Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Slideshare for Learning

The simpler the access, the more likely people are going to listen or watch. This is Slideshare, which you can now link to an mp3 file to add sound. For music, Slideshare can spread the sound evenly over all the slides. This is extremely easy to do. And free.

SlideShare.net is website where people can upload their Powerpoint presentations (also works with Open Office and PDF files) to share with the world. This is sort of Youtube for slide presentations. There are gems of information that can be useful for teaching purposes. For those interested in emerging elearning, for example, there are a bunch of presentations about Second Life, several of which focus exclusively on it use in education.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Changing Your Course View

After teaching a few courses online, your list of courses to choose from can become pretty lengthy. Would you like to give yourself a few less options to choose from? While the Courses Quick View can't be modified, there is a way to change your course view. Here's how:

1. From the Welcome screen in Blackboard, click on the "Modify Content" button in the upper right hand corner.

2. Check the box next to "My Courses" and click the "Submit" button at the end of the page. Blackboard will notify you that your page has been successfully modified. Click "OK".

3. Now there should be a module for "My Courses" appearing on your welcome page. However, you will probably need to move it to a more visible position on the page. You can do this by modifying your layout - click on the "Modify Layout" button in the upper right hand corner of the screen (right next to the "Modify Content" button used earlier).

4. This screen let's you customize your Welcome page by deciding which modules will go where. Move things up, down, or from column 1 to column 2 by selecting the module you want to move, and using the little arrow buttons. Or, you can delete things from view (don't worry - they don't permanently delete!) by using the "X" button. Once you have everything arranged, save your choices by clicking the "Submit" button at the bottom of the page, and then clicking "OK".

5. You can now modify the courses shown in the "My Courses" module. Click on the little pencil in the circle at the upper right of the module:

6. The Modify Courses List opens. Uncheck any courses that you do not wish to be displayed. You can also modify whether the Course ID, Announcements, Tasks, and Calendar for each course are displayed. When you are finished making your selections, click the "Submit" button at the bottom of the page, and then click "OK".

You should now have a shortened course list that only displays the information you need.

For the Love of PowerPoint

We all use it. We all view it. We have seen the bad and the good, and while we definitely remember both - we only remember the actual information presented from the good presentations! Here are links to a couple of clips to help you separate the good habits from the bad when it comes to PowerPoint:

In How Not to Use PowerPoint David Airey gives a pretty funny presentation utilizing all the worst habits.

Meanwhile, Death by PowerPoint gives a presentation with some tips for good habits.

Enjoy and PowerPoint sanely! ;-)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

More Adjunct Workshops - Teaching and Learning with Blackboard

Due to popular demand, The Office of Lifelong Learning is adding additional workshops, “Teaching and Learning with Blackboard” for all new adjuncts who will use online tools to teach during the 2007-2008 academic year.

The workshop dates are:
  • Saturday, August 25 in Denton (RSVP deadline, August 17)
  • Saturday, September 8 in Houston (RSVP deadline, August 23)

Participants will receive information on pedagogical reasons to use certain tools in Blackboard in order to manage and teach an online class.

These additional offerings are for adjuncts only and must have a minimum enrollment of 10. All new adjuncts are encouraged to register soon! The schedule will be as follows:

9 a.m. - noon - Trainings and presentations
Noon – 1 p.m. – Lunch (provided)
1 - 4 p.m. - Hands-on assistance with course designers

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Julie Brown at 8-1-3409 or
jbrown3@twu.edu with the following information:
Your Name
Telephone number
Email address

A confirmation email will be sent three to four days before the event to all who have registered.

Bruner and Toward a Theory of Instruction

"A theory of instruction should specify the experiences which most effectively implant in the individual a predisposition toward learning" (p. 40).

"A theory of instruction must specify the ways in which a body of knowledge should be structured so that it can be most readily grasped by the learner" (p. 41).

"A theory of instruction should specify the most effective sequences in which to present materials to be learned" (p. 41).

"A theory of instruction should specify the nature and pacing of rewards and punishments in the process of learning and teaching" (p. 41).

Brunner, J. (1966). Toward a theory of instruction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The E-Class Model

E = Explain
C = Clarify
L = Look
A = Act
S = Share
S = Self Evaluate/ Submit

E = explains why the student is doing the assignment and clearly defines what the student should do to complete the assignment.

C = clarifies exactly what is being taught and identifies resources

L = review examples and samples of assignment

A = activity to process the information

S = share thoughts, rough drafts, etc. with classmates

S = evaluate own work based on feedback from above & then submit for assessment

Adapted from Gerson, S. (2000, Winter). E-CLASS: Creating a guide to online course development for distance learning faculty. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administrators, III(IV). Retrieved from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter34/gerson34.html

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Any Interest in Forming a Study Group?

Is anyone interested in forming a study group to discuss online methodology?

Ask Three then Me

Some instructors use the “ask 3 then me” strategy. Students are required to ask three classmates for an answer before emailing the instructor. Students are required to document who they asked and record the response.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Questions about FAQs

We all receive questions but it is how we handle the questions that make the difference. If you get into the habit of responding to every email question, you may get overwhelmed. We suggest that you create a section of the discussion board where questions are asked and answered by students. You can also create an FAQ section where you answer questions one time only. You establish the expectation that students will check this section before asking any question about the course or content.

Icons are Iconic

Create a series of icons that have specific meaning for your course. Use these to cue students to expect certain types of information. Create a legend for the icons with some explanation early in the course.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Visuals are Visible

One thing that seems to help online learners is to see visuals demonstrating relationships or connections between concepts (remember the visuals that all of us experienced in grad school explaining theory). These images break up text-heavy courses and provide a framework for understanding information. If you are experienced, you can probably create these with contemporary word processing software. If you need some assistance, TWU has an instructional design team that can create these for you. You will need to explain the concepts and spend some time communicating with the designers but we think you will like the results.

Just Because It Is Online Doesn’t Mean It Is Self-Paced

Clear and firm deadlines throughout a course can keep the class moving at more or less the same pace. If your course is interactive and uses the discussion board, maintaining a course schedule will help students interact with one another and you via the board.

You should also make some decisions about whether students are allowed to work ahead of the posted schedule. You control when course modules are released so you have some options.