August 15

Technology for Teaching & Learning (T4TL) Showcase Today!

Faculty members, library staff, and our Academic Technologies Team staff will be presenting on specific educational technologies today from 1 pm until 3 pm in Voyageurs rooms in Atwood, as part of the Fall 2017 Convocation.

There will also be instructor workstations and help available.

Come and learn about Virtual Reality in the classroom, Syllabus Re-Design and Development, Open Educational Resources, Library D2L Widgets , D2L Awards Tool and Intelligent Agents, Adobe Connect and Media Space, among other topics.

We will continue to promote T4TL at other campus events in the future!

 

August 14

Intelligent Agents Tool in D2L Brightspace

A list of all tools under Course Admin i nD2L with Intelligent Agents circled

 

Intelligent Agents is a tool in D2L Brightspace that can increase instructor presence by sending pre-set, automated emails triggered by pre-set criteria.  I like to call it the Virtual Teaching Assistant as it helps with some administrative tasks, acting on your behalf.  You can see on the picture above where it is located under Course Admin. Below are the details about the tool, as well as how to set them up in D2L.

  • Automated Messaging System: Sends emails once pre-set criteria is evaluated for students.
  • Most common: log-in criteria or release conditions (e.g. no submission to a folder).
  • Notifies the course instructor about a potentially troubled student (providing additional background information, such as an unattempted quiz, a quiz grade or a task (in)completion).
  • Only the instructor sees this tool. When users are evaluated as true on the condition you have set, an email you have previously wrote is automatically sent. A personalized message with the ability to link to resources (remedial or reinforcing) leads to increased instructor presence and student satisfaction.

To set them up in D2L:

  1. Go to Course Admin, find the tool by name or in Communications category. Go to settings and Set custom values for this course (name that emails come from (your name) and put your preferred reply-to email). Save.
  2. Click on New.
  3. Name it, check it as enabled, set criteria (Course Activity log-in or Create and Attach a Release Condition (determine the Condition Type and Details from the dropdown menus)).
  4. Determine whether the Agent will act only once or set a schedule for running dates.
  5. Choose HTML as the Email Format. Copy-Paste the replace strings (To*: {InitiatingUser}; Email Subject: e.g. Reminder for {OrgUnitName}; start the email with, for example: Hello, {InitiatingUserFirstName}). Save and Close. Do a Practice Run, if you wish, to see identified users.

August 8

Short and Reusable Recordings

Our colleagues from the U of M presented at the Minnesota E-Learning Summit on using videos in your courses. The handout below summarizes their main points about creating engaging, relevant, sustainable videos. One interesting point they made is that students will rather watch several videos that make up 20 minutes total, than just one 20 minute long video. I guess the “binge watching” culture prevails. 🙂 The Reusable Relevant Recording Creating Engaging and Evergreen Course Content handout: granualr, modular, reusable, quality, aligned, engaging, short (video), sustainable

August 4

MN eLearning Summit Resources

Image credit: https://cceevents.umn.edu/minnesota-elearning-summit

 

After an excellent gathering at Normandale college, many presenters have shared their handouts or presentations (new tab).

One of my personal favorites was the presentation on accessibility or specifically how to accessify your digital instructional materials (opens in new tab) , by Sara Shoen and Ann Fandrey from the U of M. In addition to their presentation they also provide a handout with core skills to be addressed on the path to accessible documents, presentations, emails, website, and videos.

 

July 25

Bloom’s Taxonomy Periodic Table

Global Digital Citizen Foundation Team has created a neat resource for chemistry and Bloom taxonomy fans. 🙂 I find it appealing and easy to use.

Download the Bloom’s Taxonomy Periodic Table of Activities.

Use your new free Bloom’s Taxonomy Periodic Table for:

  • Understanding Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy
  • Developing skills at each taxonomy level
  • Exploring useful Bloom’s activities with your learners
  • Performing quick formative assessments
  • Effective lesson enhancements
  • Expanding your Bloom’s vocabulary
July 21

First Day of Class

book with a tablet on top on a desk in a classroom

Another great write up from Faculty Focus contributors, this time Maryellen Weimer reminds us how to create a climate for learning on the very first day of class.

