Collaborative Learning Communities


Good discussions do not just happen, but are designed and crafted to provoke deep thought and continual improvement of ideas and opinions (Horton, 2006). As participation, interaction and social presence are commonly seen as key factors for achieving collaboration, shared goals, whether face-to-face or in an online environment, is understood to be an important element toward creating a community (Zhao, Sullivan & Mellenius, 2014). Through collaboration and by helping each other to learn, students contribute to each other’s skill base and knowledge and thereby shape a learning community (Witney & Smallbone, 2011).

As an online facilitator designing a course, what would be some strategies you would consider in designing an ideal learning community?


Horton, W. (2006).  E-Learning by Design, Designing for the Virtual Classroom. Copyright 2006 John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used with permission from John Wiley & Sons Inc. via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Witney, D. & Smallbone, T. (2011). Wiki work: Can using wikis enhance student collaboration for group assignment tasks? Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 48(1), 101-110. Retrieved from the Walden Library.

Zhao, K, Sullivan, K., & Mellenius, I. (2014). Participation, interaction and social presence: An exploratory study of collaboration in online peer review groups. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(5), 807-819. Retrieved from the Walden Library.

Plagiarism – I Can Google That!



How many times during your undergraduate years did you find yourself pulling an all-righter to finish a paper the night before it was due? How much content from those papers that you wrote do you still remember and use in the real-world today? Plagiarism is about having behavioral standards about the work that you do and citing the work of others that you use properly (College of Agricultural Sciences, 2005). Back in 1997 when I graduated, AltaVista was the major search engine in use at the time. According to Wikipedia (2016), Google had not formally been incorporated until 1998. So during my time as an undergraduate, you did your research in the library, took materials home with you and wrote your paper using a Word processor. Back then, the means of determining plagiarism was done by manually comparing papers by hand. Today, there is a vast amount of resources available online that make it easier to copy and paste from websites and the potential to claim that verbiage as your own. However, search engines such as Google allow facilitators to track down copied phrases with commercially available plagiarism detection software and online services such as EVE and to compare individual student papers to Web documents and/or essay databases to find and report instances of matching text (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006). As a facilitator, I agree with Dr. Pratt in his approach toward making assessments that would mirror real-life expectations (Laureate Education, 2010). If I were to conduct a class on Shakespeare, I believe the likelihood of receiving papers on the interpretation of passages that might be plagiarize could be greater than if I was to give an assignment based upon how a student would approach a situation in the real world. Real-world examples can have many variables and students have different life-experiences that could lead them to different solutions to a situation. This consideration would make it less likely to plagiarize someone else’s work and claim it as your own. It would require a deeper understanding and method of producing a trouble-shooting workflow that can vary between individuals. By changing the scenario and altering a few variables to the situation, the student is put into a position of having to prepare a head of time for the situation and come up with original thoughts to demonstrate an understanding of the material, like Star Fleet Academy cadets would have to in the fictional TV show scenario of Star Trek’s Kobayashi Maru.


Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by adult learners online: A case study in detection and remediation. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 7(1), 1-15. Retrieved from the Walden Library using the Education Research Complete database

Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Plagiarism and cheating [Video file]. Retrieved from

Ready to Engage


As a classroom instructor transitioning into the role of an online facilitator, there are a lot of considerations to be made before the launch of that first class. There are a number of learning management systems (LMS) available on the market from open-source to fee-based services. A facilitator’s choice may depend on the technical prowess and available time commitment to set up and manage the LMS if an administrator is not available to assist with this task. Open-source LMS systems require a considerable amount of time to manage installation, setup and maintenance with unknown variables that can add to the technical side and take away from the instructional development side with little to no support. Depending upon an institution’s choice for a LMS, with all of the features a learning management system can offer, the best approach for teaching the first online course is to keep it simple and only consider the technology tools that are necessary for student engagement (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010, p. 57). With an online course, the objective is to move the focus from passive teaching to active learning by exploiting many of the same technologies used every day to connect and collaborate with others (Aldridge, 2013)

Since the most important initial goal within the first weeks of the course is to get acquainted with the learners, establish trust and to launch the learning community (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010, p. 56), the easier it is to do this without getting bogged down with a steep technology learning curve for the student or the facilitator, the better. Being able to use audio and video technology to bridge the distance between the instructor and learners can have a benefit as well as a smoother transition into the next phases of a course that can impact the outcome of the learning goals.

