Faculty Virtual Support Center

Reference Books

As we are moving into the digital age, new technologies are relentlessly being created to help make ease in online education. This site contains listings of online reference books that you can browse through for further assistance.

2017 Top Ten Books on Online Learning:

Thinking About the “How” of Teaching and Learning Online

Brown, G.T.L. (2017). Assessment of Student Achievement. London: Routledge. Assessment is the new focus for a great many innovative activities. Whether we look at video-based competency assessment, project and team assessment, simulation-driven assessment, or new forms of artificial intelligence supported assessment, significant change is happening. This book looks at the underlying issues, as well as some of the practical developments, with a strong focus on K-12. All of this is transferable to post-secondary education and the book is intended for those pursuing teacher education. The strength of the book is in the connection between theory and practice, between best practice and innovation. It is also a quick read.

Budhair, S.S. & Skipwith, K. (2017). Best Practices in Engaging Online Learners Through Active and Experiential Learning Strategies . London: Routledge. This book explores the integration of active and practical learning approaches and activities (including gamification, social media integration, and project- and scenario-based learning), as they relate to the development of authentic skill-building, communication, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills in learners. Immensely practical and very readable, this is a must-read book for those seeking to truly engage their learners.

Khare, A. & Hurst, D. (2018). On the Line – Business Education in the Digital Age. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. While the book is ostensibly a collection of papers focused on the impact of digital technologies on business education, it is an important, contemporary collection of papers of interest across all disciplines taught in colleges and universities. The book looks at why online learning makes sense, how it is practiced and the outcomes and impacts of online learning on business education to date. A strong collection of papers – well-written, focused and clear. (The book is available now).

Aoun, J.E. (2017). Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Boston, MA: MIT Press. How will artificial intelligence and robotics impact student learning? What role will AI play in both teaching and assessment? How will AI enable better learning design? These important questions are explored in depth here. The book is well-written, non-technical and practical. The book also explores the kind of education college and university students will need to develop the adaptive capacity to cope with the impact AI, robotics, 3D printing and other technologies will have on work and society. It is well worth a read.

Cooperman, L. (2017). The Art of Teaching Online: How to Start and How to Succeed as an Online Instructor. Netherlands: Chandos. This book focuses mainly on how potential online instructors can create and maintain the human aspect of live, face-to-face education in an online course to successfully teach and instruct their students. Included are interviews with experienced online instructors who use their emotional intelligence skills and instruction skills (examples included) to teach their students successfully. Practical and useful.

Green, T.D. & Brown, A.H. (2017). The Educators Guide to Developing New Media and Open Education Resources. London: Routledge. It is getting easier to produce quality video and audio, simulations and games. Using simple tools can make a massive difference to the learning experience of students. At the same time, the rapid expansion of open education resources is making course design and development both easier and yet more demanding – easier in the sense that there are a great many free to use materials available, more complex since more design decisions now must be made. This is a practical, helpful and useful book. It will be of particular value to instructional designers, course developers and learning innovators – it is designed to be of value and will provide useful ideas for innovative practice.


Poritz, J.A. & Rees, J. (2017). Education is Not an App: The Future of University Teaching in the Internet Age . London: Routledge. This is less of a “how to” book and more of a “why” book. It will help instructional designers get back to a key question: what is the learning we are designing intended to do? It is a critical assessment of the current preoccupations of many engaged in online and distance education. It is not long (134 pages), but will make you think long and hard about what the work of instructional design really is all about.

Harasim, L. (2017). Learning Theory and Online Technologies (link is external). London: Routledge. This well-written and focused book offers help to faculty members new to online learning design and its challenges. In addition to providing a brief history, the book offers help for course design, student assessment and course evaluation. Practical, yet grounded in a body of learning theory, the book has many insights, which faculty members will find helpful.

Foss, D. & Gibson, D. (Eds.]. (2017). The Entrepreneurial University – Context and Institutional Change (link is external). London: Routledge. This edited collection of materials explores the work done in a great many universities around the world to respond to shifts in demography, austerity and the rapid emergence of learning technologies. With case studies and concrete examples, the book will quickly become a must-read for college and university Presidents anxious about the sustainability of their institutions. In all, there are ten case studies with an insightful introductory and concluding chapters from the editors. The book will shortly be available in a variety of formats. This is a good companion to the Poritz and Rees book above.

Tobin, J.T., Mandernach, J. & Taylor, A.H. (2015). Evaluating Online Teaching – Best Practices (link is external). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. This is a comprehensive book, which explores the practice of evaluation in online learning – case studies, worksheets, practice frameworks and models. Though published in 2015, it remains a solid resource, which needs to be read annually by all engaged in the evaluation of program and course effectiveness, online teaching and student learning. It should be on the list of books each year until something better comes along.

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