Recent Teaching Tips

STEAMy ideas for your course

A recent trend in higher education involves integrating arts, humanities, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) curriculum now known as STEAM. Large research studies (1) show that integration can broaden the student experience within highly...

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Let’s talk about digital literacy

More than ever, faculty are being tasked with fostering digital literacy in order for students to be successful in class and ready for the workforce. Digital literacy as an important component of higher education is something that has become critical in higher...

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Cancel your final

Give everyone a break from the stress of traditional finals and infuse a new sense of purpose in your final assessment with these suggestions for alternative final assessments.

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Are you ready to be Googled?

It’s probably old news to you that it matters what appears when people Google you. However, the pesky thing about managing your web presence is that it’s a continual practice. Here are tips to help you spruce up your online image.

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Autocaptions are new in Kaltura

Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Ethical ramifications. IRB application. Supercontinent Pangaea.Sit in a few classes at UAF and these are terms you may hear. These are also terms that have been accurately transcribed by the new autocaptioning feature in Kaltura,...

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Best Practices

Are you ready to be Googled?

It’s probably old news to you that it matters what appears when people Google you. However, the pesky thing about managing your web presence is that it’s a continual practice. Here are tips to help you spruce up your online image.

Practicing project management

As the semester settles into a rhythm, the more daunting but less urgent projects that we’ve put off are beginning to demand attention. But where to start? Make a plan, commit to a practice and voila, the only work you’ll have to do is the work, not the managing of the anxiety about the work.

Find and create media for your course

In the online learning environment, instructional videos can go a long way in enhancing student understanding, building community, and creating lasting learning experiences. There is no shortage of research pointing to the impact of educational media...

Support students’ basic needs

If we learned anything this summer, it’s that working under conditions of uncertainty and crisis makes it hard to get the work done. This is equally true for students, and it is true at the macro-level of statewide budgeting as well as the micro-level of individual...

What is an instructional designer?

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.

Creating your own course videos

While instructor-created video can greatly enhance the quality of a course, it can be intimidating to take the leap. Here are some tips from an experienced faculty member and media professional to help you get started.

How course design can help students succeed

You may or may not know about all of the challenges your students are facing. The pedagogical framework of Universal Design for Learning can help accommodate these needs and provide more flexibility while maintaining academic rigor.

Blackboard

Make use of Blackboard Test Tool

In the UA Blackboard system, one of the most used tools is the Test Tool. It can be used to create quizzes, midterms, exams and pre- and post-assessments.Good and effective use of the Test Tool can be facilitated by carefully thinking about how to...

To total or not to total – Blackboard Grade Center

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.

Blackboard adds new features

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.

Providing feedback in Blackboard two ways

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.”

Adapt your course for Blackboard Mobile Learn

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.

Build game badging options inside of Blackboard Learn

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.

Building accessibility into online Blackboard courses

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.

Blackboard provides student performance analysis tools

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.

Blackboard – time to reconsider

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.

Emerging ideas

Open resources for accessibility

Accessibility is a topic appearing in mainstream conversation with increasing frequency. When it comes to making course materials inclusive and accessible, there are a variety of open tools available.

Cancel your final

Give everyone a break from the stress of traditional finals and infuse a new sense of purpose in your final assessment with these suggestions for alternative final assessments.

GER outcomes in your syllabus

General Education Requirements (GER) for baccalaureate degrees describe required courses that students must complete in order to achieve a bachelor's degree. Here at UAF, GERs provide a common set of learning experiences for students and have outcomes that encapsulate...

Try inclusive class agendas

An agenda creates transparency and welcomes inclusion in the classroom. If these are qualities you strive for in your teaching, consider these principles for creating open, inclusive class agendas.

Get students in the lab early

The early immersion approach gets students involved in the research process as early as possible. Students are able to conceptualize, design, conduct and disseminate research faster when included from the beginning.

What does innovation in the classroom actually mean?

We tend to think of innovation as the creation of something brand new that completely revolutionizes the way we do or think of something but it can also be thought of as putting ideas into practice. When we think of innovation in these terms, it is easy to see how stepping back, re-thinking and trying something new can lead to discovery.

