The Online Teaching Lounge

American Public University

Online teaching can be challenging, rewarding, engaging, and fun. American Public University brings you the Online Teaching Lounge, a podcast for educators, academics, and parents featuring online teaching tips, topics, and strategies. To learn more, visit StudyatAPU.com. 

All Episodes

Academic integrity is an essential part of online education requiring both students and faculty to do their own work. In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares the basics behind academic integrity for online educators, tips about several forms of plagiarism and related violations, and strategies to help establish trust and set the tone for faculty and student success.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Nov 24

22 min 48 sec

With so many schools pivoting to online learning, it's critical that teachers develop the skills and strategies necessary to help their students thrive in the online classroom. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen talks to Dr. Kathleen Tate, Department Chair of APU’s Teaching program, about the myriad certificates and degrees offered to help licensed teachers improve their skills in technology, STEAM and project-based curriculum, online teaching, instructional design and more.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Nov 17

16 min 2 sec

Receiving feedback from students and observers is an important part of teaching online, but receiving unexpected negative feedback can impact an educator’s confidence and motivation. In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bethanie Hansen introduces the concept of mental models and shares three steps to help online educators build resilience to receiving negative feedback including how to consider it, remain calm and in control, and address the feedback as necessary. Learn how instructors can address the fight-flight-freeze response, explore other perspectives, and find value in all types of feedback.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Nov 10

24 min 2 sec

Being present is one of the most important elements driving success in the online classroom. In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares two practices that help online educators establish trust and set the tone for faculty and student success. Learn how instructors can establish their presence, share their personality and expertise with students, and build relationships with students so that everyone has a great experience in the class.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Nov 3

13 min 12 sec

Discussion forums are where most interactions happen in the online classroom, so it's critical that educators use this area strategically. In this episode, APU’s Dr. Bethanie Hansen provides insight into enhancing discussion forums to encourage student engagement, foster connections, exercise critical thinking skills, and offer further learning into the topic at hand. Learn how to improve discussion forums by writing open-ended questions, clearly setting expectations with students about when and how often they should participate, and more.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Oct 27

22 min 7 sec

Teaching children during a pandemic, whether face-to-face or online, can be challenging due to the heightened stress and trauma. To cope with these difficult times, children need to be taught strong social-emotional skills so they develop a foundation for self-expression, communication, creativity, and effective learning. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen interviews APU Department Chair Dr. Kathleen Tate and Assistant Professor Dr. Greg Mandalas about five ways teachers can incorporate social-emotional learning into the classroom. Learn new ideas for the classroom like creative drama activities and social stories to build empathy and help students develop relationship-building to cope with stress and conflict.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Oct 20

20 min 3 sec

Teaching online can bring stress in managing competing commitments, diverse teaching tasks, and multiple modalities. To free online educators from overwhelm and stress, productivity strategies provide structure to the work. In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares three productivity tools that include a prioritization matrix, task batching, and time boxing to help online educators structure their work and keep time investment within limits. Learn how to simplify your approach to the daily work of teaching online and feel a sense of relief by reducing your stress.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Oct 13

12 min 9 sec

Teaching online and developing online courses can be an overwhelming process without limits. Frameworks can keep these processes clear and reduce stress for the online educator. In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares frameworks that help online educators provide quality learning experiences for their students, include a variety of approaches and strategies, and reduce stress through a structured approach.    See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Oct 6

16 min 6 sec

Teaching online effectively takes time and energy, and to manage this well, educators must learn how to say “No.” This kind of focus helps with decision-making, time management, committing to extra projects, and everything else. In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bethanie Hansen discusses the “Power of a Positive No,” by William Ury, to help online educators prioritize and thrive. Learn how to simplify online teaching, get better results, and feel a greater sense of satisfaction from your work.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 29

11 min 9 sec

Moving your class online can be intimidating and take some creativity. In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bethanie Hansen gives you a tour of the main spaces in a learning management system and some basic ideas for the types of content you might use and how it can improve the course delivery as well as enhance student learning.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 22

23 min 22 sec

Online education is a bit different from live teaching and learning. In today’s podcast, Dr. Bethanie Hansen gives a brief orientation to similarities and differences between live and online education, to help educators prepare to move a class online. Learn how online education is an opportunity to expand your teaching and learning possibilities in new ways, and it is not a strict copy of the live class.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 15

23 min 13 sec

Teachers can vary their management of online discussions by using small-group discussions. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares research that measured students’ and faculty engagement in both large and small group discussions in online classes and shares ideas for consideration when varying the approach.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 8

