Jul 7, 2015

How can you help your (online) students succeed?

Yes, ultimately, your students have to do the work, but what can you do to help them succeed?

In a 2015 Eduventures study of over 28,000 students (primarily 25+) pursuing a degree or certificate online, students self-identified themselves as either high performing or poorly performing. The students then explained what was helping or hindering them:

Masks (CC0 Public Domain)
masks-persona-duality-polarity by johnhain CC0 (Public Domain)
  • High performing students said they were succeeding when they had clear course objectives, easy-to-use technology, and their courses had the right pace. 
  • Poorly performing students said that distractions from family and personal obligations were the largest factor holding them back. The next three issues negatively affecting their performance were course pace (too fast/can't keep up), lack of interest/motivation, and unclear course objectives/expectations.
What can you do to help your students with your course? 
  • You can carefully review your course using online course guidelines to make sure your course content and delivery matches the course objectives.
  • Use best practices for creating activities with Sakai, your Learning Management System (LMS). Not familiar with creating Sakai activities? Register for the online Intermediate Sakai course to find out the best ways to create discussions, assignments and tests. 
What can you do to quickly find out who is falling behind?
  • Add the User Activity tool or Statistics tool
  • With the User Activity tool, you can see at a glance who has not logged on or submitted an activity lately. Or you can click on a student's name, to find out what they've actually been doing, such as trying to take a test, without submitting it.
Help for Students is Available: 

    May 21, 2015

    Starting May/June/July: Free (MOOC) Courses for Teachers and Educators

    I've found a few excellent MOOC's (Massive Online Open Classes) starting in May, June and July, that are free and easy to register for. Most courses are a few weeks, others are longer. You decide how much you want to contribute to your course, too.

    I really have enjoyed my courses at Coursera and Canvas.net, so check out the courses listed below. Even though they don't offer classes very often,  I've liked courses I've taken from Open2Study. I haven't taken edX courses-but they are supposed to be excellent MIT, Harvard, and other university courses, and the May 27 course has gotten my attention, about teaching with Open Educational Resources (OER).


    May 20, 2015

    Our Favorite Tech Tools: Featuring Video Creation

    This year's Favorite Tech Tools focused on videos, with ideas for locating them, customizing them and creating your own. One of our instructors, Robert Ballard, showed us how he uses Zaption, a free online tool,  to add questions into videos he created for his Automotive hybrid classes. Why did he like Zaption? 

    • He uploaded his own videos, added questions throughout his videos, and provided his students with the links to his Zaption video "tours". (You can also use videos from YouTube, TED-Ed and more.)
    • While watching the videos, students were asked the questions he added and students submitted their answers. All student participation and responses were recorded. Robert could then find out who watched the videos, for how long, and he could easily review their answers. 
    • Want to learn more? Here's our list of our Favorite Tech Tools resources and you can register for the Zaption  workshop and additional video creation workshops.
    We mentioned TED-Ed since the educational videos are professionally created, but when creating their video lessons, you have to ask your questions after the video, not during the video. 

    Next we discussed and demoed video creation apps

    • Doceri (free for iPads and Windows tablets) and
    • Explain Everything ($2.99 and for iPad/iPhone, Android tablet/phone, Windows 8 tablet)
    Both apps provide the ability to record your drawings and narrate your video. Plus with Explain Everything you can draw on documents, videos, and web pages; you can easily move objects around,  zoom in, and finally, you can export your video to Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive and of course YouTube.  

    Julie Humphrey, our librarian, demonstrated Films on Demand. We have over 20,000 academic videos we can use in our classes. Here are details for finding and adding these videos to Sakai.

    Tools for Teaching: Resources for Creating Videos and PowerPoint Voiceovers  
    Register for Video Creation and PowerPoint Voiceover workshops 

    Apr 27, 2015

    What free tools can instructors use to easily create videos?

    What free tools can you use to create videos (without installing anything)?

    mybrainshark logo
    myBrainshark is a free online tool that lets you…
    • upload PowerPoint presentations to the web
    • add audio narrations to each slide (using a microphone or telephone)
    • insert poll questions along the way for students to answer and more!
    YouTube’s MyWebcam is a free tool you can use to record short videos using a web cam.

    How do instructors use their videos with their students? They..

    • introduce lessons, to emphasize what students should focus on
    • highlight important or commonly misunderstood aspects of an assignment
    • answer frequently asked questions 
    • provide Feedback: Could Video Feedback Replace the Red Pen?
    • introduce themselves to an online class
    Where are instructions for creating videos?
    • Attend the May Tech Tools TLC or Register for workshops (available this summer)  
    • Check out Tools for Teaching for instructions for using screencasting, interactive, and collaboration tools; plus you'll find links to free class materials and free online professional development courses
    Draus, P. J., Curran M. J., Trempus, M. S., (2014). The Influence of Instructor-Generated Video Content on Student Satisfaction with and Engagement in Asynchronous Online Classes. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 1 (2), pp.240-254

    Mar 24, 2015

    Hot News: Meetings (BigBlueButton) New Version Available!

    We have the latest version of Meetings (BigBlueButton), 0.9.0, of our open source, online web-conferencing tool. 

    What can you do with Meetings? You can upload files (pdf's), chat, display webcams, work with a white board, share your desktop, and share the Moderator/Presenter role with others.

    What is new?

    For Instructors/Moderators:
    Displayed upper left corner buttons: share desktop, headset, webcam and new record button
    • Stop/Start Recording: Once you start a meeting, your meeting will record from the time you press the record button to the time you press the record button again. You can start and stop the recording as many times as you like-yet only one recording will be created. 
    • Lock Viewers: You can now lock (restrict) viewers from using the following: Private Chat, Public Chat, Layout, Webcam and Microphone.    
    For all participants:
    • Meetings now highlights the web browser’s request for permission: When either Chrome or Firefox asks your permission to access your meeting -you get a big warning from Meetings, too, so you don't miss the request.
    • Audio test: Before you get into the meeting, you can also test your headset, by saying a few words.
    For students:
    • Listen Only Audio: Users can join the meeting as a listener, so they don't have to deal with getting permissions from their web browser.
    • Register for the Meetings workshop, being held March 26.
    • Want to learn how to create and use Meetings? Check out Meetings Handouts, Videos and instructions for setting up your meeting with your students-all handouts are being updated later this week for the March 26 Meetings Workshop. 
    • Want to see screen shots of the latest updates? Here's BigBlueButton's overview of the latest version of Meetings.