UAF associate professor Mary Beth Leigh, with the help of colleagues around campus, integrates technical and creative writing into her Environmental Microbiology (BIOL 457/657) course. Once in their careers, her students typically need to be able to write about science for both technical and general audiences. Children’s books, original drawings and interactive images were just some of the outcomes.
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Two recent studies from the National Association of Colleges and Employers and the National Academy of Sciences highlight the need to address a more integrative curricular approach to improve competencies desired by employers. In this Teaching Tip, we take a brief look at these two reports and invite faculty to join the discussion on how integration of scientific, technical and liberal arts fields can work to enhance post-graduation success.read more
If you’ve ever used WordPress in your class as a space for student contribution, you’ve likely wondered if there is an optimal way to see what is being published and who is making contributions. This information is vital in an online course where post and comment activity often happens asynchronously. In this Teaching Tip, we’ll discuss strategies that allow you to track student engagement and interaction.read more
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.read more
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.read more
Turning your course open with Open Education resources, practices, and pedagogy can have profound impacts on how students relate to the materials, to you, to their learning and their positioning relative to that learning. Ready to get started?read more
Getting students to use quality information sources for term papers and projects can be a challenge; the library offers suggestions to make it easier for both instructors and students.read more
Open Educational Resources (OER) are any type of media that is free and available for educators and students to use, reuse, repurpose, and sometimes modify for educational purposes. OER can help your students save money and can help you think about how you can teach outside typical textbook constraints. But how do you go about finding good OER? In this Teaching Tip, we will discuss methods for locating and evaluating resources.read more
“Open Education” is a deceivingly simple name for a concept that covers a broad range of philosophies, pedagogies, activities and products, many of which are critical to the University of Alaska. In advance of a series of Teaching Tips exploring some of these ideas, here’s a necessarily incomplete A-Z of ideas that are part of Open Education.read more
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.
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.
Getting students to use quality information sources for term papers and projects can be a challenge; the library offers suggestions to make it easier for both instructors and students.
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.
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.
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!
During National Distance Learning Week UAF eLearning 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.
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.
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.
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.
A few well-placed visuals may help students find their path through your course. Consider providing both a course calendar and a course map to guide them.
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.
Every teacher has goals to be effective and efficient. Knowing more about the tools and features in Blackboard’s Grade Center can help you reach your potential. This week’s tip concentrates on different kinds of Total columns you might use in your course to organize and compute final grades. There is a lot of capability and might be the perfect feature for you to implement in your course.
New features have been updated in Blackboard Learn relating to assignment submissions. Teachers and students are now able to add attachments via drag and drop. There are also new features that allow tracking of quiz attempts and assignment submissions. Read this week’s Teaching Tip to learn how the new features are giving both students and instructors more power in Blackboard Learn.
Building a rubric can help you determine how—or if—an assignment aligns to your course objectives. Once built, you may use it to frame your feedback. Sharing the specifics with students prior to task assignment helps focus their efforts. Your students may not know about the wealth of information provided by clicking on the link, “View Rubric.”
More and more students are using mobile devices and an app called Blackboard Mobile Learn to access course content on the go. While students shouldn’t solely rely on smartphones to complete course requirements, there are steps instructors can take to make it a better experience, such as using common file types (like PDFs), keeping titles short and testing links on a variety of devices.
We all spend time playing games. According to vertoanalytics.com, we spend more than a billion hours per month playing mobile games and that doesn’t include games played on laptops, desktops or with game consoles.1 According to the entertainment software association, in 2015, 65% of US households had at least one person who played online games, three hours or more per week.
Blackboard provides built-in mechanisms to ensure online content adheres to accessibility standards for its static structure. Once content or third party elements like multimedia and links to resources are added, there are steps you take to maintain accessibility. As you begin adding course content in Blackboard, be mindful of what the end result may look like using a screen reader.
The Blackboard Grade Center offers options for reviewing student performance on your tests and exams and can be a useful mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness of your test questions. A poorly worded question doesn’t mean your students aren’t mastering the content. Look for Attempts Statistics, Download Results, Item Analysis and Column Statistics as options in the column header for your test.