Below is the summary of the activities that will help you set the tone for the rest of the course.

  1.  On the board write “The best class I’ve ever had” and underneath it “What the teacher did” and below that “What the students did.” On another section write “The worst class I’ve ever had”  and then the same two items beneath. I ask students to share their experiences, without naming the course, department or teacher, and I begin filling in the grid based on what they call out. – I move to the best class section of the board and tell students that this is the class I want to teach, but I can’t do it alone. –
  2. Students are invited to walk around the room and write responses, chatting with each other and the teacher as they answere these questions: “I learn best in classes where the teacher ___” “Students in courses help me learn when they ___” “I am most likely to participate in classes when ___” “Here’s something that makes it hard to learn in a course: ___”
  3. Students sit across from each other, each with a copy of the syllabus that they’ve briefly reviewed. The teacher asks two questions: one about something in the syllabus and one of a more personal nature. The pair has a short period of time to answer both questions. Teacher checks to make sure the syllabus question has been answered correctly. Then students in one of the rows move down one seat and teacher asks the new pair two different questions
  4. Put students in groups and have them respond to a question: “What are the five things faculty do that make learning hard?” Or, ask positively, “What are the five things faculty do that make it easy to learn?” Collect the lists and make a master list to share in class or online. Below the five things faculty do, you can also list the five things students do that make it hard or easy to teach.

All of these activities can be done in online courses as well. Specifically in D2L Brightspace by using a Discussion board and Groups tool, or including an obligatory Syllabus quiz. If you are not sure how to translate your favorite in-class activities to the online learning environment, we are here to help! Stop by Miller Center 118, Monday – Friday 8 am – 4:30 pm,  or email us at att@stcloudstate.edu or d2l@stcloudstate.edu.

July 10

From “Sage on the Stage” to the “Guide on the Side” to “Ace in the Digital Space”

The new name for the role of faculty in online learning, coined by Jennifer Mathes in an OLC Insights post truly got my attention.

The shift of the role of a teacher as the Sage on the Stage to the Guide on the Side fits well with digital teaching and learning, as students are expected to take a more active role in their learning. The same goes in the classroom where different pedagogical approaches are practiced, and student-centered learning is nothing new.

However, teaching online is not an easy task, and requires much more work ahead of time as well as during the courses than many would think. Teaching effectively requires more than being just a Guide on the Side. Thus, Jenifer Mathes coined the term to indicate to the scope of activities an online teacher is faced with.

She states: “I chose to describe the role as an Ace because we find, in the online or blended course, that a faculty member has to be the expert in many things (tech support, advisor, coach, subject matter, etc.) to their students. They are the first ones that students will go to when they run into an issue.”

This also reminds us of the importance of teacher support and resources.

Remember we are here to help in Miller Center 118!

Miller Center building front entrance summertime

 

July 6

2017 Minnesota eLearning Summit

Image credit: https://cceevents.umn.edu/minnesota-elearning-summit

 

This year’s MN eLearning Summit will happen August 2-3 in Normandale Community College. The program draft is already out and the HIED topics will range from online discussions, MOOCS, course development, telepresence classrooms, asynchronous courses, etc.

Registration is open and discounted for any MN State employee ($61.25 − Enter promo code C118 at checkout, by July 14).

Hope we see you there!

June 29

Study Skills Courses for Students

Future Learn, an open digital education platform offering free online courses from universities around the world, has a collection of courses on improving student study skills.

The topics range from improving students’ writing skills, English as a second language, online learning, to career prep and advice.

This can be a really neat collection to recommend to your students this summer – majority of courses do not require more than 1-2 hours a week but hold valuable information and resources.

list of seevral study skills courses like prepare for college and studying online