Celebrate the holidays with your fellow faculty members while enjoying soup on Dead Day. The Adams Center staff will compete in our second annual Christmas cookie bake-off, so be ready to taste them all and vote for your favorite. A drawing for door prizes will be held for all who RSVP, so make sure you call ext. 2455 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be entered!
Some professors are considering using CourseSites as an alternative to OpenClass to manage their teaching online. CourseSites is a cloud-based learning management system, equivalent in much of its functionality to the latest Blackboard enterprise version. As each account will be associated with an individual URL for each instructor, there is no way to integrate these varied accounts with our student management system. Therefore, instructors will need to set up their own accounts, enroll students and get the course started. Instructors will need to do at least the following things below to get started.
Create an instructor account: When you create your own instructor account, use the same username and password you use for myACU to streamline all your university accounts.
Create courses: When you create your course(s), make your course titles consistent with what you have in Banner. In the course description area, add your course ID for easier retrieval in the future.
Enroll students: Students also need to have or create their accounts to be able to be added to the course. Once you are in your course, go to “users and groups”, then “users”. You will then see you have the options to “create” student accounts or “enroll” existing accounts. As you may not know which students have CourseSites accounts and which ones do not, we advise that you choose the “invite” option. CourseSites will then show you an invite message with links for students to sign up or sign in. You can add some brief instruction in the message to advise first time users to create an account by using their MyACU user names, which would make it easier for you to transfer their grades to Banner in the future.
Make courses available: Remember that you can turn on or off your course any time. Go to “customization”, then “properties” and then check beside “yes” to “make course available” when you are ready to release it. Choose “no” if your course is at its “work in progress” stage, or when you have finished teaching the course.
Send students an initial email: When you are ready to ask students to come in to the course, send them an initial email (preferably through myACU to make sure you do not miss anyone) to inform them how to access the course by providing the CourseSites URL. Once you find that everyone is in the course, you can use the email tool within CourseSites to communicate with them. Remember, too, that students will be added or dropped from class, so please re-resend your invite message to those who get added to class later in the semester. In the Spring 2014 semester, the last day for block students to drop/add is January 17.
If you need help setting any of these up, please set up an appointment with an instructional designer from the Adams Center. More resources will be available later. Please check this blog for further instructions and training information. You can also subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the “subscribe2” area of this page. If you would like to share or learn best practices in using coursesites to teach, we would like you to join the ACU Coursesites Google group.
Written feedback has been a staple in the grading process in higher education. Although, sometimes written feedback (like any communication medium that is overused) can become white noise to students who often admit they don’t read it. Audio feedback is an option that saves time, cuts through the ‘noise,’ and is a preferred feedback avenue of students (Ice, 2007).
The following link will take you to my page where you will find audio feedback samples, video, and a few articles.
Here are a few resources for creating or sharing audio feedback:
Audacity is a free tool for you to edit audio files. You can use it to record, edit and then export it as an audio file. You can either send this audio file directly to students, or uploading it to a hosting site (such as SoundCloud) and send it to students as a link or embed it in your course.
SoundCloud: Soundcloud, as shared in a recent Adams Center presentation, allows you to record and share your audio feedback. If you intend to record something without having to edit it, this is the easiest tool to use.
Notability: is an app for iPad and iPhone (Android) that allows you to mark up a document, use audio feedback, and much more.
Ice, P. (2007). Using Asynchronous Audio Feedback to Enhance Teaching Presence and Students’ Sense of Community. The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11(2)
Using Shadow Puppet (similar to Photostory on Windows side) for storytelling invites the use of imagery and narrative in formative and informative ways in teaching, training, and learning. This app lets students put those iPads and smartphones to work collecting pictures, practicing narration, composing self-introductions in an online or face-to-face course, etc.
It is a fun app with lots of practical uses that are easy to create. As you become more comfortable with it, you can also start a story using Shadow Puppet and then add another sound track using iMovie or some other video editing applications.
Here’s a shadow puppet sample.
Want to use it in class? Here’s a sample rubric: Shadow Puppet rubric.
Evernote is a versatile tool for taking notes in a variety of format, including text, audio and picture, which you can easily tag for retrieval and share with people you designate or the general public.