22 min 2 sec

Dedicating time to reflect can help educators assess their teaching strategy and find ways to improve and become more effective. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares what reflective practice means, how to get started, and tips for making the most of reflective writing.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 1

14 min 9 sec

Teachers and trainers can develop effective blended learning using this quick guide to course design. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares tips to help online educators set a clear goal for the course, write a course outline, detail both the online and live portions of the course, design collaboration and interactivity, plan communication, consider learning resources, and design assessments.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Aug 25

18 min 36 sec

Teachers can be successful teaching online by adopting best practices to help them prepare and teach the class. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares seven best practices to help online educators plan ahead, humanize their classroom, guide students to tackle challenging assignments, be adaptive during the class, conduct self-evaluations, and get students’ feedback during and after the course.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Aug 18

14 min 8 sec

Thinking is a skill that can always be further developed and improved upon. In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares insight into the concept of parallel thinking, which focuses on constructive and creative thinking. Learn more about this unique approach to thinking that uses the concept of “thinking hats” that enables individuals to view something from six unique viewpoints to more fully understand it.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Aug 11

15 min 48 sec

Teaching online can sometimes get stale or repetitive. In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares 10 leadership principles that online educators can apply to their teaching strategies and professional development. Use these principles to revitalize your teaching career and help you connect with your students so you can bring your best self to the classroom.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Aug 4

16 min 41 sec

Online teachers must be innovative and creative in order to keep online classes relevant, fresh, and fun to teach. In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bethanie Hansen discusses what educators can learn from entrepreneurial business strategies. Learn how to apply the “five C’s” of entrepreneurship—credibility, clarity, conviction, capital, and concentration in execution—in the classroom.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Jul 28

16 min 23 sec

To learn effectively online, students need to know how to get started in class. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares 10 tips to help online instructors create effective welcome messages to introduce students to the course and to you as their instructor. Learn what details should be included and ways different types of students need to hear from their instructor in order to be engaged and stay committed.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Jul 21

16 min 14 sec

Maintaining a high level of productivity can be challenging for online educators. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen provides strategies on how to improve your physical and mental energy to increase productivity. Learn tips about how to manage your never-ending to do list, why it’s important to unclog your mind, and the value of giving yourself time to work on your personal “heart projects.”  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Jul 14

14 min 50 sec

Discussion boards are a required part of many online courses, but they can sometimes get flat and boring. In this episode, APU's Dr. Bethanie Hansen talks about how to have an engaging dialogue with students. Learn five strategies to improve discussion boards as well as how to apply the Guided ANCHORS approach to managing discussion forums.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Jul 7

21 min

What are some important things you want to accomplish in your life that will help you lead a thriving and rich life? In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen inspires online teachers to take some time this summer to start a “100 List.” Learn how to think about creating this list of inspiring experiences that will bring richness to your life, how to align these items with your values, and what items can help uplift others, too.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Jun 30

13 min 59 sec

Teachers are always seeking better ways to connect with their students, especially in the online classroom. In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bethanie Hansen discusses the value of mentoring students and why it can be helpful to think of students as customers. Learn how forming a mentoring relationship can help teachers connect better with students, improve student learning, and also bring greater satisfaction to the teacher.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Jun 23

14 min 16 sec

Engaging with students and building a sense of community in an online class can be very difficult. In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bethanie Hansen discusses the benefits of hosting a Zoom meeting with students. Learn the numerous options for setting up a Zoom meeting that gives students an opportunity to interact and work together. Also learn tips to help teachers prepare to host a meeting, how to use breakout rooms and other technology tools to increase student engagement, and more.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Jun 16

13 min 50 sec

Discussion forums in online classes can sometimes get repetitive and stale. In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bethanie Hansen suggests five creative ways for online teachers to spice up discussion spaces to revitalize the discussion and get to know students better. Learn about role playing, technologies to create video responses and collaboration sites, and more.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Jun 9

17 min 3 sec

Online teachers must work to build social presence in their online classes to enhance community and connections with students. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen provides tips and strategies about how to achieve social presence including instructor involvement, knowledge sharing, interaction intensity, and more. Learn why social presence is important, how to determine if your efforts are working, and how to think of new ways to create community within the classroom.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Jun 2

