In the classroom we often discuss readings and other sources of information. Because students are often accustomed to digital communications in which sources are rarely cited, they can benefit from guidance concerning your expectations regarding citation. The instructor for TCE 512, Psychology of the Adolescent, worked with Ecampus to create an infographic through which she provides such guidance.

This infographic is licensed under a Creative Commons license, so you can feel free to download and post it in your own courses. Also, remember that we enjoy collaborating with Ecampus instructors to create innovative resources, so if you have any interesting ideas we would love to work with you!

Citations in Discussions Infographic

Analytics in an Ecampus course can be a valuable source of information about students. It can help the instructor quickly “see” student progress through an online course and communicate with students that may be at risk, or look for patterns of behavior that may help guide future course improvements.

Within Canvas there are several different areas in which to review statistics and data to measure the success and activity of students within your course.

1. Course Analytics

From the Home page of a course in Canvas, click on “View Course Analytics”. Course Analytics will display the overall Activity, Assignment status, and Grades within a course across all of the students.

Course Analytics in Canvas

Click on a student name to focus in more detail on one activity and progress within the course.

specific student

2. Last Login

Though an instructor can determine the Last Login date for a student from the Canvas Analytics page, the People tool also allows an instructor to quickly check last activity of students within the course.

Last Activity

3. Detailed Page Views and Participation

The Access Report can also be found under the People tool. It allows an instructor to view detailed student activity such as the number of times each page/tool in the course was accessed by a student and the most recent access date.

Student Access Report

Currently students do not have access to view their own Analytics but hopefully in the future, they also can see how they are participating in the course to ensure they progress steadily towards success!

Resources

Want to find out more about Canvas Analytics? Review the Help guides at Canvas:

With the migration to Canvas comes many new features and methods for facilitating your course.stock-photo-female-tourist-holding-a-map-890139 The Canvas Guides provide a lot of information, but you may be wondering, where do I even start? Here at Ecampus, we’ve put together a few guides to help you become familiar with some of the tools in Canvas.

First, if you’re wondering, “I did this in Blackboard, but I can’t find it in Canvas; how do I…?”, we’ve created a few design options for that. These design options explore how to adapt features that you’ve used in Blackboard to the new Canvas environment.

 

We’ve also created some more in depth quick references that help explain how to use some of the most popular Canvas features.

 

The Quick Reference guides and other helpful Canvas-specific information can be found on our Canvas Faculty Resources page. We also have a list of resources for teaching an online course on our Teaching Resources page where you can find our favorite presentation, web-conferencing, and other tools.

 

Are there other features you’ve discovered or some you’d like to know more about? Leave your feedback in the comments!

Where can I find Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Here is a list of Websites that offer (OERs) – open source (copyright free) materials, such as images, audio, and textbooks.

Search Creative Commons
This site allows you to search for resources using Europeana, Flickr, Fotopedia, Google, Google Images, Jamendo, Open Clip Art Library, SpinXpress, Wikimedia Commons, YouTube, Pixabay, ccMixter, and SoundCloud. Along with providing a selection of search services, Search Creative Commons allows you to filter your search for materials that you can use either for commercial purposes or for materials that can be modified and adapted in order to meet different needs.

OER Commons
This site offers support services and open educational resources (OERs) in a multitude of subject areas, grade levels, and material types (all of which are categorized and offered in a searchable database).

The Orange Grove
This site is Florida’s digital repository, which allows free and open access to its collection of instructional materials (including textbooks) to the public.

boardwalk2“Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design” –Ron Mace, NCSU Center for Universal Design

A fundamental of online instructional design is that learning materials should be accessible to all students. Ecampus works closely with faculty to ensure accessibility of course content for everyone. For example, since some students cannot hear an audio track on a lecture video, it’s essential that a transcript of the narration or closed captioning is provided.

