Apr 15, 2014

Durham Tech Faculty wins a 2014 Teaching With Sakai Innovation Award (TWSIA)

This year, the Apereo Foundation announced the 7th annual Teaching With Sakai Innovation Award (TWSIA) competition.

What is the intent of the TWSIA award? According to the Apereo web site:
trophy, banners, and stars
"The intent of the award is to recognize excellence in teaching and learning. Since the first call for submissions in 2008, educators from institutions around the world have submitted their entries in the annual competition. We look forward to entries from those using the Sakai CLE (Collaborative Learning Environment) and the Apereo OAE (Open Academic Environment)."
How is your course evaluated?  You could detail and demonstrate how you utilized discussion forums, wikis, blogs, chats, web conferences, recorded messages, student web pages, assignments, tests, projects, portfolios and videos for the following five criteria: 

  1. Student Engagement and Community Building
  2. Communication
  3. Learning Materials and Strategies
  4. Learning Outcomes and Assessment
  5. Learner Support

Who won?  The Apereo Foundation and the Teaching With Sakai Innovation Award Committee just informed the selected winner of the Teaching With Sakai Innovation Award (TWSIA) for 2014 in the Higher Ed Online/Hybrid category:

  • Faculty: Shannon Hahn 
  • Sakai Course: SPA 231 Reading and Composition 

What now? Shannon is invited to attend the Apereo Conference, June 1-4, 2014, in Miami, Florida and the Apereo Foundation and TWSIA sponsor Asahi Net will help fund hotel and travel to Miami, FL. At the conference, TWSIA would like to schedule Shannon to present a session on her winning course!


Flipping *Learning* in Higher Education

The Teaching Learning Center (TLC) featured a live broadcast of the Flipping in Higher Education webinar, on April 9. The event was sponsored by the Flipped Learning Network (FLN). 

The Flipped Learning Network has its own definition of what Flipped Learning is-it is not just "flipping a classroom", flipped learning has to occur.  Instructors could be providing a flipped classroom, which can range from students reading materials outside of class, watching videos, or solving problems. But for Flipped Learning to occur, four pillars of practice must be implemented:
  1. Flexible Environment
  2. Learning Culture
  3. Intentional Content
  4. Professional Educator
In the webinar, Dr. Helaine Marshall, a Flipped Learning Network board member, moderated the session, while a number of professors discussed and demonstrated flipped learning in their college classes. One of the professors suggested we go to their Flipped Learning Google Site to explore resources for adding flipped learning to your classroom.  In the Resources area, I found this slideshare that provides lots of ideas for flipping:

If you'd like to see the archived webcast, Flipping in Higher Education, you'll need to register and have Java installed.

Apr 10, 2014

Free Educator Professional Development: Programming, Science, ELT, Flipping Classrooms, and Digital Literacies

Here are a few free upcoming MOOC's you may be interested in registering for, that usually last 4-5 weeks. You can register now for these courses, after creating an id with your email address. You can lurk, participate a bit, or go for a certificate:

MOOC Poster (no border) by Mathieu Plourde (CC BY 2.0)

From Coursera, here's a few suggestions for Educators:
April 10: Programming for Everybody (Python), provided by the University of Michigan. I just took Dr. Chuck's course on Internet History, Technology and Security which was excellent. He's branching out into a more basic course now.

April 14: The Dynamic Earth: A Course for Educators, provided by the American Museum of Natural History. Let me know what you think if you take this course.

May 12: Shaping the Way We Teach English 2: Paths to Success in ELT, provided by the University of Oregon. You can take part 1 or part 2 in any order.

From the Canvas Network, here's a couple of suggestions, I've signed up for both of these courses:

May 5: 30 Days of TED, (about flipping your classroom or curating TED videos), provided by Canyons School District

May 5: Digital Literacies II (Web 2.0 Tools), provided by San Diego County Office of Education

MOOCs Directory: Higher Education MOOC Providers
MOOCs from Great Universities (monthly calendar provided)

Apr 7, 2014

Four steps for setting up your Sakai classes

1) You're trained-where's your course? 

Find out in the Sakai Procedures, available on our wiki or video.

2) How do you copy your course? 

Follow the import Blackboard and/or Sakai instructions.
FYI: Blackboard is gone after June 29, 2014.
Sakai Logo

3) How do you organize your course?

First, create/update your syllabus. Use it as your guide to meet your course learning objectives.  Then, use our Sakai Workshop handouts for organizing your course:

    4) Before classes start: 

    Review the Sakai Help for Students
    • Teaching Online? After the orientation request form is available, let us know if you're offering a face-to-face and/or online orientation. Email your students about their course orientation details

    Apr 4, 2014

    Why do instructors need to know about accessibility?

    Why is accessibility important? 

    What are the top three higher education accessibility complaints? 
    According to Judith Risch, Attorney, with the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, (the speaker at a recent workshop, Distance Learning and Accessibility), the three primary complaints she receives are:
    1. Inaccessible [college] web sites
    2. Inaccessible course materials
    3. Inaccessible third-party course materials

    Do instructors need to be accessibility experts? No, but...

    If a student enrolls in your course, and provides you with their Durham Tech Accommodation Plan, you must make sure all of your course materials are accessible to them.  

    What can you do now in Sakai? In the text editor:

    • Use Format to create different sized headings, instead of using bold and font size
    • Provide alternative text for images, so it can be read by a screen-reader
    • Create a Link with a descriptive title, instead of "Click here"
    • If your text is hard to see if you printed it, it's too hard to read! Change the font color or font size to one your students can easily see and read. 
    • Don't use color alone to explain a concept, for example, instead of changing the word Stop to red, bold it too, so a colorblind person knew it was important, too

     How do you make your Word, Excel, PowerPoint and pdf files accessible?

    •  It's actually pretty easy in Office 2013. They have an accessibility checker, with step by step instructions provided so you can easily update your document
    • Office 2013, 2010 and 2007 all provide ways to save your documents as pdf's, and make them accessible (it would be better to use Adobe Acrobat Professional if you have it).
    What about audio and multimedia (videos)?
    • If a student can't hear, they will need a transcript for your audio/video files
    • If a student can't hear, they may also need a caption for video files
    • Portland Community College provides excellent tips for finding captioned videos in YouTube and Google Video, and for creating transcripts and captions
    Who can you contact to provide direction, when making your course accessible?
    Contact Durham Tech's disability services at disabilityservices@durhamtech.edu ; for Sakai content, contact sakaihelp@durhamtech.edu

    FYI: The workshop "Distance Learning and Accessibility",  was held on March 11, 2014, and was sponsored by the North Carolina Association on Higher Education and Disability (NC AHEAD) and the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) Office. 

    What is Universal Design for Learning? 
    From Penn State: Video Captions and Audio Transcripts
    From YouTube: Captions