Search

eLearning Frenzy

eLearning is like a sewer, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.

Tag

teaching and learning

Importance of the Virtual Office

virtual_office_infographic

In face-to-face courses, students have the luxury of benefiting from questions asked while in the classroom or the ability to stop by your office to discuss an issue they might be having.  In both cases they get the chance to interact with you and possibly some of their fellow classmates.

Sometimes, students find it challenging to find that same connection in an online, hybrid or web-enhanced environment.  The good news is that with Blackboard and other learning management systems, you can create a virtual space where your students can experience the same kind of connection and feedback they receive in their brick-and-mortar classrooms.

Using a virtual office in your online/hybrid/web-enhanced courses provides many benefits. For the purpose of this blog post, we will focus on three.  Using a virtual office:

  • puts the instructor in the course
  • cleans up email inboxes
  • promotes the use of Blackboard (the LMS or Learning Management System)

The virtual office puts the instructor in the course

Placing a photo of yourself, your contact information and a little biographical info can go a long way toward helping your student see you as a person and not some synthetic-robot version of yourself.   If you want to go the extra mile, replace the photo with a quick Intro or Welcome video that can bring out your personality and help the students get to know you.

By subscribing to your own virtual office discussion forum you will receive prompts when questions are posted.  These prompts will help you engage with your students in a timely fashion and make the students feel like you are in the course.

The virtual office cleans up e-mail inboxes

Let’s face it, we all “misplace” e-mail.  For some of us, our inbox receives a hundred new messages or more each day.  Why not make life easier on you and your students by reserving course-oriented email for things of a personal or private nature.  Have your students post general course questions to the virtual office discussion forumWhen you answer questions via e-mail the only people that see that correspondence are you and the student. If a question is answered in a public space like the virtual office, everyone benefits.

You may have to use the first week of the course as a “training week” where you ensure you point your students to the virtual office for answers to course questions.  Make it a requirement in your syllabus, an expectation on your course expectations page and a question on your Syllabus quiz to ensure students know where to go.

BONUS:  The virtual office builds a course FAQ over the course of a semester that you can then use as part of your next semester’s course.

The virtual office promotes the use of Blackboard (the LMS)

The more time a student is spending in your course, the more connected they are to what is happening.  When your students establish the habit of checking the course regularly, they will be more engaged and more successful.

Encouraging your students to check the virtual office daily will get them in your course and connect them to the information and activities they need to conquer course objectives.

Advertisements

NBC Learn on Blackboard – Adding a Media Rich Resource to Your Courses

NBC Learn on Blackboard


One of the best things about the connectedness of the web space is the ability to find media rich content to supplement or enhance course activities and materials.  The beauty of this particular medium is that it is not just left to the instructor to utilize this media.  Students can now liven up online discussions, assignments, projects and more with historical, current or relevant video or audio media.   YouTube has long been a mainstay in this arena, in that it’s API allows for easy integration and everyone is familiar with what it does.  However, there are other vast collections of resources out there that are relatively untapped by the student/faculty population.  One of these curated resources is NBC Learn.

NBC Learn is a rich and unique resource that provides thousands of historic news reports, current event stories, original content, primary source documents, and other digital media specifically designed to teach and engage students.  NBC Learn content can easily be downloaded for offline use or connected to your institution’s Learning Management System, which in my case is Blackboard.

The content is also fully accessible it allows for keyboard navigation, assistive technologies(works with screen readers), support for deaf and hard of hearing.  http://www.nbclearn.com/accessibility

NBC Learn Portal

You can Browse NBC Learn, and see the Collection of all NBC resources within the NBC Learn environment.  You can browse by category that best matches your field of study or just Search NBC Learn via keyword.

Each video has its own CueCard with metadata like source, date, description, keywords, & citation (allows students or faculty to include citation in posting), as well as transcript tab for full transcript.

NBC Learn Cue Card

  • Each video can be saved to your personal playlist within NBC Learn.   You can also print a 2 dimensional version of the CueCard.
  • Download:  You can choose a quality version and save it locally to your computer. (You will need administrative access to your computer as the download will be an executable NBC Learn player)
  • Videos can be sorted for easier searching. (Title, Date, Story Date, Alphabetic, Recently Updated)
  • Don’t see your category? NBC Learn allows users to “contact us” and add comments/suggestions in terms of new categories for the NBC learn site.

