Looking to bring a strong interactive visual element to an online class you are developing? Consider adding an interactive timeline like the one recently created for Paul Wanke’s HST 487 class using Articulate Engage.
These kinds of learning objects help to engage students with the course and can even help a topic come alive.
Looking for a different type of learning activity for your course? Did you know that in this version of Blackboard you can create a ‘wiki’ for your class? A wiki is a collaborative space that allows anyone to add or edit content. It is a place in which knowledge can be pooled and improved on by the class. As people contribute to the wiki, a unique resource is created by and for the group. And – by having students build their ‘wiki’ within Blackboard, you have the ability to track each student’s contribution and grade them from within the tool itself.
Here are some ideas for using a wiki in your course:
Create a glossary of technical terms
Create a newsletter for reporting on a breaking event
Create a community of practice virtual space
Create a student-constructed FAQ list
Post research project results for group analysis
Create an online guide, reference lists or outlines
Research items of local interest that can be updated and shared.
View this short video to learn exactly how to set up a wiki in your course.
Click the image above to view Cynthia Chapman’s lecture done in Adobe Presenter. Adobe Presenter is a PowerPoint plugin that allows you to narrate your presentation and upload it to the web in a fashion that is extremely accessible for students and is easy for them to navigate and review.
Each slide has a play button and slider with the total time for that particular slide
Presentation length is displayed on the bottom right
Each slide is listed by name in the sidebar for easy navigation and review
There is a “Notes” tab which displays notes for anyone who can’t hear the audio
There is a “Thumbs” tab for those who would rather navigate by picture
There is a “Search” tab that allows students to search all notes and slide text
Students love these narrated PowerPoints and these presentations are easier to make than you might think.
Here is a series of illustrations done for Neil Bell’s class on Plant Problem Diagnosis. These simple images will be shown along side real photos of diseased or otherwise inflicted plants to help students determine possible causes for the displayed symptoms. Illustrations are important for learning in this situation because the photos alone are so busy that they can be confusing.
Whether you’re a regular visitor to this blog or you just stumbled on it for the first time, you may be curious about where to learn more about the world of online education, particularly from an instructor’s perspective. You could start with a Google search for “online education,” but sorting through the 14 million results would be very time consuming!
To substantially speed things up–so you’ll have time to watch the leaves turn–here are four great sites where you can access a wealth of information, tools and resources about teaching online and the growing field of hybrid (“blended”) learning. Check them out!
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative – “a community of higher education institutions and organizations committed to advancing learning through information technology (IT) innovation”
Merlot – “a free and open online community of resources designed primarily for faculty, staff and students of higher education from around the world to share their learning materials and pedagogy”
National Center for Academic Transformation – “an independent non-profit organization dedicated to the effective use of information technology to improve student learning outcomes and reduce the cost of higher education”
The Sloan Consortium – “a consortium of individuals, institutions and organizations committed to quality online education”
The use of audio recording tools in online classrooms is a great way to incorporate student voice in an otherwise silent environment. Providing students with various methods to give, receive and store information using multiple learning modalities greatly enhances learning.
Instructors can use simple audio recording tools to both deliver course content and assess learning. The recorded voice messages can serve as mini-lectures, clarifications to muddy topics, quick reminders and more. Your students can respond to your voice messages verbally by posting a comment to your recording.
Some ideas for student-generated content include general introductions, interviews, or even a Q&A session with student experts. Audio recording tools are great resources for the foreign language classroom and can be used to assess your students’ speaking skills in the target language.
Here I’ve included a 30 second example of a ‘boo’ (what Audioboo calls their recorded messages) with more information.
Looking for a way to elicit more original replies in your online class discussions, or perhaps an engaging assignment that will challenge your students to comprehend and then explain the concepts you’re trying to teach? You might want to give FlickrPoet a try. Don’t let the name fool you; this tool can be used in a wide range of classes, from liberal arts to the sciences.
So perhaps you are interested in showing a video in class for an assignment, much like what you may have done in the past for your oncampus course. Keep in mind copyrights differ between oncampus and online environments. The process of getting the video up to your online course is to either bring us a copy of the video, either DVD or VHS, or the call number if the video is available at The Valley Library. Keep in mind that blockbuster type movies are generally rejected from the studios or a heavy streaming fee will be taxed to the student, so please find an alternative.
After the video is brought to us, we will attempt to obtain copyright permission from the publisher. The video will be made available to the students and will be taken down if permission is denied. The video will then be hosted on a secure video server where viewers will need to login with their ONID account before viewing. The video is played back to students via a progressive download stream through adobe flash. For students on ipads or iphones they are also able to view the videos as it will switch over to an HTML5 player.
Creating an introduction video for your class is a great way to establish a connection between yourself and your students by seeing who you are. Keep introduction videos brief of no more than 10 minutes, 3-5 minutes is ideal. Information you will want to cover is a brief introduction of yourself, perhaps your background and your interested. Then proceed to cover an overview of the class and anything important the students will need to know. Avoid including date or term specific information, so that you are able to reuse the video per term. Otherwise you will need to create a new one every term.
You can also introduce weekly concepts or a project through a short video. The process is similar to an introduction video.
One way to supplement your powerpoint slide/lectures is to add an audio track/narration. It is ideal when creating an online class that if you do take your powerpoints from a face-to-face class to modify and change the content to fit an online environment. There could be content that could be supplemented through online discussion, or perhaps through student research through other websites, etc. You can also add an audio narration track to your slides, we use a program called Adobe Presenter to accomplish this task. Adobe offers a 30 day trial if you wish to explore this on your own computer, we can also lend out USB Headsets as well. Below is a quick tutorial on how the program is used.
Here is a simple tool we created from scratch, which points out the mean, median, and mode values from a randomly generated set of data:
The instructor noted that students are required to have taken a basic statistics course before starting his Sociology class, but they have often forgotten how to apply the concepts of mean, median and mode to a data set. He asked if we could create a tool that would show these values applied to a data set that the students might actually encounter during their sociology studies. Continue reading →