One reason I was attracted to academia was the variability in schedule; Keeping busy by ever-changing topics, revolving classes throughout the year, and guiding students through novel information.

All of this results in an occupied mind (and I need A LOT of “channels” to occupy my mind).

What ceases to amaze me is the deluge of information and activity that accompanies each term. In the ancient past (last term) the busy builds to a crescendo and we long for the sweet release of the inter-term break… Just to be shot out of the cannon into the next.

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Hello everyone!  Let’s talk teaching –

As a young instructor, I started teaching on chalkboards and clear plastic acetates.

Since then, I have:

-Seen new computer graphics programs that can make your paper handouts more interesting

-Developed my own website to give students access to these handouts in digital form at any time

-Ditched my website when Learning Management Systems started

-Became overjoyed with the advent of Powerpoint

-Became disillusioned with Powerpoint

-Enjoyed making and posting videos for my students

-And now we have Zoom.  Phew!

As instructors we need to be nimble and adventurous, creative and adaptive, thick skinned when things don’t work out, but mindful enough to pat ourselves on the back when we see the gleam of inspiration and insight in our student’s eyes. Continue reading

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

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