Atomic Learning’s Summer Session 2017

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Keep learning all summer long with Atomic Learning’s FREE summer session – professional development sent right to your inbox! Sign up now to receive a weekly email with tips and professional development topics including assessment & evaluation, online learning, instructional strategies, and more.

The 2017 Summer Session begins on Tuesday, June 14th and will continue for 8 weeks.

See 2017 Summer Session to find out more and register.

Introducing Kaltura Media’s Interactive Video Quiz

Kaltura Media’s new Interactive Video Quiz tool allows users to seamlessly embed multiple choice questions at any point in a video through a user-friendly interface. As viewers watch the video, the questions will appear at the chosen points and the video continues after each question is answered. Flexible settings allow creators to choose whether viewers can repeat sections, skip questions, revise answers, get hints, and discover the correct answers, allowing the Interactive Video Quiz to be used to increase engagement, test knowledge and retention, gather data, and more.

The following video tutorial will walk you through the process of creating an Interactive Video Quiz.

More information on creating an Interactive Video Quiz may be found here: Creating an Interactive Video Quiz.

Interested in seeing the video quiz from the student perspective? The following video tutorial will walk you through the process of taking an Interactive Video Quiz as a student.

Broken Menus After Course Copy?

In this exciting episode, Agent L helps faculty struggling with missing menu items after copying their online course.

Ben Fridayagent LBen Friday: Agent L! Online course instructors are missing menu items after copying their course! It’s a disaster!

Agent L: Ben, take a deep breath. Now, tell me what’s going on.

Ben: Okay. So the course menu on the right, is from the original course and the one on the left is from the course after it was copied into a new myLesley course. The Discussion Board, My Grades, Faculty and Technology Resources are all missing. What are we going to do!?!

two menus

Agent L: Hmmm…. I think I know what is going on. The online instructors copied their content into a blank course site where those menu items didn’t already exist. When they selected the content to copy into their course, they only checked the items they thought they needed such as the content areas and the tools they were using in their course. This seems logical, right?

Ben: Yeah. Why copy stuff you don’t need?

Agent L: Exactly. It makes sense… EXCEPT there are lots of things linked together behind the scenes in a myLesley course. One of those ‘hidden’ items is Settings, especially Navigation Settings. These are links to course tools and other types of content.

The menu items for the Discussion Board and the other missing items are just navigation links to the tool. The Discussion Board is still there. The tool link didn’t simply didn’t copy to the new course because when we left Navigation Settings unchecked we told the system we didn’t want that information.


en: Okay, that makes sense, but what do we do now? Do we have to recopy all the courses?

Agent L: No. It’s an easy fix. We can create new links to the tools. It will only take a minute or two.

Click on the + sign at the top of your course menu and select Tool Link.
Tool link

Add Tool Link OptionsEnter a Name for the tool you are linking to.
Select the tool from the Type menu.
Check Available to Users so your students can the link and click Submit.

Voila! The missing menu item is back.

Ben: That’s brilliant, Agent L! But are we going to have to recreate those links every time we copy the course?  

Agent L: No, Ben. To prevent the issue, we simply need to be a little less selective when copying our course content.

Instead of tediously going through and selecting only the items you think you want to copy, click Select All at the top. Then uncheck anything you know you absolutely don’t want. For most faculty, the only thing you want to uncheck is Announcements. The Announcements tool will still be in the new course, but then you won’t need to delete all those announcements to your students from last semester.

Course Copy Options

Ben: That’s… actually much easier.

Agent L: You’re welcome, Ben.


agent L  Learn more about copying your course and modifying the course menu at the Agent Support Site.  

The Hidden Element in Teaching: Modeling Expert Thinking

Instructors often direct students to produce assignments with very good support and guidance, such as examples of past work, a set of criteria or rubric, and detailed instructions or guiding questions. Less common is giving guidance for how students should think as they approach a task. Every discipline has a specific approach to thinking within the field [1]. For example, historians use evidence differently than other disciplines. They must weigh evidence that leads to different interpretations of historical events. They need to learn how to identify, select and use evidence in arguments [2]. In the study of literature, there are particular ways of analyzing literary texts. Novices (students), however; approach academic tasks differently than experts (instructors). Without specific guidance, they tend to use ways of thinking from earlier educational experiences, work or other life experiences. These approaches tend to be ill-suited for the discipline-specific, higher-level approaches required. The key challenge in teaching this type of thinking may be to make thinking visible.

Below are two examples from online courses at Lesley that use voice-over videos to model how the instructor approaches a task, focusing on the thinking that guides them. In the first video, instructor Wendy Hasenkamp shows students how to review a scientific article. This is from the course “Meditation and the Brain: Intro to Contemplative Neuroscience”. In the second video, instructor Lisa Spitz gives a detailed example of how one might work through a design challenge in the course “Typography I”, part of the new online “Design for User Experience” program.