There are a number of technological resources that can assist a facilitator such as audio recordings using Audacity for a class introduction or a video introduction using iMovie on an iPad a well as Adobe Captivate. Regardless of the technology a facilitator decides to use, the most important consideration should be how easy it is for the learner to access the technology and the applicability of the resource to the learning. Students in an online course have the advantage of gaining access to learning resources that can connect them to recognized industry experts and engage in an active exchange of information regardless of where they live (Aldridge, 2013). With this availability to resources, an instructor must consider the type of technology they chose to include in a course so that any student, even those living in rural areas or those not so savvy with technology have the opportunity to use the technology without hindrance and focus on the learning, not the technology.

The online environment offers a great opportunity for people from all over the world to come together and meet that would not normally have the opportunity to and share thoughts and perspectives on an intellectual level. As an online facilitator, I believe it is important for the students to engage in meaningful dialog with one another and share perspectives so the tools I use will have that focus in mind. I will be incorporating video into my introduction as a means of connecting with my students on a personal level and have them do the same in a multimedia format to include audio and/or video. I will also use discussion boards as a driving force to engage students in a way that causes learning to occur and change in perspective, thus building a better understanding of the world around us. What I think will also be helpful to incorporate in an online environment is to offer open office hours during crunch times in the course where students will have access to the facilitator and can ask questions in a chat session or through Google Hangouts. By establishing a foundation of effective tools that allow for student engagement, as time moves and technology advances, other more advanced tools may become available, but as a facilitator, one should always remember that as technology changes, it is merely an inevitable tool that is in place to assist with communicating, interacting and finding a means of constructing new knowledge for the student.


Aldridge, S. (2013). 3 Ways Technology-Enhanced Courses Benefit Learners. Retrieved from

Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Setting Up an Online Learning Experience

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Preparing to launch an online learning experience for the first time that is engaging for your students and allows you to focus on building knowledge and competencies within learners as well as a network of mutual respect through the sharing of ideas and perspectives takes a lot of time and preparation before the course begins. A facilitator must first consider ways to design the course to be engaging, but also considerations must be made toward choosing the right tools that will complement the learning experience. There are many tools to consider, but with such a range of online tools that are available, it can become overwhelming to decide which tools to use. For the first online class, the best approach is to keep it simple (Boettcher& Conrad, 2010, p.57). After teaching that first class and becoming more comfortable with what to expect and gaining confidence in understanding how the technology can work within the course to achieve the course’s objectives, integration of additional online tools can be considered. In the first phase of a course, the goals are to launch the course and lay the groundwork for a learning community in which learners and faulty support one another in the accomplishment of the course goals (Boettcher& Conrad, 2010, p.10). The most important goals to achieve in the first few weeks of the course is to get acquainted with the learners, establish trust, and launch the learning community (Boettcher& Conrad, 2010, p.56). Most courses today have a diverse range of students concerning age ranges and varying skill levels. Marc Prensky (2001) spoke about this topic concerning digital natives and digital immigrants in our education system where today’s students, K through college, represent the first generation to grow up with new technology and have been surrounded by a multitude of tools of the digital age. These are the digital natives, but those that were not born into the digital age and adopted technology into their environment later in life are called digital immigrants. Keeping a course simple allows you to focus on the course’s objectives and minimizes the potential frustration a learner can have toward being hindered from learning by the complexity of technology in the course.

Within the first few weeks of a course as the facilitator works at getting acquainted with the learners, establishing clear and unambiguous guidelines about what to expect from the participants and what they should expect from the instructor will contribute toward a satisfying online experience (Boettcher& Conrad, 2010, p.55). This is important because as the instructor provides the students with a syllabus, they will have a clear understanding about the course as far as when the class will meet, how long the class will be, as well as how they will be graded. The students will also have an understanding about what the responsibilities are for the instructor toward teaching the course to the best of their abilities, when they will be available, feedback guidelines, timeliness of grades and what the performance responsibilities are for the learner based upon a criteria that has been established for the course. Establishing the course expectations and making everything available to them for review is essential toward ensuring a quality teaching and learning experience.


Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5. Retrieved from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Online Learning Communities


Sitting in a traditional classroom environment back when I first attended college allowed for me to make connections with other students that I could potentially construct ideas with and build knowledge together. As online communities continue to grow, Dr. Palloff and Dr. Pratt talk about how it is vital toward student success for the learners to make a connection to other students as they learn the ins-and-outs of this new environment. As the learner acclimates to understanding how a learning management system works, time needs to one set aside for students to make a connection with one another so they do not develop a sense of isolation. The power of a learning community is steeped in learner-to-learner engagement as they collaborate within the environment. Learning communities are established by bringing people together with a purpose and having a process in place for their development. An ideal learning environment will enable students to explore content together, challenge one another, give support and provide professional feedback.

Within the online environment, the facilitator will take on a role that is different from the traditional classroom teacher. To create an effective online learning community, the facilitator must be familiar with the technology being used and work at setting the tone for the learning experience they will have. The course should be easy to navigate with naming conventions and include a welcome letter to the participants. Since the first two weeks of the course is critical, the instructor needs to have a strong presence in the course to help resolve any issue or answer questions that come up. As the course gets underway, the facilitator should model the type of behavior for the students that he/she would like for them to embody during their time together.

During the course, the online facilitator will become a guide for the learners functioning in an equal capacity with them and avoid becoming the center of attention to their learning. During the orientation to the online experience for many new to online community students, the instructor or facilitator needs to clearly communicate how they will be supporting the students in the online environment. As the instructor communicates their part, he/she will also need to establish expectations for the student’s involvement as well as some ground rules for how the students will need to interact with one another in order to make the community a safe place to share knowledge and ideas as they help one another to grow academically. These rules of engagement will help to clarify how they are to engage, how often they will be expected to participate and how often the institution will expect learners to participate for official purposes.

The benefits of establishing instructor involvement, the rules of engagement, establishing a sense of community where the students connect with each other and understanding the expectations for the course can lead to a high level of student satisfaction, a positive perception of the learning experience as well as accountability toward one another that will empower them socially to succeed. With the growing number of students from different generations participating in online courses, it is important to remember the significance in balancing technology with the course’s intended outcomes. Most students will take to the integration of a variety of technology tools needed to develop their skills to accomplish their academic goals, but care should be taken not to include an abundance to technology simply for the sake of using technology. As the student grows within the online community and builds confidence while making connections, the feeling of being a part of something greater than themselves offers an ideal opportunity for transformation and self-awareness.


Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Online learning communities [Video file]. Retrieved from

Online Strategies – Welcome

My name is John Alexander Robinson. I am originally from New Jersey, but I currently reside in San Antonio, Texas with my beautiful wife and my daughter that is a 6 year old (going on 16) mini-me. I have been in the technology field since the early 1990s I have seen some pretty amazing advances in technology over the years. I started off my technology career training businesses, consumers and the military on Microsoft applications. Previous to my current position in a school district, I use to work for Gateway Computers as a Senior Trainer where I managed a territory and created computer-based learning demos for train-the-trainer sessions. I have always had a passion for technology and multimedia is my specialty. I learned a lot through those experiences that established the foundation for what I do today. My undergraduate degree was received from the University of Texas at San Antonio in Communication, Electronic Media and Distance Learning. I currently work as an Instructional Technologist for the Northside Independent School District with a student enrollment of over 105,000. I manage our department’s learning management system, the district’s mobile device program, I create instructional videos and get to test out new technology and write instructional training guides for district use. There’s a few other projects in there that help to keep a steady pace to a daily workload, but what I do I think is exciting and I love it! Welcome to my blog and I look forward to an engaging learning experience with you throughout this course.

