Teacher and social presence and engagement with other classmates and the course materials continue to be the greatest indicators of success in online classes.
Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework is a framework developed by Randy Garrison, Terry Anderson et al. (University of Calgary) to help the educational experience of e-learning. It is based on the three “presences” in the classroom: social, teacher, and cognitive. There are many ways for teachers to show their presence in an online course. starting with clearly communicated course objectives and due dates, providing feedback in a timely fashion, encouraging discussion within the course, etc.
Click here to access the interactive map (you can click on each term) of CoI framework and learn more.
There’s still time to submit a proposal to present at the STAR Symposium! This is a state-wide conference focused on teaching and learning best practices. The all day conference is completely virtual – attend and present from your home or campus office.
Call for proposals is open until November 21. All presenters will receive training related to effective web-based presentation.
Share your Ideas
Do you have an innovative approach for engaging your students, managing your classroom, integrating best practices or collaborating for improvement? This is your opportunity to share the innovative work you’re doing at your institution, for your department and in your classroom! The STAR Symposium Planning Committee is seeking proposals related to best practices and innovation related to teaching, technology, course design, faculty support, etc. for face-to-face, blended, and online courses and/or programs. Check this list for ideas for topics:
– Faculty Development and Support
– Course Design and Delivery
– Grading, Assessment and Feedback
– Student Engagement
– Technology Integration
– Measuring the Impact of Best Practices
– Other Innovations…
The committee is seeking both 50 minute and 25 minute presentations which will be offered concurrently. Individuals looking for information about the types of sessions offered last year are encouraged to review the STAR Conference Guide. (http://bit.ly/STARGuide16)
To submit your proposal, please complete this form. The conference planning committee will review all proposals and will contact everyone regarding the status of their proposal in December.
Registration is open!
Registration for the STAR Symposium is managed by Northland Community & Technical College. To register individuals or a group, use the STAR Symposium Registration Link (opens in a new window). The cost to attend the all-day conference is $50 (presenters pay $25).
The Minnesota Online Quality Initiative team has updated their list of video resources from the past webinars hosted by the Special Interest Group.
You will find the recording link along with the presenter and webinar description. This is a great opportunity in case you have missed a live webinar but are still interested in the topic. Here are some of the archived recordings:
- Self-Assessment of Discussions
- Ten Steps Closer to an Accessible Course
- Time-Saving Tips for Stressed Out Instructors
- Just-in-Time Teaching
Just click on the link provided above and choose the title of your interest. Majority of the recordings are about 45 minutes long.
Don’t forget, there is also a Google drive folder with various resources (in Word, PDF, or PPT).
Finally, you can always register for the upcoming webinars here.
This four week long open course (digitalmediaeducation.org – Join here) offers different paths of engagement with digital media. You will be using free tools to create, implement, and assess digital media for teaching and learning.
The course started this Monday, October 10, and will be running until November 6. It requires about 2-3 hours of work per week. There is also a possibility of getting a certificate from ISTE Teacher Education Network. The course is designed by faculty and graduate students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Education. They also lead a Google+ Learning Community (for which a gmail account is needed).
The course is very easy to navigate and has set learning objectives and the schedule. If you were wondering how to engage digital media in your course, this can be a great start!
D2L Brightspace: Free “Getting Started” webinars, presented to you by SIG members, offer a variety of topics. Click here to register for upcoming SIG webinars! Some of the upcoming events are listed below:
- Introduction and Overview of D2L Brightspace – August 15, August 17, August 18
- Organize Your Content – August 23, August 25
- Using Respondus Quiz Tool – August 11, August 30
- D2L Brightspace Quiz Tool – August 10, August 12,
- Announcements (formerly News), Classlist and Email – August 23, August 24
- D2L Brightspace Discussion Board Tool– August 22, August 25
- Points Based/ Weighted Gradebook – August 25, August 30
- D2L Brightspace Assignments Tool (formerly Dropbox) – August 11, August 30
- Groups in D2L Brightspace – August 30, August 31
- D2L Brightspace Rubric Tool – August 23
- Creating a Community: Using Brightspace to Welcome Students – August 31
In case you cannot attend one of the webinars offered at those dates, here is a folder with resources and handouts from the presentations.
The Chronicle of Higher Education Vitae Columnist Nicole Matos published an insightful and interesting post on teacher presence (presence, timeliness, and responsiveness) in online courses. You can view the full post, but here I will list her main suggestions:
- Online teaching should be “just-in-time” teaching. Instructors need to be every bit as mindful of timeliness and urgency in an online course as they are in a face-to-face classroom, and maybe even more so. In a traditional classroom, you wouldn’t normally answer a student’s question with, “I’ll get back to you on that in a few days,” or worse, with a sort of blank, unreadable stare (“Did the professor hear me? Do I even exist?”). But that is the impression created when you fail to respond to emails in a timely manner or leave essays sitting unattended in an online folder. Does that mean online instructors need to be on call 24-7? No. It is perfectly acceptable to maintain business hours, or to set your own quirky hours, so long as you communicate those time limits to your students.