Martha Smith and Gabe Merrell are OSU campus leaders in universal design and accessibility, and frequently discuss universal design for instruction with OSU faculty and staff. Martha is Director of Disability Access Services, and Gabe is Senior Accessibility Associate and Deputy ADA Coordinator in the Office of Equity and Inclusion. They note that the principles of universal design offer guidance for the design of every element of an instructor’s “toolkit,” from syllabi to presentation of content, course activities and assessments.  They point out that universal design benefits all learners. For instance, some students who can hear the audio track on a lecture video find that they learn more if they take a few extra minutes to read the companion transcript.

Gabe and Martha emphasize the importance of considering universal design up front in the development of teaching materials, instructional methods and means of assessing student learning. This is the approach the Ecampus Course Development and Training team takes with online and hybrid course development. As Ecampus serves an increasingly diverse student population, universal design enhances learning in the online classroom.

Ecampus instructional designer Melanie Kroening has created a great guide called 5 Accessibility Tips for “DIY” Course Designers that provides practical techniques for instructors to enhance the accessibility of course content.

To find out more about universal design, speak to any Ecampus instructional designer, contact Martha Smith or Gabe Merrell or visit the Center for Universal Design in Education.

How can we encourage online students to engage with the world? A few Ecampus instructors have found a great way to get their students to go out in their communities, observe, and report back information to the class. How? Field notes. 

What is a field note?  Field notes can contain a variety of information but typically field notes are written out in the field or immediately after stopping the experience.  They contain detailed observations including the dates, times, sights, sounds, smells, weather conditions, who was with you, feelings, drawings, questions that have risen from the experience as well as any other observations.

How did they do it? Lets dive into two different class examples.

Bruce Shindler, a forestry professor here at Oregon State University teaches a course about Managing at the Wildlife-Urban Interface.  Students watch videos from the field and take notes on what they see/hear and begin to answer questions about what they would do, what they think should be done, and what is currently done to manage the Wildlife-Urban Interface.  These experiences are done online, but the field notes from the videos are a great way to have students pay a great deal of attention to the video rather than only listening.

Stephanie Jenkins, a philosophy professor here at Oregon State University teaches a course that requires students to experience a Phish concert either in person or via a live webcast.  Students are required to take field notes for the concerts either while watching online or immediately after a live, in person concert.  Data can include any of the above mentioned items and students are then asked to identify a theme, idea, event, or improvisation that they saw in the concert and found interesting and use that in a written response.  In that response, they are to incorporate the readings from the class and the field notes from their experience.

As you can see, these are two different classes in two different fields that both used the concept of field notes in their courses.  You too can choose the idea of field notes and bring it into your course.  A little bit of innovation and the willingness to try something new is all it takes.

Enjoy and have fun!

When developing course material for online learning environments—especially narrated presentations—it is important to consider not only the content, but also the design of the material. If material is designed in a way that minimizes visual and cognitive distractions it will be easier for your students to engage with the content.

A particularly effective paradigm in understanding the relationship between content and design can be found in cognitive load theory articulated by John Sweller (1988, 1999). When students are processing learning materials, their total cognitive load is made up of intrinsic cognitive load and extraneous cognitive load. The intrinsic cognitive load is the amount of mental energy required to process the content of the learning at hand. The extraneous cognitive load is the amount of additional mental energy required by the form (design) of the material. Our goal in designing materials should be to minimize the extraneous cognitive load.

Heavy Extraneous Cognitive Load Learning Materials: Picture2

  Minimal Extraneous Cognitive Load Learning Materials:Picture3

Here are a few easy-to-follow principles for designing narrated online presentations (as well as other learning materials) which minimize extraneous cognitive load…

Font

Select fonts that are easy to read. Sometimes we have the tendency to use ornamental or “fun” fonts because we think they will increase engagement. Unfortunately, these fonts increase extraneous cognitive load greatly. The simplest example would be the use of an inappropriate font. Compare the following identical bits of text from Michelle Cook’s article:

Picture1

Use no more than two fonts in one piece of learning material, and if you do use two fonts, make sure those fonts are quite different, such as a sans serif and a serif font.

Color

Fonts and graphics should both make use of contrast in color. For example, you wouldn’t want to have yellow text on a white background. In addition to causing an increase in extraneous cognitive load, this also causes accessibility issues, especially for your colorblind students.

