Assessing Canvas as an alternative to Blackboard

This year, UAF has been involved in a UA-wide pilot program to assess the Canvas learning management system (LMS). More than 1,000 students and 45 faculty are currently using Canvas in 66 courses. Read their feedback regarding design and usability.

Aim for progress

At UAF, Student Progress Reports and Nanook Navigator Alerts are two mechanisms for providing feedback, which can lead to better student performance.

Building student engagement with Zoom

We’ve all become Zoom experts in the last 10 months. But we’ve also gotten used to the platform and how we use it. Could we be more creative? What could we change about how we use this tool to create more meaningful synchronous experiences for our students?

Managing large online classes

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.

Five questions to ask during course revision

You may have plans to work on your course over the winter break, and this is the perfect time to do some focused reflection on how things went this semester. This Teaching Tip presents suggestions for questions to ask when doing a self-critique in preparation for revision.

Trauma-informed practices for finals

For some of us, the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the deepest experiences of trauma we’ve had. Trauma can be defined as “any experience in which a person’s internal resources are not adequate to cope with external stressors” (Hoch et al., 2015). Between the pandemic, a...

Demystifying trauma-informed teaching

When students enter the classroom, they come with a backpack of experiences – some positive and some not so positive. Trauma-informed teaching helps us recognize the societal, systemic and family impacts on students, including various forms of societal oppression...

Building community in a virtual world

There is a common misconception that it’s harder for students to feel connected when they can’t meet in person, or that distance-based learning is inherently less impactful for students. Although this may apply in some cases, it’s up to the instructor or facilitator...

We are more than floating heads

Trauma, anxiety, and depression impact us cognitively, emotionally, and physically. Trauma-informed approaches to pedagogy allow us to take a more holistic, embodied approach to the teaching and learning processes. Read more to learn strategies of embodied and trauma-informed pedagogy to better support students.

Three ways to make your course more accessible

Everyone’s pinched for time and we need real solutions that are quick to implement with regard to accessibility. This tip provides a look at three areas you can improve in your course using simple ideas that are easy to execute.

Why you should use a mid-semester evaluation

Incorporating mid-semester evaluations into normal classroom routines is one way to improve student motivation and engagement in class, while simultaneously identifying ways to remove barriers and support student learning.

Insights from UAF’s new online organic chemistry labs

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.

Personalizing communication with your students

Many students struggle with staying engaged in their online courses.  Others lose track of deadlines.  Some students feel that the lack of communication makes it hard for them to stay involved in their courses.  In some situations, students have been through online...

Three tips for semester startup

At UAF eCampus, we are focused on creating win-win scenarios for new-to-online instructors and students. This article is focused on creating that win-win scenario from the start using Blackboard.

How to get students to read your feedback

The type of assessments you give will direct the nature and method of feedback you provide students. Feedback provided through the semester can be essential for guiding student learning. However, if students miss seeing your feedback or if they don’t understand...

Setting up your course in Blackboard

You may not have used Blackboard much in the past, but with the uncertainty of how COVID-19 will affect in-person classes, Blackboard can be a reliable tool to help you prepare. Here are some steps to get started.

Strategies for emotionally connecting with students

Emotionally connecting with students supports engagement and helps ensure high-quality teaching and learning outcomes. Here are some strategies to help students develop connections with the course content, the instructor and their peers.

Reflecting on 30 years of distance and online education

Heidi Olson managed paper-based correspondence courses in the ’80s, supported UAF’s first online offerings in the late ’90s, and has handled thousands of online courses since. She retired last week. Read her reflections on these changes over time and advice on giving students the best possible learning experience.

Is your course organized?

There is no one right way to organize a course, but there are some basic principles that will help students navigate and stay on path.