Instruction beyond the bounds of the semester

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.

Giving students choice

What happens when we put students in the director’s seat in terms of what, when, and how they learn and what might that look like in a course? There are many examples of democratizing the educational experience through a range of institutional and classroom levels and across the K-20 progression. There are likewise many opinions on this idea from steadfast proponents and those in opposition.  In this Teaching Tip, we’ll take a brief look at imparting more academic power to students — the benefits, practical considerations, and potential pitfalls.

iTeachU relaunches with more services for faculty

Are you working on a new course, an assignment, or a teaching idea and need a place to start? Start at iTeachU, UAF eCampus’s online headquarters for all your questions about course design. Learn on your own with our Pedagogy Resources, featuring tips and deep dives on course design, technology concepts, examples, links, and more.

Explore Digital Storytelling with Your Students

Storytelling, as an account of events in the evolution of something or one’s life, is something we humans participate in every day, but how often do you ask your students to  engage in the activity deliberately?  Many students will need to know how to tell good...

Get to the point using animated GIF instructions

Is it possible to distill instructions to mere seconds using an animated GIF? While reading the Google product blog, I noticed they use this strategy to illustrate new functionality within their apps. These short demonstrations helped me understand new functionality without requiring me to launch the actual application and click around.

Weave meaning and media with interactive maps

Maps are a natural and efficient way to communicate spatial information. More than serving as tools to help us think about physical space, they are useful for visualizing and organizing information within the context of a particular place. Maps provide a concrete landscape on which to present a story tied to a place that can provide visually compelling interpretation of data.

Google provides training for using apps in class

Google provides a variety of professional development pathways for those who want to become more adept at using Google Apps with students, including two certification programs. Even if you don’t finish the program, instructors will have a better understanding of how to use the different Google applications in a meaningful and purposeful manner that relates to activities you could actually do in a classroom.

Online education – part 2

Last week we discussed the gold standard of online learning experience design: Your course is complete prior to students ever sitting in their virtual seats. Your intended outcomes are firmly in your sights and you can now devote time during the semester to feedback, assessment, and mentoring. Your solid design and your consistent presence work together to achieve everyone’s educational dreams.

Online education part – 1

One of the most common questions I hear is, “how much time is it going to take to develop my online course?” This question reminds me of similar questions such as, “How long does it take to build a house?” and “How long does it take to make dinner?” The answers to these, of course, are, “it depends.”

Verbal feedback?

If your students are using Google Docs for any portion of their assignments, you can teach them how to provide peer feedback verbally using the Google Docs Add-on Kaizena Mini. You can also use this product yourself to guide your student through changes you would like to see in their written work.


Imagine 20 random photos that someone else chooses for you, each one projecting on a screen for 20 seconds, while you develop and deliver a presentation to a room of your peers. Doesn’t that sound like fun? What kind of learning does this improvisation encourage?

-confidence and understanding of material
-responsiveness to visual cues
-spontaneous thinking
-boasts creativity
-perfects presentation skills

3D printing

Have you been thinking about 3D printing something for your classroom, lab, or just for fun but don’t know how to get started? There are a plethora of easy to use and inexpensive online services to help with that! Here are some we have found to help send you on your way to 3D printing bliss.

QR codes

QR, or Quick Response codes, are specially designed barcodes that can be read by a camera-ready mobile device or computer. I like to think of them as URLs for print; by reading the “link” you get bonus information. You see them all over: food products, magazines, posters, signage, business cards. Almost anywhere you see information posted in two dimension, you might see a QR code.

Virtual worlds

Do you remember virtual worlds? They haven’t gone anywhere, but back in the middle of the last decade, 2006-2009, they were getting a good deal more attention than they are now. Names from the automotive industry, news agencies, music labels, and even universities jumped in to see what all of the hype was about. Worlds such as Second Life, Open Sim, Kaneva, and Blue Mars were just some of the virtual spaces people could walk into.

Open books

Learn more about Open Education Resources, specifically open textbooks, peer-reviewed materials and materials shared under a Creative Commons license. Your students (and you!) don’t have to spend money to obtain current, peer-reviewed data.


The foundation of the Pomodoro Technique is a simple, powerful method to improve time management and focus that demands nothing more than a timer of some kind (ideally mechanical or a good simulation), a pen, and paper.

Big bad MOOCs – are you afraid?

Thanks to the media deluge, you’ve probably heard of the precipitous rise of the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)
and maybe even peeked into a MOOCourse or two. If you haven’t—or hoped to just ignore them—you might want to
think again.

Wearable technology

Wearable technology is an advanced electronic device that is small enough to be worn naturally in the form of clothing, accessories, or portable lightweight containers. While this is not a new product genre (we can look back at things like the calculator watch and Sony Walkman), the items and their functionality are progressing rapidly.

Annotate with Thinglink

The cliché, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” has taken on a new meaning in the online world of web 2.0 tools. Using an online service such as, you can actually create an interactive image by adding text, video, music, and web links to increase the meaning of your– image.


We know we should be teaching them, but a lot of teachers aren’t sure really what transmedia projects look like, nor do they know how low the barrier to entry is. This Teaching Tip links out to a couple examples of transmedia, and makes an argument as to why we should be more conscious of the form both for our own professional development and for the sake of our students.

Layar Creator (for AR)

Augmented Reality (AR) can seem like magic but there are a growing number of creation tools that make it easy and fun for everyone to get started making their own. Layar Creator is a simple drag-and-drop interface available online. Read this week’s teaching tip to find out how to get started.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) has been mentioned in the last couple years’ Horizon Reports for Higher Education as one of the latest upcoming technologies for education. You may have heard of new wearable technologies such as Google Glass that will bring AR to the masses in the near future.