NBC Learn on Blackboard


NBC Learn & Blackboard – Working Together

There are a couple of ways to add NBC Learn content to your courses:

  1. Employing the Mashups button anywhere you use the Blackboard text/content editor (items, folders, discussions, etc…)
    Adding NBC Learn to Blackboard

    This particular option allows both you and your students to build context around the video.  Whether you are introducing a unit or your students are adding to a vibrant online discussion, using the Mashups button in the content editor can add rich media throughout your Blackboard course.

  2. Accessing the Mashups area under Build Content and selecting NBC Content (places content directly in content area as it’s own item).NBC Learn Mashup Item

    The beauty of this option is that the media itself becomes a piece of course content.

*Depending upon your institution’s setup, you may be able to leverage a NBC Learn content module that will allow you to display categories of videos like: NBC Learn Science, History, News, Social Studies etc…

NBC Learn and Blackboard have integrated and that is a win for Blackboard instructors and students.  Now course content and contributions can become more rich, relevant and engaging!

BbWorld15: Blackboard Learn Top 10 for Faculty – Things You Can Use Today and What’s Coming Down the Road – Session Blog

Speakers
Wade WeichelSenior Product Manager
Blackboard INC.


11. Tool Integrations LTI – (Learning Tool Inneroperability) at course level

10. Date Management – the ability to manage due/availability dates across your Bb course on from one page.

9. Student Preview – ability to view your course as student, all the way down to My Grades

8. Bb Grader – iPad app that allows an instructor or evaluator to review submitted assignments.

7. Retention Center – allows faculty to track student risk indicators without difficult setup/configuration.

6. Grade Center – Grade History – track grade center interactions over time

5. Test Power Features (significant digits, test exceptions, Access Log [lets you see in timestamped way that student’s interaction with a test], IP Address Filters (assures integrity in high-stakes testing environment]

4. Authentic Assessment (Large projects, capstone portfolio – complex set of work, direct assessment, generally not an exam.  (extensive feedback)  [Assignment Tool, Portfolio assignments, Wikis, use of Rubrics, SafeAssign, non-electronic observations…]

3. Delegated & Anonymous Grading – good for high-stakes testing for anonymity for delegated graders as well as students, large course section grading of assignments can be distributed.

2. Goal Alignments to Question Items and Individual Rubric Criteria

1. Goals Manager – Mapping Tool – ability to update content alignments

What is Bb Working on?

  • New Student Dashboards (Competency Based Education)
  • Workflow Improvements & Usability (thread navigation in discussion board grading)
  • Simpler posting of grades to the SIS
  • BbGrader grows to BbIsntructor fully fleshed out.
  • Bb Ultra improvements including calculated column formula builder

BbWorld15: Blackboard Collaborate Road Map – Session Blog

Speakers:

David Hastie Sr. Dir. Product Management
Carl Marrelli Sr. Product Manager


**Some these are forward thinking statement and may or may not end up being in the final product.

Collaborate Ultra has been out for a couple of months and the initial feedback has been super positive!

3 objectives in Collaborate redesign:

  • Simple – easy entry into sessions, browser based, sleek intuitive interface
  • Modern – Cutting edge media technology, accessible, Mobile
  • Focused – Designed for education, varied instructional strategies/methods, Deeply integrated with the LMS

Highest level of quality and innovation – enhancements andmaintenance more quickly released with zero downtime

Key Benefits

  • HD Video & Audio Puts you right in the Center
  • A world class user experience to encourage use
  • Supporting Asynchronous learning models, native mp4 recording and playback
  • Web-Based – get started immediately no need for java or downloading launchers.

Available no in all regions and in 26 languages.  Application is responsive adjusts based upon the format of device that you are viewing it on! Also adaptive based on type of content.

Current use Cases:

  • office hours
  • group collaboration
  • teaching & learning

Learn 9.1 – If you use you can use new Collaborate Ultra with B2. New Collaborate B2 Supports session in old and new collaborate experience. Allows for piloting while still using old system.

Chat panels pop out when in use!

