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Fostering valuable learning experiences by transforming current teaching practices: practical pedagogical approaches from online practitioners

Rebecca Chiyoko Itow (IU High School, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 25 June 2020

Issue publication date: 27 July 2020




The purpose of this paper is to share lessons learned and tools developed that teachers can use to build pedagogically sound online courses. Transitioning to online instruction is not learning to teach all over again, and it does not have to feel that way either. Through the lens of three common questions new online teachers ask, the principal of a university-run online high school offers practical advice for transforming current pedagogical practices into effective online teaching. This transformation is structured with an innovative “multi-level” approach to assessment. This structure helps organize the transformation, letting teachers focus on building and/or maintaining crucial relationships and meaningful learning experiences with their students.


An innovative assessment lens structures the transformation of practices from brick-and-mortar to online settings, clearing the opacity of the online teaching context so that teachers can return their focus building relationships and meaningful learning experiences with their students.


The paper offers immediately-implementable strategies for designing online courses that facilitate relationship building, meet curricular goals, and are pedagogically sound.

Practical implications

Teachers can adapt the tools, resources, and advice included in this paper to fit their unique teaching needs as they move to online teaching contexts.


This paper uses the pedagogical model and assessment lens developed by the university-run high school and its principal to offer unique, practically implementable strategies for transitioning from brick-and-mortar to online teaching in this tumultuous time.



This paper and the work that has been presented within it would not be possible without Jody Duncan, Christine Hitchcock, and Courtney Gaylord, whose passion for online teaching and dedication to improving students' lives is an inspiration every day. Mike Beam has provided invaluable leadership and support in positioning IU High School as a leader in online education. Dan Hickey’s mentorship and guidance catalyzed this work and continues to help it thrive. The IU High School staff have contributed valuable insights to the development of the tools presented here. Joshua Quick aided in the preparation of this manuscript and has been an excellent thinking partner. This work is inspired by and conducted for all of my students: past, present, and future. Without them, these efforts would be for naught.

This article is part of the special issue, “A Response to Emergency Transitions to Remote Online Education in K-12 and Higher Education” which contains shorter, rapid-turnaround invited works, not subject to double blind peer review. The issue was called, managed and produced on short timeline in Summer 2020 towards pragmatic instructional application in the Fall 2020 semester.


Itow, R.C. (2020), "Fostering valuable learning experiences by transforming current teaching practices: practical pedagogical approaches from online practitioners", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 121 No. 5/6, pp. 443-452.



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