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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.

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. 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. 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. 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.

Veletsianos, G. (Eds.]. (2020). Online learning is ubiquitous for millions of students worldwide, yet our understanding of student experiences in online learning settings is limited. The geographic distance that separates faculty from students in an online environment is its signature feature, but it is also one that risks widening the gulf between teachers and learners. In Learning Online, George Veletsianos argues that in order to critique, understand, and improve online learning, we must examine it through the lens of student experience. Approaching the topic with stories that elicit empathy, compassion, and care, Veletsianos relays the diverse day-to-day experiences of online learners. Each in-depth chapter follows a single learner's experience while focusing on an important or noteworthy aspect of online learning, tackling everything from demographics, attrition, motivation, and loneliness to cheating, openness, flexibility, social media, and digital divides. Veletsianos also draws on these case studies to offer recommendations for the future and lessons learned. The elusive nature of online learners' experiences, the book reveals, is a problem because it prevents us from doing better: from designing more effective online courses, from making evidence-informed decisions about online education, and from coming to our work with the full sense of empathy that our students deserve. Writing in an evocative, accessible, and concise manner, Veletsianos concretely demonstrates why it is so important to pay closer attention to the stories of students—who may have instructive and insightful ideas about the future of education.

Martha, C.I. Dan, W. (2018). The Guide to Blended Learning is an introduction using technology and distance education teaching strategies with traditional, face-to-face classroom activities. This Guide has been designed to assist teachers adopt blended learning strategies through a step-by-step approach taking constructivist and design-based approach and reflecting on decisions taken to provide authentic learning experience in their own contexts. It provides a general discussion of types of blended learning in reference to the level of education, the needs of the students, and the subject being taught. This discussion and associated activities also review pedagogy, materials, and technology usage. Divided into eight chapters, each of these provide an overview video that triggers learning events for the teachers to focus and work on implementing blending learning.

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