Technology In Bloom - May 10, 2014

Keynote Address

How to Make Your Online Course Bloom
Presented by Sandra Bennett,
Winner of the 2013 Blackboard Catalyst Award-Exemplary Course

Livestream of Keynote address:

Let’s face it: online learning isn’t always met with a “rah-rah-rah” cheer of “Yeah! Let’s log in and learn!” Why? Because in the early days (which isn’t that long ago) we as a field didn’t quite necessarily know what we were doing. Post some PowerPoint slides? Voila! Online learning! Upload a PDF document? Voila! Online learning! Record the 8-hour instructor-led course and plop it into the course? Voila! Online learning!

Research into effective online instruction offers three conclusions: 1) online instruction can be as effective as traditional instruction with clearly written learning objectives; 2) to do so, online courses need cooperative/collaborative (active) learning and 3) strong instructor presence.

This keynote will help you gain new insight about creating an online course that engages and motivates students to learn. With online courses, you need to inspire your learners to have a great time. Your goal should be to have your learners engage with the content, not just sit back and passively listen. They want to hear from you because they want to learn something. They want to change their life. And, they trust you to show them how to do it.

After viewing this presentation, you should be able to:

  • Understand how to set clear goals and objectives in an online course;
  • Discuss the importance of interactivity and engagement in an online course;
  • Incorporate engagement strategies into your course development to meet specific instructional goals to promote student and instructor presence.



About the Presenter

Sandra BennettSandra Bennett
Title/Position: Instructional Designer for Online Learning, and Adjunct Instructor for the College of Education Graduate Elementary Studies, K-6, Wilmington University

Education: BS Early Childhood Education (West Chester University); MS in Education with Reading Specialist Certification (West Chester University)

Years of Experience: 23 years as an educator and over 12 years as an instructor at Wilmington UniversityBlackboard Catalyst Award Winner

Awards: Recipient of 2013 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course (

Credibility, Publications & Media Mentions:

  1. Award winning course available on CourseSites , a free, hosted online course creation and facilitation service that empowers individual K–12 teachers, college and university instructors and community educators to add a web–based component to their courses, or even host an entire course on the Internet.
  2. Course Tour for Blackboard Learn Community to showcasing accomplishments to other members of the Blackboard community.
  3. Guest Author on the Blackboard Blog

Work with notable companies/positions: Selected to present a Poster Session at Blackboard World 2012 in New Orleans. Also selected to present to ANGEL Office Hours, a monthly virtual session where users of the ANGEL LMS come together and discuss best practices with ANGEL and Blackboard technology.

Philosophy/Point of View/Vision/Mission: A good teacher cannot begin or continue to inspire learning without being a learner. The good teacher must constantly learn what is new in education. To live this belief, I am continually examining my teaching methods and finding new ones.