This time of year we’re all spending a lot of time in Blackboard, yet seldom does one hear its praises sung within our hallowed halls. It may not be the shiniest tool in our toolbox, and some might even say its menus and structures are less than an inspiring home for the learning and cognitive transformations we expect it to facilitate.
If you’re a longtime Windows user, you might be wishing for a visual folder structure view of your course. You may be more familiar with a “tree” structure where you see folders with a “+” sign indicating something in the folder. When you click on the folder icon that is right above the course name, a new window will open that allows you to navigate quickly to a nested tree structure where titles are links. This option is also available for students.
The Blackboard Learn application for iOS has been available for quite a while. The application is very student friendly and is a great option for accessing course material and posting to the discussion board using a mobile device. The Blackboard Grader application is now available (iOS iPad only) and should prove to be a great advantage for instructors.
Having an institutional Learning Management System (LMS) has both advantages and disadvantages. Some of the advantages are that class and student data is automatically created based on the institution’s registration system, students gain familiarity with the LMS’ structure and navigation, there is an online gradebook for teachers and students, and more.
Many instructors spent frenzied final hours before launch wrestling content into Blackboard. One frequent source of challenge is that nearly all of us develop our lectures, notes and syllabi in Microsoft Word and when we transfer these materials online, we unwittingly wander into a decades old battleground. We innocently expect that we should be able to copy and paste from our Word document directly into Blackboard. But the potential layers of complexity and conflict can be more than frustrating.
Two recent studies from the National Association of Colleges and Employers and the National Academy of Sciences highlight the need to address a more integrative curricular approach to improve competencies desired by employers. In this Teaching Tip, we take a brief look at these two reports and invite faculty to join the discussion on how integration of scientific, technical and liberal arts fields can work to enhance post-graduation success.
Turning your course open with Open Education resources, practices, and pedagogy can have profound impacts on how students relate to the materials, to you, to their learning and their positioning relative to that learning. Ready to get started?
Open Educational Resources (OER) are any type of media that is free and available for educators and students to use, reuse, repurpose, and sometimes modify for educational purposes. OER can help your students save money and can help you think about how you can teach outside typical textbook constraints. But how do you go about finding good OER? In this Teaching Tip, we will discuss methods for locating and evaluating resources.
In the first four parts of our series on online STEM labs, we looked at why online faculty choose to develop an online lab course, the diversity of lab solutions faculty implemented to meet course objectives, how to engage online lab students, and special assessment considerations within the context of online STEM labs. In this fifth and final part of our series, we take a look at some cutting edge efforts to improve teaching and learning in terms of both technical solutions and pedagogical approaches.
Do online STEM labs present unusually challenging circumstances for assessment? Yes, and no. In this fourth part of our five-part series discussing online STEM labs, we’re taking a look at the special assessment considerations inherent in online labs and how some faculty have tackled the challenge.
There are many choices to consider when selecting a particular approach to designing online labs. In this second part of our four-part series on online STEM lab courses, we’re going to take a look at four main categories of online lab experiences and consider their respective strengths and weaknesses. When making design decisions for your online labs, return to and refocus on your intended objectives before tackling the question of how to get there.
Use data from an introductory activity to create an infographic to share cohort information and build community in a course. This can show students how they might use infographics as a method to demonstrate critical thinking skills based on the results of their own research.
How do you guide your students not only through course material, but through navigating the university, their professional ambitions, a balance between personal and academic lives? This is the work of the teacher-as-mentor.
Open educational practices incorporate Wiley’s 5 Rs of open content – retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute – into ways of teaching that encourage co-creation and sharing amongst learners, teachers, and a community.
Open Educational Resources (OER) are any type of media that is free and publicly available for educators and students to use, reuse, repurpose, and sometimes modify for educational purposes (1, 2). The idea of OER has been around for a while but in the last few years...
In order for your course to go well, must it go as planned? Interrupt your class’s routine with tactics that make space for students to build and create.
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.
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.
