I’ve had several faculty in the last couple of weeks comment to me that students are getting burned out on videoconferencing. I have also experienced a drop-off in students’ willingness to keep their cameras on throughout my class which makes me wonder if they’re: 1) even there or 2) just tired of having to appear engaged (or not bored) for hours upon hours a day. Let’s face it, having a camera in your face during a meeting is pretty exhausting. I like to take a break during some meetings too so I get that my students are probably feeling the same way.

There is another feature embedded in Canvas that may be worth exploring – the Chat room. In Canvas this feature is added by going to Settings > Navigation > drag Chat up to your list of active features at the top, click Save.

I don’t know of too many faculty who use this method to communicate with their students or as a method to allow students to communicate with each other, which is surprising given that chatting or instant messaging is our students’ preferred method of communication. Whether you’re teaching synchronously, asynchronously, remote or online, the Chat feature is one worth exploring for several reasons:

  1. Access – students can send a message when a thought or comment is top of mind.
  2. Engagement – any student in the class can respond which means that even the quiet students are likely to participate.
  3. Security – would-be hackers cannot bomb a Chat session.
  4. Privacy – students don’t have to have their cameras on to participate.
  5. Attendance – if you don’t use the attendance feature in Canvas, Chat may provide a means for collect this information.
  6. Office hours – a very user-friendly environment for quickly answering a student’s questions.
  7. Students like it – an informal survey of students published in The Teaching Professor showed that 2/3rds of students preferred Chat over Discussion Boards.

As you decide what you will carry over to next term, consider giving Chat a try and let me know what you think!

I was heartened to read a recent article published in The Teaching Professor written by OSU’s psychology professor, Regan Gurung, reflecting on what he has learned while teaching during a pandemic that has made him a better teacher.

He states, “Personally, my Emergency Remote Teaching has given way to Temporary Remote Teaching en route to Effective Blending Learning.” He reflects on his attempts to simply “keep the lights on” that resulted in Frankencourses (as Cub Kahn likes to call them), or courses that did neither synchronous nor asynchronous particularly well, and often lead to much more work for the students.

Now several weeks in, Dr. Gurung has found effective ways to build community using technology and no longer uses the term online “lectures” but rather online “classes” that take the face-to-face experience and translates it into shared experiences through screens. Continue reading

The title of this piece specifically does not mention teaching because this topic is of global relevance. Although I will bring this back around to the classroom, let’s reflect for a moment on how flexible our lives have become in the past two months. We’re conducting all of our business online or by phone, talking with representatives of large companies who are not in actual call centers but also at home, homeschooling our kids (I, for one, did not sign up for that), cooking ALL THE TIME, and figuring out how to do it all, together, with the people in our homes who sometimes we enjoy taking a break from.

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Thank you to Melinda Knapp, Senior Instructor in the MAT program for sharing her thoughts and expertise this week!

The purpose of this blog is to share my use of Google Slides and Jamboard to engage students with one another and with the content of the course. These tools are user friendly and all OSU faculty and students have free access.

My first reaction was shock when the COVID-19 crisis hit and we learned Spring term would be taught remotely. Almost overnight the technology community stepped in to offer free trials, webinars, and tutorials for the online tools they were offering—so many choices! There were help sessions for Zoom, Kaltura, and the like. Colleagues said, “pre-record your lectures, have online discussion boards, and voice-over your PowerPoint slides.” Some said we should teach asynchronously and others said teach synchronously. I was paralyzed by the number of choices. I struggled to conceptualize a way to recreate my face-to-face courses in this new online environment.

My orientation to teaching and learning centers on situated learning theory (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and embraces a sociocultural view of learning. I see knowledge as being defined and agreed upon by a society or community. Sociocultural theorists believe that learning happens as a result of social interactions and takes place within a specific cultural environment (Bates, 2019; Leonard, 2002; Nagel, 2012). Continue reading

We can learn a lot from seasoned online educators. Let’s face it, most of us are not “professionals” when it comes to creating and delivering an online course that would pass muster with Quality Matters — a rigorous certification process that Ecampus uses to distinguish the highest quality online courses from the rest.

Even if our feedback from students is satisfactory, how do we know if our remote classes are really the best they can be, or are there simple aspects to our course design that can be tweaked at Week 5 to make the last half of our classes even better?

An article published by our own Shannon Riggs, Executive Director of Academic Programs and Learning Innovation at OSU-Corvallis in the EDUCAUSE Review last week, encourages all faculty teaching remote to think about teaching from a student-centered perspective. She describes three forms of interaction for students: Continue reading