Sharing file interface is simple and easy to add and annotate! Several annotation tools with several colors.  Either on top of images or files like powerpoint, pdf, jpg.  Sharing Browser instances as well.  Things you share are easily identifiable.

Records whatever is being actively shared + Audio. Conference members can live-caption or translate a session!

Mobile: Collaborate is directly integrated into Bb Student. Is currently in Beta. Should be available soon.

Collaborate functionality allows for students to be presenters. Moderator can make student presenters as well! Application sharing is so much better.  Moderators can easily stop student sharing.

Future Capabilities:

If you need the alternative to be better than the status quo from the start, you’ll never begin!

  • Mobile experience
  • Polling
  • Feedback Mechanism
  • Breakout Rooms
  • Phone Conferencing – telephony integration
  • Moodlerooms Integration

Have Students Invest in Academic Integrity in Your Online Course

Academic Integrity WorldeOne of the biggest challenges facing distance learning today is ensuring academic integrity. There are an overwhelming amount of blog posts, scholarly articles and stories in the Chronicle covering this topic. Let’s clear the air now and state that there is no absolute, sure-fire way to eliminate cheating in your online courses, just as there is no way to do it in your face-to-face courses. However, you can educate your students about academic integrity as part of their course activities, thereby ensuring that they understand what expectations you have of them in regards to academic integrity in your online course.

Here are some examples:

  • Have students submit an assignment, blog post or journal entry on how they would define academic integrity.
  • Have students use their own words when describing the course’s academic integrity policy.
  • Provide a discussion assignment where students can discuss the importance of academic integrity in online courses.
  • Have students “sign-off” on the course’s academic integrity policy stating that they understand what the policy means and how it pertains to them.
  • Utilize a course wiki and have students create the academic integrity policy (have specific requirements).

Having students invest in the academic integrity of your course will go along way towards having them make good choices when it comes to academic decisions in the online environment.

BbWorld 2013 Session – Effective Interactive Tools and Web 2.0 Projects Promote Student Learning & Engagement

Session Title: BbWorld 2013 Session – Effective Interactive Tools and Web 2.0 Projects Promote Student Learning & Engagement

Shu-Hui (Susan) Chang, Ph. D.
Director Distance Education
Computer Science Department
Iowa State University

(Seated and waiting for session to start)

Sound Teaching Pedagogies, Interactive Components and Effective Technologies are the hallmarks of an engaging online learning experience.

Distance Learning Evaluation Guide from American Council on Education

Before integrating interactive components in your course, focus on design.  (Systematic Design complete with Objectives, weekly modules, & technology that accommodates different learning styles)

Integrating Interactive Components

  • Build Online Community
  • Engage Learning
  • Facilitate Student instructor and student student interaction

Start from beginning.  Include media in Introductory Activities (Don’t be afraid to do audio/video).  Let the student start out as course content owners.

Use Case Study’s for group projects to build online learning community.  Students research their own project and comment on each other’s reports.

Use real-time Chat sessions – (Text chat is fine)  Guide the discussion by providing rules of the road so that the students know what to focus on.  Prompt with each question.  For example: What is Web 2.0?

Stream lecture-ets (5-15 minute) lectures that connect to Learning Activities.

Be Collaborative with Wikis, have students build the content and then provide feedback on each other’s section.  Include positive feedback and constructive Criticism in comments.  (provide netiquette guidelines for flaming etc)

Activities:

Use Shutterfly to Introduce yourself to the class.  Incorporates photos and text.
Use Prezi – Give students a research topic to present on (eg. Network Topology)

Tools:

Presentation Tools
Prezi, Brain Shark, Knovio, Projeqt.com, PhotoSnack,

Video Tools
TED, Animoto, Capzles (Capzles Classrooms), Jing, Podsnack(Custom Flash audio players), Tubesnack (create video playlists and sharew ith others)

Mobile

Audioboo(record sound to cellular device and attach picture to sound), Instagram, cel.ly (creates a social network using cell phones)

Community Tools

Bubbl.us(mind maps, brainstorming diagrams), Voki, Classtools (create interactive games, quizzes etcc), Wikis, Facebook, Blogger,

Other Tools
Blabbberize, Glogster, Quizlet, Toon Doo (create cartoons games), Fodey (fake newspaper), Pixlr (photo editor), Pintrest

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