Let’s not be satisfied with the “feedback sandwich approach” in course discussion. Providing guidance and setting expectations for what good discussion feedback looks like can help move students beyond giving comments that do not prompt further discussion, build on an argument or rethink one’s own stance.
Let go of some of the how. How will the student generate the video? How will the student submit his or her paper? Focus on the what and the why. Grab your list of learning objectives and analyze course learning experiences and assessments to determine if they support students progressing toward course outcomes.
Social media is full of short bursts of content pushed out to viewers to be accessed when and where the viewer has time. You can do the same thing with “microLearning:” simple, short and concise learning opportunities that reinforce learning.
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.
Creating or using a glossary as a class activity can ensure students and instructors have a shared understanding of how words or concepts are defined within the discipline.
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.
Our purpose as instructors is to facilitate new student understandings. But, what are understandings? Are there different kinds? It seems they can be simple, such as remembering the elements of the periodic table, or extremely complex, such as discovering new knowledge about oneself and one’s relationship with the world.
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.
Summer is in full swing! You are camping, gardening, roadtripping, hiking, netflixing, swatting at mosquitoes — maybe even teaching. Meanwhile, you’re actively ignoring that buzz behind your ear: Fall’s coming … Teaching … Teaching … Teaching. No one will blame you for swatting that buzz away until, say, August. It’s summer, after all. But what if you could do something now to make your course development a month or two from now a bit easier?
In most disciplines, there are skills that need to be learned and understood before moving on to something more complicated. Without a solid foundation, moving on to more difficult endeavors can be challenging as well as frustrating and can be a hurdle the student is not able to get over.
Tools & How to
If you’ve ever used WordPress in your class as a space for student contribution, you’ve likely wondered if there is an optimal way to see what is being published and who is making contributions. This information is vital in an online course where post and comment activity often happens asynchronously. In this Teaching Tip, we’ll discuss strategies that allow you to track student engagement and interaction.
Google Scholar is a tool students can use to search for peer-reviewed articles, court opinions and patents. It connects to the UAF Rasmuson Library database to make finding full-text articles easy.
The Blackboard Grade Center can be a powerful tool to manage the grades in your course, and to stay on top of students that may need a little extra help. It can be especially useful in courses with a large number of students. Read this week’s Teaching Tip to learn more.
Google has released Drive Stream to help you more efficiently manage your Google Drive files offline. The new features make more intelligent use of space on your computer and help reduce the amount of file syncing over network connections.
Creating a video for your course is a great way to engage students and clearly explain content. But how do you keep students watching, and how do you make sure they are grasping the concepts you’re explaining? Kaltura’s Video Quiz feature is a low-stakes and easy way to interactively enhance and further break down a video for student understanding.
In the next few weeks, some faculty may notice a switch from “Google Hangouts” to something called “Google Meet”. The two are nearly identical but the change in interface might be a little confusing, so we’ve summarized some of the changes to help you stay ahead of the game.
H5P is a plugin you can use with your WordPress site to create interactive content, such as image hotspots, which can help your students with various learning styles.
Even seasoned WordPress users can learn a new trick. WordPress actively changes as new updates are applied to the main product. Years after I began using WordPress almost daily, a coworker showed me how to edit multiple settings from within one screen! This tip will show you how.
Audio transcription tools enable listeners to give their undivided attention to a speaker and free up hands and eyes from note taking. These apps can help to foster a more engaging group dynamic in the moment and are becoming both more precise and affordable thanks to the advancement of voice-to-text technology.
Engaging students by checking their understanding often and quickly is a good teaching strategy for helping students retain their understanding to long-term memory. Quizzing students regularly in class can also mean more time grading, but accounting instructor Ruth Prato uses an app called ZipGrade to scan and evaluate student quizzes efficiently. Students love the quick results and Ruth loves the ease of grading
Engage your students by incorporating polished, open-licensed, stock media in your course to help build interest and garner attention. The curated resources in this Teaching Tip will show you where to find eye-catching images, video and audio.
Watch the video by clicking on the image at the bottom of this post. CaptureSpace does two things really well. First, it provides a free, cross-platform solution for recording your screen. Second, it creates a final product that is semi-interactive, allowing viewers...