Example 1


Example 2

This type of expert modeling is not the only way to support more expert-like thinking. Another example is called the “process worksheet” [3]. This can be a simple, text-based scaffold to thinking; it provides learners with steps they need to take to solve a problem or approach a learning task. It might show a series of phases with key rules of thumb or advice for how they might approach the task.

One reason that modeling expert thinking is less common as a support for students is that we often forget how we came to be experts and, as a result, it can be difficult to tease apart the details of how we approach our disciplines. This is sometimes called “the blindness of expertise”. Once we review how we approach a task, we can begin to see details that might help guide students.

For more information about modeling expertise in teaching, please contact John McCormick:


[1] Meyer, J., & Land, R. (2003). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: Linkages to ways of thinking and practising within the disciplines (pp. 412-424). Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh.

[2] Grim, V., Pace, D., & Shopkow, L. (2004). Learning to use evidence in the study of history. New directions for teaching and learning, 2004(98), 57-65.

[3] Nadolski, R. J., Kirschner, P. A., & Merriënboer, J. J. (2005). Optimizing the number of steps in learning tasks for complex skills. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 75(2), 223-237.

Student Peer Review Research and Practice: A Cross-University Collaboration

A team of faculty, staff and students presented our research on student peer review at Community of Scholars Day: “Critique Creates Community? Effects of Peer Review and Metacognitive Strategies”. Inspired by the culture of critique at Lesley’s College of Art and Design (LUCAD) and with the shared goal of improving students’ analytical writing and other assignments, three faculty gathered a team to investigate peer review methods using a research-based approach. Our background research on peer review and the results of empirical research with our own students were closely aligned, revealing the many benefits of peer review that can be achieved under specific conditions. As a result of our inquiry, we have been revising our peer review processes, excited by the improvements seen thus far and the possibility for enhanced skills in many areas. Below, we will discuss key components and benefits of the peer review protocol we first drafted in the fall of 2016 and updated this year.

Our peer review protocol is driven by the Dialogic Feedback Cycle, which, importantly, includes extensive use of metacognitive learning strategies. Critical to the peer review process is the dynamic between students’ individual (internal) processing and pairs’ external collaborative processing (see Figure 1 below). Students work both individually and with peers in order to reflect on and revise their work.  Throughout this process, the writer drives the process, first by identifying their goals and requesting specific areas for feedback, and at the end, by explaining their choices for revising their work to the instructor.

Internal-External Dynamic of Peer Review process

Figure 1

Before engaging in peer review sessions, the instructor builds an environment that prepares students to participate in a committed way to this collaborative process (Step 1). This is achieved by discussing benefits and challenges; explaining and modeling peer review; and, most importantly, creating a trusting relationship among students.  Many students dislike or distrust the peer review process based on previous experience – including concerns that peers will not take their work seriously, or that they themselves will be unable to review peers’ work satisfactorily – so discussing students’ insecurities and establishing goals aids in building trust.  Peer review sessions focus on collaborative discussion, driven by the needs of the writer. (Step 2). Following peer review sessions, students determine the most valuable feedback to revise their work, and then explain to the instructor how they used feedback in their revisions. This closes the loop on the feedback cycle (Step 3).

There is a growing realization that self-evaluation skills should be a major goal of higher education (1). Learners’ ability to effectively evaluate their own work greatly enhances their success, both in school and later in the workplace (2).  Research on peer review in higher education and our own work with our students has shown a multitude of benefits, including improvements in collaborative skills; self-confidence, understanding of subject matter;  connection with peers; metacognition; and transfer of skills beyond the classroom (3). In our study, students reported a strong connection to peers from the peer review process, which may have implications for general education and retention. As we continue to apply research to our practice in the classroom, we invite interested faculty members to join us.

If you have questions about our work or would like to join us in our research and efforts to improve teaching practice via peer review, please contact Liv Cummins (

Peer Review Team:
Research and Practice:

  • Summer Clark (Assistant Professor of Literacy Education, CLAS)
  • Liv Cummins (Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Drama, CLAS)
  • Kimberly Lowe (Assistant Professor of European History, CLAS)

Lesley student research: Casey Bogusz (CLAS)
Research lead for Lesley student research: Linda Pursley (Research and Assessment)
Background research support: John McCormick (eLIS):


  1. Boud, D., & Dochy, F. (2010). Assessment 2020. Seven propositions for assessment reform in higher education.
  2. Nicol, D. (2010). The foundation for graduate attributes: Developing self-regulation through self and peer assessment. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Scotland.
  3. Pearce, J., Mulder, R., & Baik, C. (2009). Involving students in peer review: Case studies and practical strategies for university teaching.