Ever-increasing demand for online university courses is prompting institutions of higher learning to commit resources to determine the best ways to deliver content asynchronously. Like any emerging educational-technological innovation, distance-learning (DL) teaching is attracting scrutiny from professors, students, and administrators. Although there are many ways to teach DL, many professors are encountering similar sets of difficulties in their DL courses. These problems include: dispelling misconceptions about online classes, accreditation discrepancies, translating one's teaching style into an effective online persona, communicating online (teacher-student and student-student), and collaborating effectively in online groups.Through careful observation, research, and study, this thesis aims to identify the cause of these problems, as well as it seeks to offer solutions to the pedagogical strain of an asynchronous environment.
This research offers insight into the ways the online classroom affects students and professors in Business Writing and Technical Writing because those courses, already regarded as cold and demanding in the classroom, seem especially challenging in the DL environment. Collaborative writing, often problematic in traditional classes, becomes a significant challenge in DL classes because students usually (and incorrectly) assume work in DL courses consists of individual papers without any expectation of communicating with others. This misconception inhibits students¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ability to successfully cooperate with peers in a group setting. Student-professor communication is also challenged when students fail to properly asses and follow the directions of a syllabus. Students misread detailed syllabi, which ultimately leads to confusion and inaccuracy on assignments. Often, these communication barriers frustrate students and professors, which consequently hinder academic progress. Other areas of concern include quandaries that involve the distribution of course material, specific difficulties involving Business Writing and Technical Writing, and the future of shell courses in asynchronous pedagogy.