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Best of #IOLchat 2012

The Inside Online Learning chat (#IOLchat) is growing! Since its beginning in June 2011, we’ve undergone a few changes in time and format, and hosted 47 chats in 2012 alone.

The goals from the start have been to provide anyone interested in online education with a forum to share ideas and resources, as well as build their professional networks. In the process we’ve met so many talented students and educators via Twitter and covered topics ranging from open access materials to career networking success.

This post celebrates how far we’ve come with a look a back at the past year. Some topics drew larger crowds than others, and some of our chat summary reports were shared more frequently. This “best of” list includes these chats and a few of our favorites that resulted in timely advice for online students and instructors. Thanks to all who helped make #IOLchat a great experience this year!

College Students and Social Media

Students in both online and on-ground programs are using social media on their own and as part of their courses. Check out the list of Dos and Don’ts created by our chat participants and advice for instructors thinking about adding social media elements to their classes.

Challenges of “Any Time, Any Place” Learning

The convenience and flexibility that often draws students and instructors to online learning, comes with benefits and challenges. What are your recommendations for those just getting started in their first online classes? This chat produced a list of tips in four major areas: time, focus, initiative, and learning assessment.

Connecting with Employers

One of our most recent chats, this one featured guest host Mark Babbitt from and a great list of steps online students can take to further their career development while in school. Take a look at the tips for improving online presence, using social media for professional purposes, and networking during a career transition.

Evaluating Online Courses

Students and instructors are often asked to provide their feedback after the end of each course, but participation in this process can be low, with more frustration and criticism offered than helpful suggestions. How can course evaluations be improved and used to facilitate change? This chat culminated in a list of recommendations for online program administrators, as well as for students and instructors.

Game-based Learning and Online Courses

There’s no denying the increasing popularity of learning games and gamification techniques in the past year. This chat provided an introduction to the approach and some basic definitions. Check out some of the potential benefits and drawbacks of using games in an online course.

Participating in a Conference Backchannel

We explored the use of Twitter hashtags to track conference activities during the 18th Annual Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning. A backchannel discussion, taking place via Twitter, can not only enhance professional networking on-site, but also extend the reach of resources, presentations, and conversations beyond the conference venue.

This year the #IOLchat team was also fortunate to present at The Social Learning Summit and the TCC Worldwide Online Conference. If you’d like to support our efforts to speak at the edSocialMedia Summit in 2013, take a look at our video proposal online and share via Twitter. (This video also gives you a behind the scenes look at the team in action.)

If you participated in #IOLchat this year, tell us about your favorite chat and share your thoughts on improving the experience moving forward. If you haven’t, consider joining us soon to share your ideas, insights, and questions about online learning.

See you in 2013 – Wednesdays at 12pm ET!

Join Melissa Venable and on Twitter.

December 27th, 2012 written by (learn more about our authors)

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