You can also use Evernote to do some quick editing with photos in your notes. This function previously only worked in Skitch, but is now incorporated into Evernote after Evernote acquired Skitch.
Photo editing works especially well on mobile devices. Once you have a photo in your note in your mobile device, double tab on the photo, and then tap on the annotation icon which will bring out a column of markup tools (as shown below) for cropping, pixelating, stamping, highlighting, circling, typing and pointing.
Here are some popular editing features you might find useful:
Pixelating, which allows you to hide elements of a photo or other kinds of graphic if there is a need to do so. For instance, you can hide students’ names (for FERPA considerations), contact information, birthdays, faces of minors in a photo, license plates of cars, etc.
Pointing and typing. You can use them together to highlight a particular object or person in a photo.
Cropping. This allows you to quickly crop a photo without having to use another application such as Photoshop.
For further information on these markup tools, check this video:
Or check here for more information.
All of these can be done within the note that you are editing. Once you have finished such editing, you can sync it to the web, and download it to your computer where you can easily share it using your class sites or send it to others. Please feel free to check with the Instructional Design team of Adams Center if you need any assistance using this tool.
During the summer we offered a workshop on using iPad in teaching. By popular demand, we are offering a sequel on November 7th on teaching with the iPad. In this hands-on workshop the Adams Center instructional design team will demonstrate five iPad apps that may make a difference in your teaching. At the end of the workshop, we will also ask you to share with us your favorite apps for teaching.
The apps we introduce are:
- Evernote is an app that allows you to take notes in text, photo, or audio.
- Socrative is an app that will turn your students’ iPads and yours into a free clicker response system.
- SoundCloud is a free app that allows you record audio messages to share feedback, announcements, sound clips, etc. You can send them in an email, embed in a course, etc.
- Shadow Puppet is a free app that lets you select photos on your iDevice, put them in any order you like, then narrate the slide show while you highlight something in the photo with an animated icon, or zoom and move the photo.
- iCue is a 4.99 app that can function as a teleprompter.
In 2010 ACU received a $1.8 million grant from AT&T to enhance mobile learning on campus. Transform may be a better word, because the impact of the project has been nothing short of remarkable. What you will see in the following pages reflects many of the lessons learned from the three-year university partnership with AT&T. You will see how technology has begun to permeate the learning experiences of students and how some of the university’s most innovative faculty members have employed new technologies to increase student engagement. Most importantly, you will see some of the ways these faculty have made a difference in students’ lives.
The 2012-2013 Mobile Learning Report is available to download on your iPad with iBooks or on your computer with iTunes.
Apple computers have trackpads with features to allow you to navigate with finger swiping, which can be useful or annoying depending on how you use them.
When you navigate with the OpenClass gradebook, you will be able to use two fingers to swipe to the left or right to see various columns that otherwise would be hidden from view. This would work beautifully within the gradebook. The names and total grades columns will be “frozen” so that you can see grades for various other columns within the gradebook for various students.
However, the two-finger swiping on the trackpad may also accidentally take you away from the gradebook, as the same gestures also function as the “forward” and “backward” buttons you usually see in an internet browser.
To disable this page navigation feature, go to “system preferences”, find the trackpad button, and then, under “more gestures”, uncheck the box beside “swipe between pages”. This would then allow you to safely navigate in the gradebook without having to worry about being accidentally navigated away from the page with two-finger swiping. You can also choose “swipe with three fingers” from the dropdown menu if you want to use finger swiping to navigate between pages with three fingers, while two finger swiping will be reserved for moving to the left and right of a page.
In 2012 New York Times educational blogger Annie Paul Murphy wrote about music and productivity in which she concluded:
“Classical or instrumental music enhances mental performance more than music with lyrics. Music can make rote or routine tasks (think folding laundry or filing papers) less boring and more enjoyable. Runners who listen to music go faster. But when you need to give learning and remembering your full attention, silence is golden.”
Based on this we set up a quiz for the Adams Center workshop on “gaining attention”:
We started expecting participants to choose “silence” or “classical music without lyrics”. Most agree that classical music without lyrics may help with drawing attention without adding to cognitive load.