Warm Regards,

John Robinson

Analyzing Scope Creep

run scope creep

Some time ago, I had an independent consulting business where I used my expertise in multimedia to help a business client create a videography for her husband’s 50th birthday celebration. At first, I was hesitant to take on the project as this client had a range of ideas for the project, but nothing solid to create a clear picture of what she wanted. Believing in my creativity, I conceded to work with her and we came to a verbal agreement on how much the project would cost at a flat rate based upon certain conditions. I had two weeks to complete the project. To get started, she delivered to me a large shoebox of photos that depicted his life story from his teenage years through his late forties. The agreement was that I would scan the images and build a professional storyline with a sound track, transitions and titles. The final product would be rendered onto a DVD. In order to tell the story of this man I did not know, I needed to work with her to gain insight on the logical order the pictures needed to be organized after they were scanned into my computer. The scanning process of over 200 pictures of varying sizes took three days to complete. Our verbal agreement is that I would only work with the images she supplied to me and would be capped at 200. She agreed. I scheduled time to meet with her to determine the order for the images and a four hour meeting turned into two days. During our meeting on the first day, she felt compelled to tell me a story of varying lengths about every image we looked at. On the second day when she came back to complete the order of the images, she brought more images with her that she felt would add more understanding to the storyline, fill I some gaps, or represent a better quality image than some of the initial photos that were presented.

Working on various projects before this, I always have tried to determine the time it would take to complete a project and add a little extra time to accommodate instances where scope creep can occur. The exception to this project that initially had me apprehensive was the fact this this client was a member of my church and I figured that a bi-product of her satisfaction with my work could be used as advertising for future business. The flip side is that if she was not pleased with the outcome, it could jeopardize future opportunities. Being a professional believing that I could still deliver the product in the time allotted, I accepted 20 more images and made clear that I would not accept any further deviations from our original agreement that would affect my production timeline and my ability to deliver the project in the time she had specified. Also, no changes were considered to my fee for the project at that time. After we agreed on the amended stipulations and determined the order of the images, I scanned the remaining photos and began building the videography. After several days the images were placed in chronological order based upon our conversation. I took screen shots of the order the images were placed in to get her approval before I rendered the project into a video format. By this point, I am a week in before having to deliver the end product. It took her two days to give me feedback on the arrangement and of course there were changes. While I waited on the feedback, I worked on the soundtrack for the project. I made the changes she suggested and sent her the mixed soundtrack for approval. After she agreed on the soundtrack, I worked feverishly on building slides that would transition to each chapter in the storyline as I constructed the final pieces of the videography before rendering. So to recap, at this point before rendering the video, she has agreed on everything that I have created. I finished the project with two days to spare and I schedule a time to meet with her deliver the DVD and receive payment for my work. The following day, during lunch, I presented the disc. She watched it in silence filled with emotion. At the conclusion of the video, I was prepared to be paid and was ready to move on to the next project. Unfortunately, she has a few suggestions for how the video could be even better.

Looking back on the experience, there is so much about the various pieces to a project that I learned. The first, is never make a verbal agreement to preform work for a potential client that you have never worked with before. Get everything in writing so that everyone involved is clear about what is expected and what will need to happen if changes are required beyond the original agreement that will change the scope or any aspect of the project. Also, if someone is not clear about the project’s outcome or purpose, don’t make inferences about what you think they might want only to realize down the road it was not or what they wanted is actually much larger in scope than you assumed. Communication, milestones and signoffs are extremely important to the progress of a project so that you can better manage where you are in the process, what you can put behind you as a completion and that every stakeholder is properly informed at all times about deliverables to meet the project’s deadline.

