Our journey with Quality Matters

UAF’s Master of Education in Special Education program became the first online special education program in the nation to earn the Quality Matters’ Online Program Design Certification. Here’s how they did it and how you can earn Quality Matters certifications for your course or program.

Three courses embracing distance students

Nov. 5-9, 2018, is celebrated as National Distance Learning Week. UAF instructors employ a variety of ways to not only include non-local students but to actually use their differing locations to enhance a course. These three classes, in particular, are strengthened by students outside of Fairbanks:

Apply Universal Design to your course

Universal Design is a collection of principles for making an experience inclusive for a range of users with consideration to age, ability, size and any other condition that causes them to be more or less successful interacting with the world. It is an approach to design that intentionally means to benefit many individuals and it can be applied to course design.

Previous teaching can power current course modifications

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.

Improve your course with help from a review rubric

As a new semester approaches you should be thinking about making some improvements to your course. There are many review rubric resources available that will help prompt you into making revisions that will better support your students. This week’s tip will share information about some of these helpful resources.

Three ways to set up your course more efficiently

Teaching online since 2011, Janene McMahan has learned some things along the way. In this tip she shares three ideas for making the best use of your time: set expectations, set up your workspace for good flow, and prep a layout once then replicate it.

Creating a communication plan for engaging students

The summer semester is short. Keeping students engaged and thinking about your course can be helped by creating a regular plan for communication at the beginning of the semester. In this Teaching Tip, we’ll discuss how to create a plan and provide considerations for using Blackboard Announcements to push your notifications out to students.

Improve your online course with Quality Matters

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.

Hello? Use phone calls to connect with students

We’re at a point in the semester when energy gets low. Students have gotten quiet on discussion boards, you’ve got grading to last you the rest of winter and winter isn’t near over yet. It can be hard to keep everyone engaged in your work together, but making a simple phone call could make a big difference.

New Box View replaces Crocodoc for inline grading

As of this month when your students turn in programming code and graphics inside of Blackboard you can use the New Box View inline grading tool to view the code and add comments to the images. If you previously used Crocodoc to quickly view spreadsheets or papers inside of the Blackboard Grade Center, you’ll find the expanded list of supported file types a breath of fresh air!

Students communicate strategies and pitfalls

During National Distance Learning Week UAF eCampus conversed with students via Facebook. Here’s a light read on student strategies to stay on task as well as a few shared challenges we all face. Read on; it might spark a small change to make in your course as a result.

Encourage student video creation in Kaltura Mediaspace

Your students have options for demonstrating their knowledge and expertise via video. Kaltura MediaSpace, conveniently integrated with Blackboard, offers a way for students to record, share and store their video demonstrations of content mastery.

Let’s make some media!

Whether you’re creating or updating an online course or experimenting with blending online and face-to-face modes, rich, original media can improve your course. Opportunities abound to enhance your presence and provide your unique perspective.

Free online resources for professional development

Many of us don’t have the luxury of attending software training workshops or classes to learn how to use products like Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Excel. Having access to just–in–time training is really important in helping us get our jobs done. Finding reliable resources to help learn to use software and technology in your teaching and learning can sometimes be a challenge.

Collect student viewing data in Kaltura Mediaspace

Kaltura Mediaspace, UAF’s video and media delivery platform, gives users greater control over their videos than similar platforms (like YouTube). Instructors can view analytics of videos they deploy from their media gallery inside of Blackboard.

How to evaluate alignment within your course

Key structural course components should work together to support intended learning outcomes. Considering alignment helps us focus on our designs for student understanding, and spend time looking at how various course elements support those goals.

Encourage your students to step into the zone

Today’s teachers face a critical challenge deciding when and how to make use of technology in their classroom, whether they are supplementing a classroom experience or leading a flipped, hybrid, or fully online course. UAF eCampus’s team of instructional designers exists to help with this (https://iteachu.uaf.edu/events/), but each of us is always our own design staff.

How to blend the world into your classroom

When the world feels too big to shut out of your classroom, do you close the door or do you invite in what’s on the minds of so many? Integrating current events into your course is not only engaging for students, it teaches them to approach challenging conversations as learners and to defend their positions with evidence.

Shape student achievement with early contact

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.

Help students make connections in your class

Last year I spent two days in a cold hotel conference room in Dallas practicing how to build connections between group members. Connecting individuals increases their chances of building community. Building community helps with success.

You’re not alone! And your students aren’t either

The physical space of a campus blends student support into the learning environment: on the first day of school, students taking face-to-face courses walk onto campus, stroll past the library, the Writing Center, and their advisor’s office on the way to your class. They greet their classmates who, a few weeks into the semester, are the ones they will ask when they’re confused about your instructions.

Anticipate the needs and challenges of your online students

Nearly everyone alive today has experience as a student in a traditional, brick and mortar classroom within a traditional classroom paradigm. How many of us have experience as fully online students? There are few basic ways that online instructors without such experience can bridge that gap and accommodate and empathize with the needs of students.

First contact assignments can jump-start the semester

The start of a new semester begins soon! In a face-to-face class, you usually connect with students on the first day of class. You quickly confirm students know where and when to meet. Most faculty give an overview of the course and introduce students to the syllabus. Faculty introduce themselves to the students and often have the students introduce themselves to the class.

Set up a student Q&A discussion board

Setting up a discussion board designed to allow your students to communicate with one another may lower the number of emails you receive. It will empower students to ask each other quick questions, and it might get them talking. Make sure students know it is a resource that becomes more useful with their active use. As students continue to interact they build relationships which benefit them both during the course and after. Read this teaching tip for ideas on how to implement this type of discussion board.