However, Professor Janine Morgan and Professor Karen Hendrick both mentioned that sometimes “music with lyrics” may help with learners’ memory if the lyrics are actually about the content students are studying.
Interestingly, several weeks ago, Annie Paul Murphy wrote another article saying that music can help with memory which supports the same conclusion. Please read the comments section of this article for additional examples readers provide on how they use music to help with student memory. The following video in this article showed how it worked for doctors.
We have since found that there is an organization called “songs for teaching” which focused on using music to help with student memory.
If you know of any other creative ways to help students learn, we would love to hear about it.
Written by the Instructional Design Team
Evernote is a great application for taking notes in text, audio, and photos using your mobile devices and computer. It is one of the most popular note-taking applications that is used increasingly in education.
Dr. Tim Sensing (Graduate School of Theology) uses Evernote for a student ethnography assignment. In the course BIBM 657: Context in Ministry that he taught, he required students to go into the field (contexts) to study. In the past, students had had to use pencil and paper, or tape or digital recorders to gather field notes from various contexts. It had been a time-consuming process to gather, code, and sort such data as it came in.
The last time he taught this course, students took their iPads with them in the field to take notes. The class explored using Google Docs, Audio Notes, Pages, and Drop Box. Sensing discerned that each of these applications had various limitations. They used Evernote accounts to have student groups working in various contexts take notes in text, photos or audio recordings. All the notes were saved in the cloud for immediate access by other group members. If further editing was needed, students could also use laptops to edit as Evernote can be used on different platforms. None of the other apps were as flexible or as powerful for group projects according to Sensing.
While utilizing this tool for group field work, Dr. Sensing suggested the following factors for better results:
Critical Reflection: After gathering the field notes, students could tag such notes and count the frequency of such tags to facilitate coding. Teams were engaged in tagging too. By doing this, they were able to compare trends with the literature they had read about specific topics for consistency. They sometimes discovered new themes or trends. This turned out to be a tool for critical reflection which allowed students to have more in-depth analysis of the literature.
Faculty Presence: Dr. Sensing also recommends that as a professor you have to be “present” in the use of any out of class assignment. He enrolled himself in each student group account in order to see student progress. He also provided comments and feedback using a separate folder in their group account. This way, he keeps interacting with students as they collaborate on their field work.
Work Tracking: Evernote does not have a version control or tracking feature (e.g., Quip (https://quip.com). It is difficult to find out who did what as each group would have a shared account. Dr. Sensing recommends students include their names or initials in each of their contributions to keep track. This, in turn, provides accountability and motivation for various members in the group to participate.
This short article describes three strategies for online formative assessment — 1. directed paraphrasing, 2. student-generated test questions, and 3. double-entry journals. Click here to read more: Classroom Assessment Techniques.
Written by the Instructional Design Team
During an Adams Center workshop (September 19, 2013) on helping Chinese students to study in America, one of the things we discussed is the facilitation of group work with Chinese students in them. Group work is an extremely useful tool for acclimation and inclusion. Many Chinese students report great learning through group work after it is finished. It is an experience for them to learn how American students think and work. Similarly, domestic students get to see how Chinese students think and work.
Interestingly, Chinese students also encounter great difficulty in group assignments while they are still unfolding. One might be misled by the idea that Chinese students have “collectivist” thinking patterns to believe that group work should be easier for Chinese students, which is often not true. Most Chinese students grow up not experiencing group assignments at all in their K-12 years. It is therefore very important to design your group work in a way that help them get used to such work. Here are some tips that we hope will help you in your design and facilitation of group work. Some may apply to students from other countries or even American students.
Create intercultural teams:
It is important to mix Chinese students with American students so that they can enrich each other with what they bring to the team. Inform teams that such effort is intentional, that it is a good thing to be able to break cultural cocoons instead of hanging out only with people they know. Spend some time discussing cultural sensitivity, mutual respect, as well as tolerance for cultural differences.
Chinese students would prefer to have clear expectations. Do not just expect group dynamics to form and “evolve” in an implicit way. Such vagueness just creates anxiety. Make your group expectations explicit and hidden rules evident if there are Chinese students on your project teams. This would include your expectation about project participation, roles, grading, learning outcomes, and criteria you will be using. You may also want to explain the American expectation of teamwork.
Provide initial guidance:
Make yourself available for guidance as some Chinese students may not have experienced a group assignment, or group assignment as American students have experienced. Ask them questions to see how much they understand. Provide guidance when they need it. If certain parts of your instruction are intended to be vague, and to be defined by students themselves, let them know and tell them that figuring things out is part of the learning. Explain that there is no “correct” answers or approaches to certain problems.
Set up ground rules:
Sometimes Chinese students may be overshadowed by language barriers to be not very active in group work, thinking that their American teammates have a better idea how to proceed. You will need to do what you can to get students out of their comfort zones to really contribute to group work. One way is to articulate your ground rules. Share with students how you expect groups to behave and participate. You may need to appoint someone in the group to be a facilitator or group secretary to make sure everyone contributes to the best of his or her ability. Use rubrics to communicate how you intend to grade group work. You may even want to have a peer evaluation element in your projects to make students take accountability for one another.
Vary communication methods:
Many Chinese students are better at reading and writing, so it may be a good idea to take some group discussions online where they can write and edit before publishing their thoughts. You can then capitalize on what they wrote online and choose to take some discussion to the class to extend or enrich the dialogue. Often when students have already shared some thoughts online, they are more relaxed to speak in class. However, set up some protocols for discussion so that they contribute substantially to the discussion instead of just writing “I agree.”
Though it is important to encourage and support students as they try to master the English language, bear in mind that language barriers will exist for a long time, if not forever. Having things in written form may help students revisit your instructions. It is also a good practice to have in written form some kind of project sheet to list various subtasks and persons responsible so that everyone will have a clear understanding of his or her role.
Be insightful but not hurtful:
Characterization of particular groups often has certain truths to them. You may equip yourself with insights into common values and practices that define a group, but do not let such insights create unnecessary tension or new barriers. Chinese students’ study habits of “rote memory” and “collective thinking”, for instance, should not be given too much emphasis as it may create unnecessary hostility. Many such terms, though not intended to carry any negative connotations, may be perceived as derogatory. In addition, some labels become useless at a certain point. For instance, “rote memory” can be seen as a “lower order” thinking skill, while there is still controversy around “content-free” higher-order thinking.
Written by the Instructional Design Team
You may sometimes find a good video from YouTube that you would like to share with your students. Or you may want to share a video you produced yourself with your students. It can be annoying to go to YouTube, search for the video and find that you have to wait with your class for the advertisement to finish before the real video starts. You will also be seeing “similar videos” alongside the video you would like to show, and some of these videos are irrelevant or even inappropriate. It is therefore much more desirable to embed the video in your OpenClass site directly. David Christianson of the Adams Center created a video that shows you how to embed a video in your class site:
Here are some additional tips for embedding videos:
You can also embed videos from Vimeo or many other sources into your OpenClass sites, as long as the site has an embed code for you to copy. The methods are similar to the procedure David described.
You can create and embed a “playlist” in your course as well. A playlist will show a series of videos you have created for a particular content area (as shown below). However, to reduce cognitive overload, you might choose to embed videos one at a time in your course modules.
YouTube also allows you to create automatic closed captioning which you can then edit. This feature is helpful when you want to create alternative text representations of your videos for a variety of reasons, such as ADA compliance. It should also help new international students whose native language is not English.
Please contact the Adams Center Instructional Design team if you need help using videos in your course.
Written by the Instructional Design Team
Looking for ways to integrate higher order learning tasks and integrate technology? This article provides apps that assist you with tasks in each level of Bloom’s taxonomy, and contains links to the apps and ideas you may find helpful.
Other apps that you may find helpful are Quizlet, Poplet, Socrative, and here are more to sift through on a rainy day. If you are interested in exploring ways to use apps to aid you in teaching, assessment, task-management, etc., feel free to come by the Adams Center, we would love to meet with you.
If you missed Doug Foster’s CHARIS Conversations – Public Leadership of Women in the Stone-Campbell Movement: Advance or Retreat? session on September 5th, don’t worry! You can watch the full podcast of the session here.
