Introduction

There is a common phrase penned by Margaret Wolf Hungerford; beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This phrase was published in the book Molly Bawn in 1878. It means what is appealing to some may be unattractive to others. This can also apply to humor in online teaching. What makes one laugh can make another cringe or have no emotional response at all. The art of making a person laugh is just that--an art.

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I love politics. I love reading about it; I love talking about; I love teaching it. In our hyper-partisan world today, though, it can be hard for instructors to teach it without worrying about accusations of bias, or getting into political arguments with students. Given that American Government and other Political Science courses are quite popular as online courses at US universities, instructors need to approach the topic with some idea of how to teach it with integrity.

The great promise of online higher education was that it would expand access to people who could otherwise not access it. Higher education, once reserved for the children of the elite, came into mainstream access in the United States with the passage of the GI Bill in the mid-1900s. Globally, though, higher education remains a possibility for only the smallest number of people. At the same time, we know that education creates more stable societies, improves economic opportunities for individuals, and provides skilled employees for companies and organizations. With the advent of online education in the late 20th Century, the hope for greater reach of university instruction seemed like a sure solution of the problems with its limited reach.

The Adjunct’s lifestyle

I work an average of 60 hours a week for my normal job (that’s being kind to myself) plus an additional 20 plus hours when I am teaching, and another 20 plus hours a week working on things like my side hustles, writing, researching, and yes looking for my next “opportunity”. Opportunities that are part of the adjunct’s lifestyle include looking or applying for more online teaching gigs, entrepreneurship/passive income ideas, conferences to submit papers to, and anything in general that theoretically will enhance my life. All these opportunities mainly for monetary and/or career enhancement in the hopes of achieving a more “free” and independent lifestyle.

Working with higher education faculty on a daily basis, I hear the struggles they encounter with technology, such as setting up classroom projectors, using smartboards, creating screencast or videos with Office Mix, creating blogs using Google Blogger, creating and deploying online gaming surveys with Kahoot, hosting online chat sessions with Blackboard Collaborate or WebEx, and the list goes on. The illustration I want you to cogitate is the intersection of teaching with technology, which requires adequate technology plus content and pedagogical knowledge. This is where instructional methods get murky as technology based learning becomes more prevalent for faculty in higher education institutions.

Keeping up with academic tools and resources can be difficult, due to competing demands on our time and resources, as well as the plethora of applications and materials available. This article will highlight 7 FREE tools and resources that can be accessed by educators to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of student engagement and course delivery.

One of the most nerve-wrecking experiences that a student can experience is waiting for feedback from an instructor. The student has done her best in completing the assignment. She has taken care to remember key rules and points in composing the assignment, because these will be valuable not only in the current assignments being completed, but in future assignments and even in her future career. Providing effective student feedback and guidance is imperative.