Avoid the use of more than two colors of text. Sometimes we get the urge to make our slides “pretty” by decorating them with lots of colors. Although this may be a wonderful idea for a work of art, it is counterproductive for narrated slides.

Text

When creating materials such as PowerPoint slides with audio narration, remember that all authority comes from what you are saying. Also, remember the Cook quote above: use the slides to present the visual information while your voice presents the textual (verbal) information. In other words, the slides should have the absolute minimum in terms of text.

Here’s an example of information students learn in MB 480—General Parasitology, created by Sascha Hallett. Note that the text which appears in the first slide becomes narrated content in the second slide:

 Non-Narrated Version

 Narrated Version

Parasitic Control of Host Behavior2 Parasitic Control of Host Behavior

Bullets

Bulleted material is good for documents, but not for narrated presentations. Avoid bullets like the plague. Let’s say you have a slide with five bullet points. What could you do? One possibility would be to create five slides—one for each point. One benefit to this method is that often the text can be eliminated completely and replaced with a visualization (graphic) of the idea you are discussing. Another method would be to use the “SmartArt” function in PowerPoint.

Pictures and Graphics

A picture is worth a thousand words. Therefore, selection of the appropriate picture or graphic is essential. If we use a picture that decorates a slide, the extraneous cognitive load will increase. If we use a picture that illustrates the message of the slide, the extraneous cognitive load will decrease. The ideal, however, is to use pictures that embody the message.

For more ideas on reducing extraneous cognitive load in your narrated presentations, I highly recommend Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds.

Please share your own tips for effective presentations in the “Leave a Reply” area below! Your insight would be greatly appreciated.

qm_banner

Ecampus launched the Quality Matters (QM) initiative in 2013. QM is a continuous improvement model for assuring the quality of online courses through a collegial faculty review process. QM focuses on the design of online and hybrid classes, as opposed to the delivery or content of the courses. The QM rubric and trainings are

  • Based upon national standards of best practice, research, and instructional design principles;
  • Designed to promote student learning;
  • Integral to continuous quality improvement; and
  • Part of a faculty-driven, collegial peer review process.

The QM rubric is comprised of research-based standards, all about course design (as distinct from course content and facilitation). The rubric consists of eight general categories, with 41 specific standards. To achieve QM certification, a course must meet all 17 of the 3-point essential standards and must meet a minimum threshold of 81/95 points overall.

To improve the learning experience for Ecampus students and to help OSU faculty who wish to pursue QM course certification, the Ecampus Course Development and Training unit has developed a QM-based course template used as the foundation for the design of new and newly updated online courses. This template meets about half of the QM standards, all before any specific course content is added, and is already being used in approximately 100 courses.

To explore the Ecampus QM-based course template, log in to Blackboard using the username dce_qm and the password ecampus. If you would like to use the QM template in your online course, please contact Shannon Riggs, Ecampus Director of Course Development and Training, at shannon.riggs@oregonstate.edu.

One of the trends of 2014 is the explosion of infographics. Although they have been around for centuries, the creation of infographics has been limited to specialists such as cartographers, graphic designers, and others who specialize in data visualization.

The popularity of data visualization experienced a surge in 2006 when Hans Rosling created the free Gapminder tool and presented The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen on the TED stage. He demonstrated the need for easily accessible tools regular people could use to transform complex information into easy-to-comprehend visual format.

The word infographic has undergone a shift in popular usage over the last three years. In the past, it meant anything that conveyed data or complex information in visual format, including charts and graphs. It now refers to digital posters in which graphics are used to present any type of information. This shift is due in large part to the proliferation of many online tools which make the creation of infographics incredibly easy.

Leading the pack among the vast number of online infographics creation tools are Infogr.am, Pictochart, and InfoActive.

The ease of use makes infographic tools ideal for student use. Instructors can create assignments in which students are asked to create infographics which they then share with their classmates. These can be highly engaging when used as discussion starters.

Here is an example of an infographic we created for the course GRAD 550–Introduction to Online Course Development and Facilitation.

Three_Types_of_Student_Interaction