Animate your course banner

The GIF format is ideal for creating animated images and they are commonly used to propagate memes, grab attention, succinctly explain a step-by-step process and otherwise communicate visual information quickly. We see them in news articles, our social media feeds and even in instruction. Is a GIF an element you would consider incorporating into the banner image of your online course?

Pedagogy

STEAMy ideas for your course

A recent trend in higher education involves integrating arts, humanities, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) curriculum now known as STEAM. Large research studies (1) show that integration can broaden the student experience within highly...

Let’s talk about digital literacy

More than ever, faculty are being tasked with fostering digital literacy in order for students to be successful in class and ready for the workforce. Digital literacy as an important component of higher education is something that has become critical in higher...

Facilitate active learning online

We learn better when we are involved in constructing our own knowledge. Some of us know this from experience -- it’s why we do research, why we collaborate, why we ask our kids questions when we read to them. But this is also a finding backed by decades of research on...

Invite students to publish

Are you interested in encouraging your students to create work to share with others? Adding your voice to the domain knowledge--which shapes our education--is a strong motivator. As teachers, writers, designers, and artists we long to create and share.  What is Open...

Examining hybrid designed course structures

This is the second in a two-part series of Teaching Tips based on Hybrid Pedagogy. While the first teaching tip provided some background and definitions, this tip focuses more on specific changes instructors can make to their classes to cultivate...

Explore hybrid course design

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.

Practice object-based teaching

Though I’ve long practiced the technique of Object-Based Teaching (OBT) in face-to-face and online classrooms alike, I’d never really looked into the scholarship behind it until recently. I’d also not really considered the pedagogical principles behind it, nor whether my pedagogy needed any scrutiny and modification. It turns out that there were some aspects of my practice I needed to modify.

Ideas for customizing the lab experience

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?

Journaling for reflection and critical thinking

Reflective writing can help us carry ourselves through processes of change. Learning is a process of change and research shows that journal writing can support students across disciplines in connecting with and making meaning of their learning.

Bring robust labs to online classes

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.

Get students to give feedback beyond “good job”

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.

Tools & How to

Autocaptions are new in Kaltura

Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Ethical ramifications. IRB application. Supercontinent Pangaea.Sit in a few classes at UAF and these are terms you may hear. These are also terms that have been accurately transcribed by the new autocaptioning feature in Kaltura,...

Use Zoom videoconferencing in your courses

Many UAF instructors rely on Google Hangouts or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to facilitate synchronous sessions in their courses. There’s a new tool on the block: Zoom Meetings. Let’s run through what can be accomplished by meeting in Zoom, the new videoconferencing...

How to update due dates in Blackboard

You may have noticed the familiar Set Grade Center Due Dates tool has not been available recently. This handy tool has become incompatible with the current version of Blackboard. While we hope that it can return in the future, there is another way to edit...

Should you use Google Classroom?

The answer isn’t the same for all classes or for all faculty. Google Classroom lacks built-in integration with the Blackboard Grade Center but does integrate easily with other Google apps.

Grade efficiently with Gradescope

Gradescope is a grading tool that can save instructors time. UAF instructors are already using it in their courses, including Professor of Mathematics Gordon Williams. Learn how to take advantage of this resource and how he is using it to streamline the grading process in his courses.

Make your videos interactive with PlayPosit

Adding interactivity has the potential to allow students to better understand your video content. PlayPosit is a tool that allows instructors and students to add quizzes, polls, discussions and extra information to an existing video.

Accurate video captions in minutes

UAF eCampus, in collaboration with OIT, is excited to announce the launch of a new auto-captioning service in Kaltura. It is faster and more accurate than Kaltura’s previous service and makes it easy to edit your captions once they’ve been created. Captions and searchable transcripts have big benefits for all your students, so if you use video content in your course, now is a great time to learn how it works.

Rebuilding your course

As faculty, at some point you’ll have to rebuild and refresh your existing course or rebuild and rebrand one you inherit. If you’ve found yourself in this situation for the upcoming semester, read on. I’m right there with you and these are the steps I’ve taken: