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.
During a Dec. 8 Future Trends Forum video chat hosted by futurist Bryan Alexander, several liberal arts technology leaders spoke about their efforts to define their colleges’ approach to digital innovation.
As an example of a more promising liberal arts partnership, Eshleman pointed to LACOL, the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning. LACOL’s nine member institutions comprise Amherst, Bryn Mawr, Carleton, Haverford, Pomona, Swarthmore, Vassar, Washington and Lee and Williams. LACOL is an effort to create an experimental framework that supports project work across the nine campuses. There are interesting experiments happening on each campus, and LACOL provides opportunities to use a digital network to take those to a new level, said Elizabeth Evans, LACOL’s director, who joined Eshleman on the Future Trends Forum virtual stage to describe the consortium’s setup.
This involves a multi-campus team of faculty and instructional designers, all organized around a central project, which has its ups and downs, she added.
She said she has learned to keep the focus off of technology initially. She asks faculty members to think about what have they wanted to do around student learning and why. “It is about that first, and technology second,” she stressed, adding that she has moved away from quantitative evaluation of projects and more toward storytelling.
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.
Zhang, X., Chen, H., Pablos, P. O. de, Lytras, M. D., & Sun, Y. (2016). Coordinated Implicitly? An Empirical Study on the Role of Social Media in Collaborative Learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(6). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v17i6.2622
Ungerer, L. M. (2016). Digital Curation as a Core Competency in Current Learning and Literacy: A Higher Education Perspective. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(5). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v17i5.2566
Technology considerably impacts on current literacy requirements (Reinking, as cited in Sharma & Deschaine, 2016). Being literate in the 21st century requires being able to decode and comprehend multimodal texts and digital format and also engage with these texts in a purposeful manner. Literacy is not merely based on a specific skill, but consists of a process that embraces the dynamic, social, and collaborative facets of digital technology (Lewis & Fabos, as cited in Mills, 2013).
Mackey and Jacobson (2011) suggest reframing the concept of information literacy as metaliteracy (supporting multiple literacy types) because of a tremendous growth in social media and collaborative online communities. They propose that information literacy currently involves more than a set of discrete skills, since active knowledge production and distribution in collaborative online communities are also necessary.
Mackey and Jacobson (2011) position metaliteracy as an overarching and comprehensive framework that informs other literacy types. It serves as the basis for media literacy, digital literacy, ICT literacy, and visual literacy.
According to Mills (2013, p. 47), digital curation is the sifting and aggregation of internet and other digital resources into a manageable collection of what teachers and students find relevant, personalized and dynamic. It incorporates the vibrancy of components of the Internet and provides a repository that is easily accessible and usable.
Pedagogies of Abundance
According to Weller (2011), a pedagogy of abundance should consider a number of assumptions such as that content often is freely available and abundant. Content further takes on various forms and it is often easy and inexpensive to share information. Content is socially based and since people filter and share content, a social approach to learning is advisable. Further, establishing and preserving connections in a network is easy and they do not have to be maintained on a one-to-one basis. Successful informal groupings occur frequently, reducing the need to formally manage groups.
Resource-based learning. Ryan (as cited in Weller, 2011) defines resource-based learning as “an integrated set of strategies to promote student centred learning in a mass education context, through a combination of specially designed learning resources and interactive media and technologies.”
Problem-based learning. Problem-based learning takes place when learners experience the process of working toward resolving a problem encountered early in the learning process (Barrows & Tamblyn, as cited in Weller, 2011). Students often collaborate in small groups to identify solutions to ill-defined problems, while the teacher acts as facilitator and assists groups if they need help. Problem-based learning meets a number of important requirements such as being learner-directed, using diverse resources and taking an open-ended approach.
Communities of practice. Lave and Wenger’s (as cited in Weller, 2011) concept of situated learning and Wenger’s (as cited in Weller, 2011) idea of communities of practice highlight the importance of apprenticeship and the social role in learning.
My note: this article spells out what needs to be done and how. it is just flabeghasting that research guides are employed so religiously by librarians. They are exactly the opposite concept of the one presented in this article: they are closed, controlled by one or several librarians, without a constant and easy access of the instructor, not to mention the students’ participation
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,”