16 min 41 sec

We all have an endless “to do” list that we can’t keep up with. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all our responsibilities and tasks, but that cumulative stress is incredibly harmful to our physical and mental wellbeing. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen talks to APU Chaplain Kyle Sorys about his role in offering emotional and spiritual support to students and faculty. Learn ways to skillfully cope with life’s inevitable stressors like dedicating a day each week “no work” where you just enjoy life, establishing “no screen time” each day, getting more sleep, eating better, and meditating. Also reduce stress by learning how to extend self-compassion and self-kindness to yourself in conscious acknowledgement that you’re doing the best you can. All these tips can improve your overall wellbeing and help you live a fuller, less stressful, life.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

May 26

27 min 23 sec

Helping students succeed in the online classroom requires a student-centric approach from attentive and skilled faculty. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen talks to APU faculty director Dr. Doris Blanton about training faculty to help students access and use virtual tools for research. She also provides teaching tips like the importance of providing timely feedback and focusing on both areas of improvement as well as noting what students have done well in their research and writing.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

May 19

27 min 10 sec

Teaching online classes requires a substantial amount of advanced preparation. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares ways teachers can prepare before a class so they can focus on teaching, engaging with students, and meeting their own teaching goals. Learn tips on writing the syllabus, outlining weekly assignments in advance, preparing for forum discussions, and assessing grading tools all before the class starts to make sure online educators have time and energy to dedicate to students.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

May 12

20 min 8 sec

As an online teacher, it’s very easy to be distracted while you work, which can reduce efficiency and throw off your work-life balance. In the third and final part of this mini-series, Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares strategies to help online educators improve time management priorities and stay focused by minimizing interruptions. Learn about the importance of determining a physical workspace, establishing work hours, and communicating that work plan to family and friends. Also learn about strategies to stay on task like using Pomodoro timers to establish work time and breaks, downloading limiting programs that don’t allow you to visit distracting websites, and more.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

May 5

22 min 22 sec

Online educators often get overwhelmed by the endless tasks they need to complete like answering student’s questions, posting announcements, grading papers, and engaging in forum discussions. In this episode, APU Faculty Director Dr. Bethanie Hansen talks about the benefits of creating guidance assets to help student’s self-manage and set expectations, while also helping online teachers manage their high workload. Learn about creating guidance assets like screencasts, video introductions, course announcements, netiquette guides, example assignments and more.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Apr 28

18 min 29 sec

Teaching online can be overwhelming and cause a significant amount of work-related stress. In the first part of this three-part series, Dr. Bethanie Hansen discusses teaching strategies to help online educators prioritize their time by engaging students first. Learn about using a Community of Inquiry framework, keeping written notes about students and your interaction with them, and the benefits of using backwards mapping to ensure you’re meeting objectives and connecting regularly with students.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Apr 21

20 min 52 sec

When teaching an online class, instructors must work hard to connect with students and set expectations for the course. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen talks to APU Faculty Director Dr. Craig Bogar about effectively communicating with students. Learn the benefits of publishing a welcome video so instructors can virtually introduce themselves to students in the beginning of the course. Also learn tips on conveying netiquette practices to students and why it’s so important for instructors to ask Socratic questions to enhance critical thinking and promote engagement of online students.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Apr 14

22 min 7 sec

Feedback is an important part of online learning. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen provides tips and strategies about how to provide effective feedback to students. Learn how to garner feedback based on students’ work, tips on giving effective feedback to help students, and why feedback is a critical part of the learning process for both students as well as teachers.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Apr 7

16 min 4 sec

Online students often need extra help and support from teachers. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen outlines several scenarios when students need extra assistance including disability accommodations, unfamiliarity with online classrooms, and unexpected life events. Learn tips and strategies to communicate with students, extend flexibility, and provide support to help them succeed in the virtual classroom.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Mar 31

23 min 53 sec

Online educators can get so caught up in completing tasks and meeting deadlines that they often feel like they don’t have time for the big or important things. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen talks about the importance of reflection to assess one’s values and priorities. She also suggests an approach of reflecting on yesterday, evaluating how that time was spent, and then being intentional in how you are using your time in the present moment.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Mar 24

17 min 55 sec

Being an online educator means you can work anywhere, anytime. As a result, it often feels like the workday never ends, which can lead to exhaustion and burnout. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares strategies for intentionally creating a self-care plan. Learn the importance of maintaining a healthy morning routine, planning breaks throughout the day, and an end-of-day routine to ensure online teachers can relax and reflect on the workday.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Mar 17

13 min 5 sec

Online faculty often feel disconnected from the institution and fellow faculty members. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen provides tips and strategies for building community among faculty members to help them feel connected, informed and engaged. Learn how department leaders can focus on building relationships through consistent weekly messages, interactive team meetings, one-on-one time, peer mentoring and coaching opportunities, collaboration sites, and much more.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Mar 10