Remember to both look forward and gesture back. Because different course materials are often sequestered in different folders or on different screens, it is important for online instructors to consciously build bridges between past, present, and future information. To that end:
- I frequently provide quick-and-dirty summaries of past topics, both for reinforcement and review: “Discussion so far looks great! We have been talking about such things as why literature is more like biology than you would think, about the Rhetorical Triangle, and about the differences between literary, pragmatic, and pleasure reading.”
- Then I might connect that content to new material: “Both the broad question of how you ‘dissect’ a literary text and the interactions of the Rhetorical Triangle lead directly into our reading for Thursday, where we will consider different modes of literary criticism.”
- Finally, I might suggest ways to integrate old and new content: “Does it make sense to attempt to map the different schools of literary criticism against the Rhetorical Triangle? That’s an experiment I’ll urge you to try in our next discussion.”
- Standardize your course schedule. With students checking in at various points, it is up to the teacher to create some moments of unified class time. In online courses, students are generally free to take advantage of looser scheduling, completing assignments on Monday and Wednesday one week, and on Tuesday and Thursday another week. But I strongly recommend that you not take the same liberties in structuring your due dates or grading. I have seen online courses in which due dates were rotated on three-day, four-day, and five-day cycles, to the confusion of all.Instead, I standardize my due dates — discussion posts are due on Tuesdays and Thursdays, all other projects on Fridays by noon, for example… I am as explicit as possible about when exactly I’ll be doing my grading: “I expect to be grading these assignments on Sunday afternoon, so look for my responses then.” If I have to vary my schedule, I announce the change: “I’m a little behind, but will be completing this round of grading on Monday between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.” Such small courtesies matter an extraordinary amount to online students.
Indiana University is offering a self-paced open and free for all course through Canvas network on DESIGNING AND TEACHING FOR IMPACT IN ONLINE COURSES.
The course started June 6th, but you can enroll anytime. It takes about 2 hours of work per week and you can receive a badge for completion. The course offers help with design and with online teaching. ” It explores the backward design process beginning with learning outcomes, followed by assessments, activities, and content. It also includes topics such as online presence, course structure, usability, visual design, accessibility, multimedia, syllabi, and course management. It is a non-facilitated course where participants can work through the modules at their own pace based on their own needs and interests.”
We would definitely recommend it to those who are interested in the topics mentioned above, and for faculty concerned about offering a quality course online that would support student success.
Almost 5 years ago, Elizabeth St. Germain summarized 5 most common pitfalls of course design when faculty teach online. This story does not get old as we still encounter similar problems with some online classes. You can read her summary if you click on the link above. Here, I will list the five things she described as the things you SHOULD NOT do in an online course:
- You should not Upload your course materials, then call it a day (to fix it, you can: Rework that hand-out on tedious lab procedures into a colorful, animated slideshow. Bring a historic context to life through links to period paintings, historic sites, or even contemporary Google street views).
- You should not Let the course management system drive your thinking (to fix it, you can: Start by thinking about the kinds of learning experiences you want to create rather than letting the CMS define a more limited view of putting your course online. Then, work with an instructional designer/lead course developer from our team to help you transfer this to D2L).
- You should not Insist on being the “sage on the stage” (to fix it: Your course should be a place where students come to participate in the connections that can be made between your subject and the outside world. Build these bridges into your online course materials, and become a facilitator of these important connections).
- You should not Expect your students to consume knowledge rather than create it (to fix it: Develop content that asks students to recall and apply what they have learned. In an online course, this could mean peppering your online content with quick test-your-comprehension questions or developing exercises that ask students to generate data, capture and upload photos of evidence, research connections to real-world conditions, or create explanatory slideshows).
- You should not Ignore the ways students learn from each other (to fix it, you can: Include assignments that require students to share ideas and resources, present topics to each other, and critique each other’s work. Use online communication tools and collaborative spaces to foster a class-wide web of supportive contact rather than settling into multiple parallel channels between you and each student).
Take a look at this announcement for the Spring semester presentations from the Special Interest Group.
You can click here to register for the webinars.
Minnesota has a statewide subscription to the internationally recognized quality assurance process Quality Matters. What is more, MOQI (Minnesota Online Quality Initiative) has put every effort to promote and help with this process throughout the MnSCU system.
This process is completely voluntary, yet we like to show how it can benefit both face-to-face and online classes. Even if you do not want your course reviewed, just getting familiar with the QM rubric or having an internal review could benefit you. In this video, you can hear the answers to most frequently asked questions about the course review process from a MSU Mankato faculty member.
More stories can be found on the MOQI webpage here.