The Asynchronous Cookbook
DLINQ staff contributors
Copyright Year: 2021
Publisher: Office of Digital Learning & Inquiry, Middlebury College
Conditions of Use
The Asynchronous Cookbook is a thorough and helpful guide to integrating asynchronous activities into courses. It provides information on a variety of different activities that an instructor could utilize in a course. I particularly like the... read more
The Asynchronous Cookbook is a thorough and helpful guide to integrating asynchronous activities into courses. It provides information on a variety of different activities that an instructor could utilize in a course. I particularly like the forms, templates, and examples embedded into chapters as well as the links to other sources for additional information at the end of many chapters.
The terms and concepts presented in the text appear to be accurate. With a topic and textbook like this, a downside may be that the information might become outdated relatively quickly as technology evolves and changes.
The topic of the text is very timely and relevant. I can see this content being useful to instructors across a wide range of content areas.
The text is very clearly written and uses understandable language and terms. I also like the format of book and how the chapters are organized. Very reader friendly!
The chapters are formatted in a very consistent and user-friendly manner. Each chapter starts out with a "chapter intro" then in keeping with the theme of the book, there are sections of each chapter titled "prep ahead", "ingredients", "step by step instructions" and then the chapter concludes with "additional resources".
I appreciate how different chapters can be utilized individually, and in a different order, as needed without needing to read the whole book at one time in order to grasp the content. For example, chapter 6 about "games" could be read before chapter 4 on "discussion activities".
The topics in the text are clearly presented in a logical and useful fashion.
The only issue I encountered is that when you click on one of the embedded links within the text and then try to return to where you were, it automatically takes you to the cover page of the text.
No grammatical errors were noticed.
The text does not appear to be culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It includes a variety of possible activities that an instructor could use to engage all students in a in-person, online, or hybrid format.
This book seems very useful. I have downloaded it and plan to use many of the suggested strategies in my future classes.
The book approaches the topic with an accessible format and writing style. The topics are grouped appropriately. The expertise of the authors shows through and even more content would be welcomed. read more
The book approaches the topic with an accessible format and writing style. The topics are grouped appropriately. The expertise of the authors shows through and even more content would be welcomed.
The content appears to be as accurate, error-free, and unbiased as possible. The one drawback to a text with "hot links" is the short "shelf life" of said external links. At the moment all the links appear to be working. The links take you to external pages. In doing so, it makes it difficult to return to the text.
The content has relevance right now. Overall the activities will hold their power even when more advanced technological apps and tools develop. The relevance will decrease over an extended amount of time. I believe the authors are well-aware of the time frame the text will hold its relevance.
The text us user-friendly and even contains humor to keep reading light.
The authors are experts in their field and understand the importance of consistency. They know the terminology and use it with ease.
The text isn't meant as a read from cover to cover. The title engenders a text that can be read as used as needed. The topics show as recipes to be selected and "cooked" up when desired.
The topics are well-explained and easy to access.
The only interface issue is when accessing the "hot links" that take you away from the text, it isn't easy to return to where you left off in reading the book.
No grammatical error were noticed in the review.
The text has activities that encourage honor and appreciating diversity. The activities in the text are meant to help teachers who work in asynchronous learning environments to engage learners. In doing so, it is important to get to know the students through a wide variety of activities and exercises that tell personal stories.
I have already printed this text and will use it as a resource for myself and will share it with others who teach in similar environments.
The text has ten chapters in total which is a good amount for this particular book. It has a super-catchy title and focuses on some of the most poignant topics in online and asynchronous learning. Educators want their students to be actively... read more
The text has ten chapters in total which is a good amount for this particular book. It has a super-catchy title and focuses on some of the most poignant topics in online and asynchronous learning. Educators want their students to be actively involved in their learning and the topics explored, e.g. team work, simulations, games, etc. allow for that high level of engagement and active learning.
Topics and definitions are accurate. Contributors are skilled instructional designers and familiar with digital learning. The text centers around the "Community of Inquiry Model" which is a framework that includes teaching, cognitive, and social presence.
The text is relevant and contains links and URLs for more information. While online and asynchronous learning will change and evolve over time, this text appears to be easily updated and adapted to make those changes as needed. It currently contains the most relevant uses of technology and technology tools available.
The text is written in very simplistic terms that a lay person or average educator can understand and make use of the materials and suggestions offered. Even though there are multiple contributors to this text, it speaks as from one voice. No errors in grammar and references were noted. The simplistic "Prep Ahead", "Ingredients", and "Step by Step Instructions" for the various activities will be appreciated by experienced and novice educators alike.
Each chapter is consistent in terms of the actual activities (Chapters 4-10). There is an introduction to the topic and then examples or parts of the "recipe". Each example goes through a "Prep Ahead", "Ingredients", and "Step by Step Instructions" followed by an actual example and linked resources.
Parts or section of the text can be taken and used as preferred or as needed by the instructor. It is helpful to read Chapters 1-3 to gain an idea of the premise of the text and understand the theoretical framework, but the content and sample activities in Chapters 4-10 can be selected at will and in no particular order depending on the educator's preference or needs.
