With strategic course design, it is possible in large classes to provide a strong instructor presence, give expert-level feedback on subjective assignments, and maintain a quality learning experience for students.
This fall, UAF’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry debuted its asynchronous online organic chemistry series with labs. There’s a reason this has not been done before: It requires an enormous amount of planning. But we’re doing it, and with some of the wisdom shared here, you might think about taking your lab course completely online as well.
Taking an online course can sometimes be like walking through an airport — distractions everywhere. Here are some simple and not-so-obvious ways to remove distractions from your course content.
Speaking in public can induce anxiety. Whether it’s an instructor lecturing or a student making a presentation, this teaching tip describes causes and remedies that can be used in your class.
Instructional designers are masters in the science and art of education. When faced with teaching and learning challenges, we know why a particular design choice makes the most sense. We also know that we are not an expert in your discipline. You are.
Asynchronous online and face-to-face are the most familiar modes of course delivery but you may want to consider a hybrid delivery model to meet student or program needs.
This teaching tip touches upon alternatives to proctored exams and alignment between learning objectives and assessments.
Teaching is a practice. We can look to the world of music for advice on how we as teachers can improve our performance in a focused, concentrated and effective way.
The first day of fall semester is next week! This is the second in a series of four Teaching Tips that provide ideas on readying your course for opening day and highlights efforts which will save your class time and perhaps provide more opportunity for deeper learning.
The first day of fall semester is right around the corner. This is the first in a series of four Teaching Tips that provide ideas on readying your course for opening day and covers items that require a longer time for planning and communicating to your incoming roster of students.
We tend to think that lab courses must march students through a well-rehearsed set of steps. After the experiment is performed, and the data gathered and presented, students submit a lab report with an error analysis which provides an opportunity to explain why the results deviated from theoretical predictions. This gives you, the instructor plenty to assess. The real question is: Are you measuring what you want with your lab activity assessment?
Take a look at a session conducted on best practices in online lab courses and how to facilitate them. Instructional Designer Dan LaSota has included a slide deck that outlines the session.
Two online workshops are available in April and June to instructors with existing courses online. The training introduces a subset of the Quality Matters rubric standards which have the greatest impact on course design. Faculty decide and prioritize which sections of their course to improve.
Engaging role play puts the outcome of historical events into the hands of students. Social pressure, choice and a desire to succeed drive most students to engage deeply with your course content.
As we discover, test and improve methods of online teaching, one category of courses, the science laboratory based class, has resisted many efforts to bring lab units to the online realm. But this need not be the case. There are several models, methods and ready made solutions available to instructors or departments who are contemplating this transition. In this Teaching Tip, we cover the range of options available.
Illustration: University of Munich Remotely Controlled Lab on Millikan’s Experiment web interface.
Solving Ill-structured problems require high order thought, reflective consideration and guided discussion. This teaching tip provides specific research based practices to conducting such discussion in your online class.
Without practice and application, students can rapidly forget course material between academic semesters. Instructors can counter this effect by pointing students to and creating their own, opportunities to engage with subject matter during the breaks.
The best kind of joke is the one that forces students to rethink content in a new light and see it from a different perspective. But achieving this can be difficult. Wanzer illustrates the pitfalls in using humor to achieve this end.
Getting the busy student to prepare for class prior to trying to do course work is difficult at best. This tip delves into this problem and provides a few recommendations for faculty to try. Should you feel your students need this type of encouragement, look to a model that places content right at hand to how most students tend to approach learning and participating in a course.
It is well known that rapid responsive communication with students can help eliminate the feeling of isolation in online classes. The question for instructors isn’t so much how often you should communicate with students, but how early and in what form? Using one of the tools provided to all University of Alaska faculty, this teaching tip offers the idea of very early, pre-semester email communication with students. The end goal is to positively shape expectations and achievement.
The subject of the lie has been pondered, defined and debated over centuries, across cultures and in various situations. Lies come in many forms, some harmless, others pernicious. Is there any place for lies in the classroom? You may wish to consider these examples before reflecting on that.
Research shows that the educational outcomes associated with field trips are not dependent on a face to face visit. Outcomes are instead based on student engagement driven by activities before, during and after visits to a site. This Teaching Tip provides an overview of good practices and a starting point for those considering using field trips in their class.
At the closing of SXSWEdu a few years ago, I watched one of the most memorable keynote addresses to educators that I have ever seen. Jeffrey Tambor quoted one of his favorite writers, Henry Miller, as saying “I did not learn to write, until my teacher told me to ‘do it badly.’’
Open-book tests can reduce student anxiety associated with memory recall and better train future professionals for jobs requiring critical thought and constant renewal of domain knowledge.