultimate assessment. For the most part, educators understand implicitly the… Read More >

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Interactive Stories

canoe line drawing

We have already talked about writing. In online courses, writing is often the predominant activity. It’s not just styles, grammar, and perfect APA citations that matter, of course. There are lots of skills that students must demonstrate when writing academic papers. What we don’t include as much is this dimension of interacting with writing (stories). Stories can lead you down different paths based on decisions (choices) made at certain crucial points in the narrative. Digital interactive stories have been around for a long time, as different technologies to support this sort of writing and user interface have been used – from a web of wikis to simple code to complex productions (like alternate endings in full-feature movies). Another tool came across, Inklewriter. It may be considered as a more or less low learning curve tool, which allows you to create your own scenarios or have students (in groups or individually) do the same as a project (sample story). In fact,… Read More >

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