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Teach Beyond Your Reach: An instructor’s guide to developing and running successful distance learning classes, workshops, training sessions and more

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Author(s): Reviewed by Yavuz AKBULUT

Journal: The Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education
ISSN 1302-6488

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 237;
Date: 2008;
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ABSTRACT
237―Teach Beyond Your Reach: An instructor‘s guide to developing and running successful distance learning classes, workshops, training sessions and more‖ serves as a guide for novice andexperienced distance educators to develop anddeliver their own training sessions. The book isconsisted of 234 pages (+xi) covering eightinterdependent chapters followed by a usefulappendix of further reading resources, sampleintroductory materials for distance learning and asample lecture. The author, Robin Neidorf,teaches communications and writing through theonline campus of the Univeristy of Phoenix andco-teaches a creative writing course through theUniversity of Gävle in Sweden in addition to herThe book serves as a terrific resource for bothnovice distance educators and as a reference forthose who are more experienced. It lays out mostof the things needed to teach online throughcoaching the readers to understand the currentsituation and pass onto next levels of sophistication in e-learning practices. Two critical things that are emphasized in thebook are interaction as the core of learning, and collaboration among the distance education practitioners. The focus is not on developing Web pages, troubleshooting specific software or providing student support services. Rather, it focuses on therequirements for instruction and underlines where we might need to collaborate with Chapter 1 discusses the tools available for distance learning along with suggestions on how they may be used. Chapter 2 describes the distance population addressingdifferent learning styles, attitudes and generational differences all of which might affect the way students enter the class, and work with the teacher and materials.Chapter 3 and 4 focus on instructional design and development with a particular emphasis on creating content, which is both interactive and in line with learning objectives. Chapter 5 provides ideas on managing the distance classroom with conciseand thoughtful tips.Chapter 6 provides clues on how to diagnose individual learners, work with their strengths and weaknesses, and motivate them through appropriate coaching techniques. Chapter 7 discusses the ways for creating effective learning communities at a distance. Finally, Chapter 8 examines distance learning as a collaborative enterprise,and reviews the challenges, potential and collaborative roles involved in distance learning.The book can help professionals teaching at colleges or universities to adapt their teaching styles to a distance format. It can give clues on selecting and implementing low-cost and low-tech options effectively in case the practitioners do not have enough budget or access to high-tech platforms. It further tries to give clues on how to interact with students rather than simply talk about what we know. Finally, it provides instructors with step-by-step guidance while dealing with distance learning endeavors. In brief, teachers, college instructors, consultants, and decision makers in the field could make an effective use of the book as it involves a concise overview of effective and up-to-date information to run successful distance learning classes.
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