Written by the Instructional Design Team
Ever feel like students tune you out? Remember the teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day off (“anyone? anyone?”)? Some of our faculty are using a free app called, Tellagami, to grab students’ attention. Below is one from Diana Taylor, who uses it in COMP 356 to introduce the upcoming week.
You can use any picture as background. This allows you to take a picture from the front of your class, or anywhere, and use as the backdrop for your video. Or, include a picture of the concept you are presenting for the week. Here are some quick ideas you might try (from Free Tech for Teachers blog by Richard Byrne and the Adams Center Instructional Design Team):
- Have a character tell a story
- Take a trip back in time
- Pick a person in history and have them introduce themselves
- Have students post a “Gami” to a discussion forum. The background picture can represent a visual and the audio can address another part of an assignment.
- Have a student summarize the first week of class using a Gami (credit to Houston Heflin for this idea)
- Use a plant cell as the background and have the avatar name and discuss the cell function
- Start the week with a scripture reading and use various backgrounds that it may be applied to
- Present a dilemma to be resolved or introduce a case study
These mini-video (gamis) are easy to post to social media, email, or embed in OpenClass. The maximum recording time is 30 seconds. Tellagami can be integrated into other apps like Explain Everything and iMovie.
Here is an example of how you can use Tellagami to start a class or training session:
Thank you to Diana Taylor, Dr. Houston Heflin, and Richard Byrne for their contributions to this post!
Written by the Instructional Design Team
While quizzes and tests are often used to generate grades, they do not always have to be. Some of you may use quizzes to help students learn and you do not care how many times students take them and how much they get with each attempt. In some cases, if students spend much time taking such quizzes till they “get it”, it might be a desirable process of learning. Such assessments are often labelled “formative assessments” as compared to “summative assessments”. If this describes what you want to do with some of your classes, you might want to try a couple of interesting applications that do exactly that.
Quizlet is an application (available on the web and as an app in the iTunes App Store) rather popular for formative assessment type of learning activities. You can generate a “set” of items that can be studied as flashcards, quizzes or even games in a variety of formats. Such activities can be easily shared in your course site, blog or Facebook page. Please check this set for an illustration.
You can sign in to Quizlet using your Google account. A set you create in Quizlet can be protected for personal use only, or you can share it with the general public. A third option, which is probably going to be very helpful for class use, is to share it with your class only with a password.
If you have graphics in every item of a quiz or test, you could also use a site called “Photopeach” to do that. Photopeach can be used to create photo slideshows. It is fairly easy to create. You will just need to upload a number of images or photos to create a photo-based slideshow, and then you can create short quizzes over particular photos. You can also have some stock music playing in the background as students view the show and take quizzes. The downside of this application is that you can only have three choices at a time with the quizzes. Check this set for an illustration.
Please contact the Adams Center for assistance if you need to set up such quizzes. If you use either of these two applications, we would love to hear how you use them and any advice you would give in using them.
We’d like to thank Jonathan Gray and Dr. James Langford for suggesting the use of such applications for quizzing!
Written by the Instructional Design Team
Creating an online test manually can be a tedious and time-consuming process. You can use Respondus to simplify the process. Here is the general process for doing so.
Creating tests in Respondus:
Format the file (in Microsoft Word, RTF or Text format) using the Respondus guidelines. You can find the formatting guide by clicking on “help” in your Respondus program and search for the formatting guideline, or check this video for an illustration;
Launch Respondus on a Windows platform (unfortunately Respondus does not have a Mac version yet);
When asked to choose a “personality” (Respondus’ term for the testing environment to be used), choose “IMS QTI” ;
Click on “import questions”, browse for the test file you just formatted, select it, fill out the fields required, and click on “preview”.
You will now either be given the feedback that the questions are imported successfully or given a prompt that there are any “errors”. If you see any, go back and follow the instructions to correct the file and import the file again. Sometimes it is a very minor issue (for instance, extra spaces in the text, additional lines, etc.) Come to the Adams Center for us to show you how this works if you want.
