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Have you tried using Google Docs in your classroom yet? Students are able to share their document with you and the other students in their group. Group members can write within the document simultaneously. Writing can continue outside of the classroom and students can chat with each other via the chat pane as they write.
Ask your students to bring their laptops, or assign groups and then make sure at least a couple of students in each group bring his/her laptop to class.
This video shows how one instructor is using this in her classroom:
Mapping Success: Essential Elements of an Effective Online Learning Experience
"An online course is like walking into a foreign land with an entire map laid out, but having no sense of the land's origin or how to navigate the terrain. How the instructor formats and interacts with the class will ultimately determine the student's travel experience."
It is important to integrate the elements of an online course to form a cohesive whole that creates easy travel based on instructor presence, appropriate feedback, and easy navigation for students.
Instructor Presence - The Mapmaker
Instructor presence is vital to create in an online course, because without it, the class becomes an impersonal experience guided only by text and the other electronic medium.
Instructor presence can be created in a variety of ways:
- having a welcome announcement and faculty bio providing an initial presence
- having consistent formatting
- putting photos in the faculty bio and on the main introduction so that students could put a face to the instructor's name
- having the instructor provide his or her own icebreaker and having students relate theirs to it
- providing clear objectives for the course (and relating those to each lesson so that the expectations are clear)
- having the instructor take part in the discussions
Instructor Feedback - The Tour Guide
Instructor feedback is one of the most vital elements of an online course. Feedback helps the students recognize that there is an instructor that is monitoring their progress. Feedback adds an interactive component that brings warmth to the experience.
Feedback can be found in many areas.
- discussions - giving reinforcement as quickly as possible
- giving a quiz with a function that produces immediate correction.
- Email communication: let students know the time frame for answering emails
- online office hours
The feel of the course and the experience for the student will chiefly rest on the instructor's ability to provide a succinct, clear, accessible, course with guided direction--in other words, an accessible map made by a mapmaker who serves as the tour guide.
Danielle Hathcock, "Faculty Focus" September 5, 2012
"Twitter has come a long way since it first began back in 2006. From such humble roots as "found some fluff in my navel this morning" to "had cornflakes for breakfast, rather soggy", it is now the default source for news networks looking for a quick "public opinion" as well as the place where news actually breaks first before the established networks get a hold of it. Journalists and politicians now also consider it absolutely essential to have Twitter accounts so they can inform everyone of their opinions and what they're up to.
Twitter can be quite addictive but you have to do it the right way to get the most out of it."
How to Twitter Poster:
The Complete Guide to Twitter:
In this month's episode of Tech Therapy, The Chronicle's monthly technology podcast, Ronald A. Yaros, an assistant professor specializing in mobile journalism at the University of Maryland at College Park, describes an iPhone app he developed for his courses. He also talks about his vision for helping students prepare for a business world in which smartphones will very likely be the norm.
If you are thinking of adding streamed audio and/or video presentations to your blended or online course, here are some things to consider.
1. Post complete text versions of the audio portion of the streamed presentations. My limited study suggests that student learning is most enhanced when students can study both streamed presentations and transcripts of the audio. You should encourage students to study both the presentations and the transcripts and advise them to avoid studying only the presentations.
2. Keep your presentations relatively short. I suggest keeping them under 15 minutes. If this is not sufficient to cover all the content for a given topic, then the content should be chunked at appropriate spots into several presentations. Each presentation should come with a table of contents that students can click on to navigate within the presentation.
3. Plan out the slide or video portion of the presentation first. This will allow you to focus on the main ideas that you want to emphasize, and it will provide you with an outline for developing the narration. You should make use of images to illustrate and represent ideas and arguments. This will allow you to present content in several modes.
4. Write out a script of the narration. Doing this will help you to organize your thoughts. It will also result in fewer audio mistakes, since you can add the narration by simply reading the script. Writing out the narration beforehand will also provide you with a text version of the narration that you can post to the course website.
5. Choose presentation software that allows you to easily edit the separate video and audio portions of the presentation and that in a few simple steps converts the presentation into a format for streaming over the Web.
By: Jerry Kapus, PhD in Asynchronous Learning and Trends
The four things that every professor can do "THIS WEEK" to make each course more student-friendly include:
1. Ensure that all readings, articles, presentations and videos (all course material) are available in the course management system.
2. "Create a weekly reading assessment that asks students to formulate or discuss the most important things you wanted them to get out the this week's articles."
3. "Make your syllabus a living document and let students know about changes via class emails - it will put your class in the forefront of their minds."
4. "Use technology to help students engage with one another - create peer review groups for papers or discussion groups online."
Lucretia Witte's research on Technology and Teaching:
How do we transform current teaching-centered practice to learning-centered practice, using the technologies of today?
The 10 rules included in this "Campus Technologies" article suggest the depth of change that's occurring on campuses right now.
1) Re-examine and adopt the move from teaching to learning.
2) Re-visit the accountability measures on your campus (student learning outcomes).
3) Make a corollary change in assessment.
4) Insist on teaching only in technology-enabled classrooms.
5) Make sure your students have technology management tools of their own.
6) Insist on faculty having management tools for their own professional development.
7) Do not discard the lecture or class discussion approach when appropriate.
8) Make sure your students have a digital repository of some sort (portfolio, wiki, blog, etc.)
9) Require your students to interpret their collected online evidence at regular intervals.
10) Make the collection of evidence the primary work in the course.