The Art of Communicating Effectively

communicating 1

The Art of Effective Communication

In the Art of Effective Communication, from one modality to the next, the tone of the message was conveyed with a little more meaning. At first, the message was composed of just words and would make it easy to dismiss or consider marking it to read later before anything would be done about it. As I heard the next message in a voicemail, I started to analyze the tone in the person’s voice to determine what the sense of urgency might be for me. What approach could I take to get her what she needed and how long would it take for me to stop what I’m currently doing and respond to her needs? The face-to-face conversation had the most impact out of the three conversations. Being face-to-face with someone allows you to read verbal and non-verbal cues and really grasp the meaning behind their message and the sense of urgency that is required. As a project manager, there are many aspects of a project that must be managed and various stakeholders that need to be kept informed about their progress. As a project can have drivers, supporters and observers that the project manager must consider how and when to get them involved in the project, as they come involved, throughout the project the manager needs to determine how to communicate with them. Considering the examples in the video that offered three variations of a conversation, a good rule of thumb to remember is that text does not convey tone, so before constructing that email to stakeholders, one should consider the context of the message, the purpose of the communication and if what needs to be conveyed is going to be best served with the chosen medium. If the message is meant to provide an update to a list of tasks that have been completed, then perhaps email would be the best vehicle for that information. If the project manager is experiencing scope creep and the project is going to be delayed by a couple of weeks, then that would be the type of information that should be delivered face-to-face to help them understand exactly why there is a delay. After the meeting, if voicemail was used to follow up on the meeting to re-enforce the notion of their efforts to produce a quality product within budget close to the deadline, then leaving a message on voice mail would be acceptable.

Project Post-Mortem

training manual

In my department, there are seven trainers and we produce our own training materials for the applications we teach to district employees. For each training guide we create, it is designed to be delivered within a two hour time frame. As new versions of the software applications come out each year, we go through a season of updating the training guides to reflect the latest updates. The process we initially chose is an extensive process that takes over two (3) months and begins with the Microsoft Office products. As a group, we begin by reviewing what we currently had in place from a beginner, intermediate and advanced level, then we look at the updates to determine where they would best fit. We list out every possible function that each Microsoft program is capable of, that includes Word, Excel PowerPoint, Publisher and Access. Then, using a district skills matrix that reflects a foundation of skills a district employee should have, we built our classes around those topics. For features that may be specialized and a need is determined through a needs analysis, we create a separate training guide that covers that particular function, such as how to create a mail merge using Word and Excel. Using a work breakdown structure, all of the topics for each application that must be created based upon a styles guide is listed out in detail and assigned to a trainer.

In reflection, I have considered this project to be both a success and a failure. The project was a success because we had an effective system in place. After a trainer was assigned to complete a version of a training guide, such as the beginner level of Access, the trainer would complete the topics for each section of that guide. Once completed, another trainer was assigned to review the sequential steps in the guide and check for errors. After reviewing, the training guide went back to the originating trainer to be updated. Once updated, another trainer would run through the guide to make sure the topics in the guide followed a logical order and made sense for the end user. After the run through, the guide was ready for a test run in a training session with students. The test run in a class helped us to determine if the topics fit within the timeframe for the session and if the skills covered were useful for the student. It was also helpful to have more eyes on the training guides to make sure we did not miss anything. After the updated guide was used in 1-3 sessions, the assigned trainer would have a verbal discussion with those that used the guide and make any changes that were needed. At this point, the guide was finalized and ready for district-wide distribution.

As you can see, the process for writing and reviewing one training guide can get extensive. Having seven trainers working on multiple guides at one time while also having to work on other daily assignments and service the general needs of district employees concerning various issues can get a little hectic. I consider the project a failure because even though we had a solid plan in place for how to create the best product we could, realistically we simply did not have the time or manpower to execute each task with precision. Often, while working on a training guide, the trainer did not have a chance to have someone review the guide before it was needed for an upcoming training session. During the session, if mistakes were noted in a class of 20, all of them would make it their duty to inform the trainer that the guide had mistakes. Trying to complete all of the steps in the process became very frustrating and in time, that process was abandoned. As time went on and the need to update our training guides was still a necessity, we decided to reduce the number of steps in the review process and focus on job specific skills. By looking at what our audience needed to learn for their particular job based upon a district survey, it allowed us to create sessions that focused on how to be more productive with specific applications and the need to create multiple beginner, intermediate and advanced level classes became unnecessary.