20 min 56 sec

Are you looking for ways to enhance class content in your classes, but concerned about the time and effort it might take to create and manage those assets? In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen recommends several technology tools to help you add valuable audio, video, and multimedia components. Most importantly, she provides guidance on developing a strategic approach to creating these new assets, including making sure it’s accessible and useful to students, has a positive impact on your teaching, and isn’t overwhelming for you to create and manage.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Mar 3

24 min 28 sec

 Time management must be a top priority for online teachers. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares four tips to help online educators be productive and effective in the virtual classroom. Learn strategies to assess and track how you're currently spending your time, ways to prioritize your time so the most important tasks get done, how to minimize disruptions, and how to plan out your future time to ensure you're fulfilling your current teaching responsibilities while also spending time on your long-term career goals.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Feb 24

15 min 31 sec

Strong classroom management is especially important in the online environment. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen talks about the need for advanced planning in online classes to keep students informed about what to expect in the class and aid students in managing their own. Strong classroom management can also help teachers build relationships with students while helping them meet their learning objectives, whether it is professional advancement or personal growth.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Feb 17

14 min 14 sec

Online teachers need increased energy for focused and effective work. They often end up working all the time because it’s so easy to access the classroom anywhere and anytime. In this episode, APU professor Dr. Bethanie Hansen encourages educators to think about managing their energy, instead of focusing just on managing their time. Learn about ways to renew four critical areas of energy: physical, emotional, spiritual and mental energy. Focusing on these areas can help online educators increase productivity, strengthen their work-life balance, and feel more fulfilled in their teaching.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Feb 10

21 min 30 sec

Connecting effectively with students in the online classroom is a huge challenge for educators. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen addresses four common complaints that students have about online classes. Learn how online teachers can improve the way they use technology, communicate more clearly, enhance students’ social and emotional experience, and improve student engagement in the virtual classroom.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Feb 3

16 min

What drives you as an educator? In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen talks about the five dominant perspectives that motivate teachers and how these teaching styles can drive student engagement in the online classroom. Listen to learn how to adjust your perspective so you can critically evaluate your own teaching, and why it’s so important to ask students for feedback so you can adjust your teaching style to maximize your impact in the classroom.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Jan 27

18 min 58 sec

Teaching live, synchronous online classes can be stressful and challenging, especially for teachers who are not used to this form of online teaching. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen provides tips for engaging students and creating opportunities for students to interact with the instructor and other students. Learn about polling software, screen sharing, video sharing, and other technologies that can help make classes fun and engaging. Also learn why it’s important for teachers to adopt a flexible mindset as they prepare to teach live online classes.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Jan 20

19 min 53 sec

Do you want to improve your time management or adopt a new habit? In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares the WOOP tool to help you change behaviors, create new healthy habits, and take a fresh approach to online teaching or online learning. Listen to hear the four steps that were developed using neuroscience and motivation theory to help you become more focused, more productive, and more successful in your online teaching and learning goals.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Jan 13

16 min 42 sec

It can be challenging to keep online courses engaging and interesting. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen shares five methods and strategies to help online educators enhance their classroom. Learn how to increase student engagement through asynchronous discussions, online group work, gamification, guided exploration, and leveraging the full power of your school’s learning management system.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Jan 6

16 min 9 sec

Increasing engagement in the online classroom can often be challenging for educators. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen discusses the importance of asking great questions to solicit information from students, generate more detailed discussion forums, and get students to think more deeply about a topic. Learn seven steps to develop creative and open-ended questions and advice for turning statements into engaging questions.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Dec 2020

17 min 29 sec

Sometimes faculty members feel like they play a very small part in the overall operation and success of the university. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen encourages online educators to step back and look at the big picture to see how their contribution is actually really significant and important. She encourages online educator to better understand the inner workings of the university, including all the various departments that are also making small but meaningful contributions to student and faculty success. Also learn why it’s so important to understand course data to evaluate your teaching strategy, assess your relationship with students, and help you identify areas for improvement.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Dec 2020

20 min 37 sec

The holidays can be a difficult time for everyone, but especially for online students whose coursework continues over the holiday break. In this episode, Dr. Bethanie Hansen offers suggestions for how online educators can incorporate flexibility and sensitivity into course design to accommodate students who may be struggling. Also learn about scaffolding assignments and other accommodations to help students succeed during the holidays.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Dec 2020

15 min 4 sec