Joelle Pitts is an Instructional Design Librarian and Associate Professor at Kansas State University Libraries. She is responsible for the creation and maintenance of web-based learning objects and environments aimed at improving the information literacy of the Kansas State University community. She leads the New Literacies Alliance, an inter-institutional information literacy consortium. Her research interests include distance education and e-learning theory and design, library user experience (UX), as well as the design and implementation of games-based learning environments.
my note: Avoid using infographics for purposes, which toodoo can serve. Infographics are for about visualization of stats, not just visualization. #FindTheRightTool
By Vicki E. Phillips
As instructors, we are constantly looking for new ways to capture our students’ attention and increase their participation in our classes, especially in the online modalities. We spend countless hours crafting weekly announcements for classes and then inevitably receive multiple emails from our students asking the very same questions that we so carefully and completely answered in those very same announcements! The question remains, how do we get them to read our posts?
It was precisely that problem I was trying to solve when I came across several articles touting the benefits of comics in higher education classrooms. I knew I couldn’t create an entire comic book, but I wondered if I could create a content-related cartoon that would not only capture students’ attention and maybe make them laugh, but also interest them enough that they would read the entire announcement or post. In doing so, I would be freed from responding to dozens of emails asking the same questions outlined in the announcements and students could focus on the homework.
A quick Internet search led me to a plethora of free “click and drag” cartoon making software applications to try. I started posting my own cartoons on characters, themes, etc. on the weekly literature we were studying in my upper division American and Contemporary World Literature classes, as well as to offer reminders or a few words of encouragement. Here’s an example of one I posted during week 7 of the semester when students can become discouraged with their assignment load: http://www.toondoo.com/cartoon/10115361
After a positive response, I decided to provide my online students the opportunity to try their hand at cartoon creation. I created a rubric and a set of instructions for an easy to use, free program that I had used, and I opened up the “cartoon challenge” to the students. The results were nothing short of amazing—what intrigued me the most was the time and effort they took with their cartoons. Not only did they create cartoons on the story we were reading, but they also wrote additional posts explaining their ideas for the creation, discussing why they chose a particular scene, and identifying those elements pertinent to the points they were making. These posts tended to receive many more substantial comments from their peers than the traditional discussion board posts, indicating they were being read more.
When students in my face-to-face course heard about the cartoons, they asked to try this approach as well. Their cartoons, shared in class via the overhead projector, led to some of the most engaging and interesting discussions I have ever had in the residential literature classes as students explained how they came up with the elements they chose, and why they picked a certain scene from the reading. The positive student feedback has been instrumental in my continuing to offer this option in both my online and face-to-face classes.
How does one get started in making these cartoons? The good news is you do not have to be an artist to make a cartoon! There are free programs with templates, clip art, and all the elements you would need to click and drag into place all those wonderful ideas you have simmering in your brain. My favorite to use is ToonDoo, available at http://toondoo.com. I like it because there are literally hundreds of elements, a search bar, and it lets me customize what I want to say in the dialog bubbles. It is very user friendly, even for those of us with limited artistic ability.
The whole experience has been overwhelmingly positive for me, and judging from the feedback received, for the students as well. It has also reminded me of one of my teaching goals, which is to incorporate more activities which would fall under assimilating and creating aspects of Bloom’s Taxonomy (Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, 2001). If that is your goal as well, then try inserting a cartoon in those weekly announcements and ask for feedback from your students—I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Armstrong, Patricia (n.d.) Bloom’s Taxonomy, Vanderbilt University, Center for Teaching. Retrieved from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/#2001
Pappas, Christopher (2014) The 5 Best Free Cartoon Making Programs for Teachers. Retrieved from: https://elearningindustry.com/the-5-best-free-cartoon-making-tools-for-teachers
Vicki E. Phillips is an assistant professor of English and Literature at Rasmussen College, Ocala, Fla.
In an article entitled ‘Why Vine Died,’ Casey Newman reported the following, “Former executives say that a major competitive challenged emerged in the form of Instagram, which introduced 15-second video clips in June 2013.
Instagram remained stable with the introduction of new features like stories and video channels, resources of it’s parent company, Facebook, and the introduction of ads to the platform that look very similar to the posts in a user’s feed.
In addition to a total logo redesign, Instagram shifted its focus from just pictures, to longer video (from 15 sec. to one minute) and direct messaging features, such as group posts and disappearing video. Explore Channels in Discover let people discover new photo and video content based on interests. Instagram Stories added a new element to the Instagram experience showing highlights from friends, celebrities and businesses one follows without interfering with their feed. Instagram also caters to business needs through its Instagram for Business platform that allows for instant contact, detailed analytics and easy-to-follow linked content.
Most recently, Instagram released live video in their stories feature. Users can start a live stream in their Instagram story and view comments and feedback from their viewers in real time! This feature is similar to apps like musical.ly and live.ly which has over 80 million users and 62% of its users are under 21.
#StudentVoices #MillennialMondays #WhatToWatch
#MillennialMondays is a new series that aims to discuss relevant topics on careers and business from a millennial perspective.
The 27-unit course will use 2U’s online learning platform for live, weekly meetings. Between sessions, students will have access to interactive content designed by MICS faculty. Students will also have the opportunity to visit campus to meet faculty and classmates and attend lectures and workshops curated specifically for students in the program.
According to the report, one of the main reasons for the growth in generic e-learning content and courses is the adoption of teaching and learning methods such as the flipped classroom, blended learning and virtual classrooms
The report identifies the proliferation of mobile devices on campus as the third factor helping to drive adoption of these courses. “The availability of gadgets such as e-book readers, tablets, and laptops, coupled with better and uninterrupted Internet connectivity, has led to a greater penetration of digital classrooms and e-learning products,”
What Does Recent Pedagogical Research Tell Us About eLearning Good Practice?
Many instructors indicate that they want their elearning teaching approaches to be evidence-based. Indeed, there are rich and varied sources of research being conducted on elearning good practices available in scholarly journals and government reports. However, few of us have time to keep up with these publications. In this session Christina Petersen will do some of that work for you. She summarize findings from recent government and university reports which review over 1,000 online learning studies. Additionally, she will summarize the findings from newly published articles from pedagogical journals with important information about good practices in online education. These practices address evidence-based methods for promoting student engagement in online courses, good practices for video production, and other topics related to online teaching. We will discuss the importance of all of these findings for your teaching.
Christina Petersen is an Education Program Specialist in the Center for Educational Innovation at the University of Minnesota where she partners with faculty and departments to help create and redesign courses and curriculum to promote maximal student learning. She facilitates a monthly Pedagogical Innovations Journal Club at the CEI. She has a PhD in Pharmacology and her teaching experience includes undergraduate courses in Pharmacology, and graduate courses in Higher Education pedagogy. Her teaching interests include integrating active learning into science courses, teaching in active learning classrooms, and evidence-based teaching practice. She is co-author of a soon-to-be-released book from Stylus, “A Guide to Teaching in Active Learning Classrooms”