After fixing the error, save and close and use “preview” to import again;
Click on the “Preview and Publish” tab;
Click on “preview” to see the questions and use the “modify” button to modify as necessary;
Click on “publish”;
Click on “Save QTI XML file” tab;
Choose “points a decimal numbers” or “points as percentages…” (check the percentage option);
Choose “QTI ZML zip file using IMS content packaging 1.1.3.
You will then be asked to specify where to save this packaged file, and it is going to appear as a compressed file with “.zip” file extension.
Importing tests into OpenClass:
Now go to OpenClass and follow these steps:
Click on “modify menu”;
Click on “add & arrange”;
Click on “add an item” where you would like the quiz or test to be, or add it to the end and rearrange it to your desired position later. Check “gradable” when you create this quiz or test.
Close the “add & arrange” window;
Click on the tab you just created on the course menu;
Click on “modify page” at the top right corner;
Beside “choose assessment package type”, choose “Respondus” from the menu;
Click on “choose file” and select the zipped file you just saved;
Click on “upload and import file”, and you will get a message saying the request is processed. If it is not a large test file, you should be able to see it in a matter of seconds. If the file is large, with graphics, for instance, you may need to wait longer. If you find that your page is stuck, you might want to try a different browser. Currently Firefox seems to be working best for OpenClass assessments.
Additional uses of Respondus:
Import publisher test banks: Respondus has a database of publisher test banks which you can easily import into OpenClass by using Respondus. Check this video for the method to import such test banks into Respondus. The rest of the steps should be the same with what we described above.
Create print copies of electronic tests: One thing we have also noticed is that with such online tests converted through Respondus, you can also create print copies in case you need a paper version as a backup plan, or if you have students with special needs who would benefit from having a paper version. You can also choose to print one with answers so that you can review tests with students.
Publish the same tests to multiple courses: Pearson Openclass is working on adding a feature to export tests and other course components. Before that is made available, you should also be able to keep the test package files and import them into multiple courses.
Respondus also has a number of demo videos which are very helpful. Check this site for more information. Please notice, however, that some of these demo videos are made for other types of learning management system that may not work for OpenClass. The QTI import method described above is more platform-neutral, allowing Respondus tests to be compatible with the OpenClass environment.
We realize that converting a test to the online format involves quite a number of steps, each of which may be prone to errors of some sort. If you do not anticipate doing this test conversion very often, you may simply send your tests over to the Adams Center for conversion. As we may do this on a daily basis, we are more aware of some common problems to avoid. If you plan to create tests as you go, and you would like to convert the tests yourself, we’d be more than happy to show you how the conversion process works. In either case, feel free to check with us what is the best way to proceed. We hope that the initial investment in converting the test will save you tons of time in having to grade standardized portions of tests.
How do we improve student learning? How do we support our students and provide them access to a quality education? How do we develop new opportunities and overcome our limited resources?
Institutions of higher education around the world are using blended learning to enhance student learning, facilitate student access, meet instructional and institutional goals, and find solutions for diminishing resources. Faculty members and instructional designers use the blended mode to enrich teaching and learning. Administrators strategically incorporate blended programs in order to help fulfill their institutions’ missions and goals. Students draw on blended offerings to take advantage of the flexibility and to improve their time to degree.
Join your colleagues at the 10th Annual Sloan Consortium Blended Learning Conference and Workshop as we problem-solve, exchange ideas, and explore effective strategies about blended learning. The conference provides the opportunity for instructors and faculty members, instructional designers, student advisors, administrative leaders, and researchers to share best practices, strategic considerations, models of practice, and challenges revealed through our experiences in practice and research.
We will be streaming the following sessions in the Woods room in the Adams Center:
For full descriptions of each of the streamed sessions, visit the conference website.
Lynda.com has a new tutorial on using the iPad in the classroom.
Learn how to lead your students through the process of conducting and sharing their research, with the assistance of the Nearpod app for creating interactive presentations. These lessons highlight the possibilities for the iPad as a tool to collaborate, remediate, problem-solve, assess, and communicate with your class. The iPad multisensory features, the on-board apps, and the ever-growing variety of apps available in iTunes provide a great platform for teachers to discover new ways to engage students.