Perceptions of Distance Learning

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The thought of learning at a distance back in the early years had faced a lot of skepticism. Distance learning courses were once perceived as being diploma mills with no classrooms, untrained or nonexistent faculties and unqualified administrators with profit as their primary motivation (Simonson, 2004). As a college student back in the 1990s, I found comfort being in a classroom with students like me that I could collaborate with and having a professor that was accessible if there were questions. Also, it was extremely critical that the efforts I made to improve myself at an accredited institution paid off when I graduated. The thought of enrolling in an online course during that time seemed more like a waste of time and money as they did not leave the impression that they had my interest in mind and were more concerned with what was in my wallet. I believe that perception, shared by many, has greatly changed over the years due to transparency. The most important form of accreditation involves transparency of a school or college’s entire program by an outside evaluator at a regional accrediting agency (Simonson et al., 2015, p.18).

With the growing acceptance and accreditation of distance education, enrollment in online courses reach over 6.7 million students in 2013 (Simonson et al., 2015, p.4) Dr. Siemens, in the video The Future of Distance Learning, believes that this increase is fueled by online communication, practical experience with new tools that can be used for interaction, growing comfort with the online environment while realizing we don’t need to be in the same place in order to learn as well as a critical aspect in the ability to communicate with diverse and global groups that are not confined to a classroom (Laureate Education, n.d.).

Clayton Christensen (2003) has stated that distance education has come to “dominate…by filling a role…that the older technology could not fill” (Simonson et al., 2015, p.11). The possibility of teaching face-to-face at a distance was achieved during the 1980s with the introduction of broadband technologies that allowed for interactive learning, rather than being taught passively (Keegan, 1996). Enrollment in online courses for many institutions during 2013 saw growth that exceeded over 6.7 million students (Simonson et al., 2015, p.4). In 2009, the United States Department of Education published a meta-analysis and review of online learning studies that concluded that online learning students achieved better than traditional students because they tended to allocate more time to their studies (Simonson et al., 2015, p.7). Simonson, Schlosser, and Orellana (2011, p.139) argued that research clearly showed that distance education is an effective method for teaching and learning (Simonson et al., 2015, p.7). So with this information, what would the future of distance education look like?

As Dr. Siemen pointed out, there is a practical use for new tools that can be used for interaction. When I was in school, the technology I used to communicated with involved email or the telephone. Now a days, technology allows you to communicate in multiple ways that include Google Hangouts, social media, online whiteboard apps, texting as well as Face Time, just to name a few. Jim Finn (1964) and Richard Clark (1983) argued that technologies themselves do not cause change, but rather changes occur because of new ways of doing things that are enabled by technologies (Simonson,  Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015, p.13). It is clear that the ability to interact and communicate with others online is critical toward building a learning community. With the growing acceptance of online learning, distance learning of the future could be rich with tools that allow for communication to occur as though everyone was in the same room together in a virtual environment. Perhaps, reinventing Google Glass for education where students are in a classroom together as avatars or a version of their true self and are able to work on a problem together, build an engine or operate on a patient. Despite the innovations brought forth by technology, there will still be some that have their reservations about the effectiveness of distance learning.

A point to consider regarding distance education today is that Dabbagh & Bannan-Ritland (2005) stated that it is more probable to find students from a variety of locations participating in an online class that will be mainly comprised of young learners (Simonson et al., 2015, p.191). In 2001, Marc Prensky used the term digital native to describe those born into the digital age that naturally use technology and described those that adopted technology later in life as a digital immigrant (Gundogan & Eby, 2012). The way we do things can be changed dramatically by the application of technology. In less than 10 years after I received my undergraduate degree and had the perception that online classes were a waste of time, over 6.7 million students found value in distance learning. Eventually, skeptics that adopted technology later in life will disappear and in the future the main audience for distance education will be digital natives that grew up with technology and are able to quickly embrace the next big thing online that will give them a competitive advantage in the job market. As an instructional designer, I have always considered myself to be a life-long learner in the technology field and after 20+ years, I am continuing to grow with the changing times. It is extremely exciting to think about the possibilities that lie ahead and having a passion for technology, I will continue to carry my soapbox, present at technology conferences, learn through online resources such as MOOCs and model the proper use of innovative technology for all that come into my digital world.


Gundogan, M. B., & Eby, G. (2012). A Green Touch for the Future of Distance Education. Online Submission,”

Keegan, D. (1996). Foundations of Distance Education. London: Routledge. Print.

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). The future of distance education [Video file]. Retrieved from

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed.) Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.