Humanizing Online Learning banner.png

What is Humanizing?

Online students often feel isolated, which may decrease motivation and increase attrition. When learning occurs entirely through computer-mediated instruction, an important part of the instructor's role is ensuring the learning environment is "people focused" or humanized (Ducharme-Hansen & Dupin-Bryant, 2005).

When students relate to an online instructor as something more than a subject matter expert and begin to conceive of themselves as part of a larger community, they are more likely to be motivated, be satisfied with their learning, and succeed in achieving the course objectives (Picciano, 2002; Rovai & Barnum, 2003; Richardson & Swan, 2003). The end goals of humanized online learning are fostered through integrating learners voices, engaging students in the active construction of knowledge, fostering emotional connections, and providing students with choices. Ultimately, humanized learning increases the relevance of content to learners and improves one's motivation to log-in week-after-week.

Why do Online Classes Matter?

Online learning meets critical needs beyond simply closing the 'distance gap' between students and the physical university. Online classes provide pathways to a degree that may otherwise be unattainable by students limited to on-ground courses. Online learning provides access through the flexibility it provides the learner. Students at CSUCI often take online courses so they can continue to meet demands of work and family without abandoning their academic pursuits. Michelle Pacansky-Brock, in CSUCI's HumanizED Podcast, brings to light why online classes matter to students. Take a few minutes and listen and prepare to be inspired!

HumanizED Podcast

Course Description

This course, taught in Canvas, examines why and how to humanize online learning. You will be introduced to the topics of teaching presence and social presence, as you learn in community with your peers and Jill Leafstedt, your learning facilitator. Designed to be a supportive, experimental learning environment, you will be encouraged to step outside your comfort zone to create content with tools that will infuse your students' learning with your warm presence and unlock authentic assessment options.

Note: This class will be facilitated in the Canvas Learning Management system and will include participants from outside of CI.

Course Outcomes

By the completion of this class, you will be able to:

  1. Evaluate the difference between text and voice/video communications in establishing a sense of feeling connected to your instructor and peers in an online class.
  2. Create content with emerging technologies that have a high humanizing impact.
  3. Evaluate online teaching research to consider links between online social presence and improved engagement, satisfaction, and learning.
  4. Critically analyze your teaching philosophy as it relates to online teaching and learning.
  5. Demonstrate mastery of digital literacy skills.
  6. Apply principles of Universal Design for Learning to your online course.


Quality Learning & Teaching (QLT) is a framework used at CSU Channel Islands to support our faculty. QLT is comprised of ten principles, derived from national benchmarks in online teaching and learning. CSUCI's Online Teaching Preparation Program (OTPP) is designed to support faculty with the design of an online course that effectively fulfills the QLT principles.

CSUCI QLT Resources

  • Completion of this course addresses the following QLT objectives 1.2, 3.5, 4.4, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.6, 5.7, 5.8.

You can reach me the following ways:

  • Twitter: @MAlstot

I will reply to inquiries sent Monday-Friday within 24 hours. I do my best to be as responsive on the weekends.

About Your Facilitator, Megan Eberhardt-Alstot

Hi everyone! I am an Instructional Designer in support of the Collaborative Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership (CODEL) which is a joint Ed.D program between Fresno State and CSUCI. I am also a lecturer in the School of Education.

As a member of the Teaching and Learning Innovations (T&LI) at CI, I consider myself fortunate to work with individuals continually seek innovative ways to leverage technology to support students and faculty. It is an exciting time to be in education.

My background is in elementary education. I taught in the K-5 realm for ten years before joining the School of Education at CSUCI. I have a Masters in Educational Leadership and Administrative Credential. Additionally, I am a Google Certified Educator as well as a proud Alum of CSUCI's Blended Learning Preparation Program (BLPP) and OTPP! I have been working with T&LInnovations and faculty development for the past two years.

If integrating technology into your course makes you a bit nervous, I completely understand. Prior to joining CSUCI, I was a techNO after years of negative experiences. However, it is the welcoming, warm, and humanized approach to technology that I experienced here at CSUCI that lead me to an Ed Tech career. It is this welcoming, warm, and humanized approach I strive to model in this course. I really look forward to getting to know and work with all of you!

When I am not working, I love to spend time with my 8-year-old son, Taylor and our dog, Cinnamon.

You can find me in the FIT Lounge located at Solano Hall 2230 or in Zoom!

How This Class Works

  • This is a fully online learning experience, comprised of two 1-week learning modules.
  • The class is facilitated in the Canvas Learning Management System.
  • All course work is completed asynchronously (on your own time) between the module's start and end dates.
  • An optional synchronous Zoom session may be included.

How to Get Started:

The day prior to the start of the class, you will receive an important "Welcome" email that will include instructions for logging into our class..

If you need assistance, please email

Learner Expectations

To successfully complete this class you will be expected to:

  • Expect to spend about 10 hours on each week, not including tool experimentation. This course is not self-paced. You need to access the class 2 to 3 times each week.
  • Log-in on the first day of each learning module, review due dates for the module and schedule one's study time to ensure due dates are met.
  • Interact with peers and course instructor in asynchronous conversations that will involve written exchanges, as well as voice and video communications.
  • Have regular access to a reliable, high speed internet connection through the duration of this class.

Web-Based Technologies Used in This Class

You will be provided with opportunities to experiment with many additional tools in this class, as well. The tools shown below will be used by everyone for required activities.

VoiceThread Logo_2.png


  • VoiceThread enables asynchronous conversations in voice and video. CI has a site license for VoiceThread.
    You will participate in VoiceThread conversations in this class using a webcam or microphone on your computer. The VoiceThreads will only be viewable by individuals registered in this class.
    Signing In to VoiceThread
  • Faculty who are from CI will be prompted to log into MyCI before accessing our VoiceThreads.
  • Faculty from outside of CI will sign in using the email address they used to sign up for this course and the password humanizeOL (which you will change upon signing in).
  • View the CI VoiceThread Faculty Toolkit.
  • If you are new to VoiceThread, helpful tutorials are located on the Student Support Site.
  • Read VoiceThread's Privacy and Security FAQs
  • Read the VoiceThread Terms of Use.

Adobe Spark Post.jpg
Adobe Spark Video.jpg

Adobe Spark
(Post, Page & Video)

Adobe Spark is a free suite of tools that includes: Post, Page, and Video. These are free, web-based tools that anyone may use. In this class, you will create and share content using these tools. You will decide who has access to the content you create.

Spark may be used from a computer by logging into your Adobe Spark account or an an iPad by downloading the three individual apps (Post, Page, and Video).

Course Resources


Ducharme-Hansen, B. A. & Dupin-Bryant, P. A. (2005). Course planning for online adult learners. TechTrends, 49(2), 31-39. doi: 10.1007/BF02773969

Picciano, A. (2002). Beyond student perceptions: Issues of interaction, presence, and performance in an online course. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 6(1), July 2002, 21-40.

Rovai, A. P., & Barnum, K. T. (2003). On-Line course effectiveness: An analysis of student interactions and perceptions of learning. Journal of Distance Learning, 18(1), 57-73. Retrieved from:

Richardson, J. C., & Swan, K. (2003). Examining social presence in online courses in relation to students' perceived learning and satisfaction. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 7(1), February 2003, 68-88.

Short, J., Williams, E., & Christie, B. (1976). The social psychology of telecommunications. London: John Wiley & Sons.

Creative Commons License
Syllabus, How to Humanize Your Online Class by CSU Channel Islands is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Powered by Learn More