The text flows nicely from one topic to the next. Chapter 1 provides an introduction and explains why the text was written and what are some of the benefits of using asynchronous activities. Chapter 2 defines key concepts and provides the framework. Chapter 3 discusses collaborative group work and the importance of planning lessons and activities. And Chapters 4-10 go through select and timely activities that would be of interest to the reader.
The first two pages are huge. The rest of the text - pages 3-130 - are much smaller. Therefore, the user must navigate and zoom in-or-out in order to expand or contract the pages as needed. The title page is nicely colorful and engaging and as stated above, the title is excellent!
No grammar issues found.
The text was culturally neutral. It focused on the educator and his/her classroom and the activities that could be used in each. In the examples provided of various activities, culture in terms of race or ethnicity was not the focus. Background, topics, situations, etc. were all varied depending on subject, time frame, theme, etc.
A very nicely done text that would be useful to the practicing teacher in terms of asynchronous activities that could be incorporated into any subject or classroom.
The content covers many if not all elements of how to properly engage students in an online format. I particularly appreciate the simulations and labs component as I would like to incorporate more of these into our courses as well but haven't been... read more
The content covers many if not all elements of how to properly engage students in an online format. I particularly appreciate the simulations and labs component as I would like to incorporate more of these into our courses as well but haven't been clear on how to start.
It seems to be accurate and relevant to most online learning environments. It may be beneficial to include other opportunities to engage students like H5P, like for games or escape rooms, which integrates with learning management systems very well.
There are many resources shared outside of the textbook which may need to be updated over time. Many strategies to engage students do not really become obsolete, but how to accomplish goals may adapt overtime. Like a scavenger hunt or a simulation, always relevant but the medium to complete those may change. The text is written and/or arranged in a simple, easy to follow was that will be simple to update in the future. I love the recipe format; it is a unique way to present this information.
The text is written in a professional way but also free of excessive jargon or terminology that may not be appropriate for all interested in learning more about student engagement. There are many resources provided to learn more about different strategies if you need it, which is very helpful and encourages even more learning.
The text and general formatting is internally consistent in terms of framework and terminology. Each section has a recipe square/rectangle with pertinent introductory information, then it goes into prep, ingredients, and instructions. Each section ends with examples and resources as applicable. It's so thoughtfully built and the consistency is so welcomed, especially since there is so much content in this book.
The text is broken down into subsections, but the individual chapters can be very long. I recognize that there are so many sections already provided in the text, but it becomes a little challenging to absorb all of the information provided in some of the chapters. Maybe it would have been beneficial to make two volumes or more chapters to limit the cognitive load.
The headings and examples break up the text well and make it easier to consume the text.
The topics are presented in a logical and clear fashion. It may be beneficial to have the topics build on each other through the course of the text, but that's only a suggestion! It's thorough and well-done!
There are colors and graphics used that may not be accessible to all users. Images should have alt-text applied and the orange/red colored boxes may be difficult for users to read. Otherwise it seems to be constructed well with minimal distractions.
The text contains no grammatical errors that I noticed. There are a couple of formatting inconsistencies with use of uppercase letters (or not), but those are very minor concerns.
This element is not overtly present in the text. There is a diagram provided in the second chapter that discusses social presence and setting the climate, which implies some of these elements. The content of this text is meant to engage all students in unique ways and I think largely, it does that.
This text is very thorough and well-rounded in its presentation of information. I'm excited to implement some of this content in the courses that I teach with faculty and the strategies with the student courses as well.
This textbook is comprehensive as it discusses WHAT asynchronous instruction is, WHY it is important, and HOW to do it. read more
This textbook is comprehensive as it discusses WHAT asynchronous instruction is, WHY it is important, and HOW to do it.
The textbook discusses the inquiry model, grounded in research. The textbook also identifies activities that engage learners, which is multiple means of engagement, a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach.
The textbook is arranged in cookbook style to make it relatable to the reader. For example, there are ingredients for each activity, step by step "cooking" instructions for each activity, and example photos for many of the activities, which is similar to the photos of the finished cooked dishes in cookbooks.
Again, the cookbook style of this textbook works as an advantage. It adds to the clarity of each of the activities identified and explained in the textbook.
Engagement, inquiry, asynchronous teaching are three common themes found throughout the textbook. The focus is consistent throughout.
This textbook is very readable/user-friendly. It is chunked into sections for types of asynchronous activities. This makes it easier to find what one needs to read about.
Again, the chunked material throughout the textbook is a positive feature.
There are no interface issues.
Grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, etc. are superb.
The textbook is culturally responsive to a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.
The textbook breaks down an abundance of strategies to use in asynchronous instruction. In addition to learning how to implement the instructional strategies, the textbook sparks ideas for future assignments in courses.
Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Some Key Concepts
- 3. Group and Team Work in Asynchronous Settings
- 4. Discussion Activities
- 5. Mapping Activities
- 6. Games
- 7. Simulations & Labs
- 8. Writing, Storytelling, and Publishing
- 9. Presentations
- 10. Class Climate
About the Book
Whether you're teaching mostly in person but looking for some regular, asynchronous activities to add to your course, or teaching a fully online course, this resource is for you. The activities in this cookbook draw on research and good practice in online course design to provide recipes - concise and specific instructions and examples - for adding asynchronous activities to a course. Meaningful interaction between students and instructors is a key ingredient in all of these recipes.
About the Contributors
DLINQ staff contributors