Collaborate and Get Work Done with Office 365 Groups

Do you have a team project or group assignment? Need to coordinate information and documents with other people? Not always in the same place at the same time?

Office 365 Groups was designed for collaboration. It’s available within Office 365 right alongside your Lesley email, your calendar and OneDrive. Create an Office 365 group and provide your team with a shared email inbox, calendar, space to share documents and a OneNote notebook. It’s a great place to work out project plans, collaborate on documents and make sure everyone is in the loop.

Get started using Office 365 groups by logging into Office 365 at http://lesley.edu/email and watch these Atomic Learning video tutorials for quick how to information.

 

Blended Learning Case Studies: The Case of the Missed Discussion

During Pump Up Your Pedagogy week, eLIS instructional designers, John McCormick and Jaclyn Travis, presented a workshop for faculty on strategies for creating blended learning activities. Faculty worked through a problem cases together to come up with solutions for common instructional challenges. Below is the case of the missed lecture and a few potential solutions to the problem. Below is the second case faculty reviewed, the missed class discussion due to snow days, and some potential solutions.

 

The Case:
Professor Michael Sanchez frequently uses small-group and whole-class discussion to engage students in the content of his undergraduate business course. His course meets once a week for 2.5 hours, and due to recent snowstorms, they have now missed two classes in a row. There is one week before the class next meets.

Michael would like his students to engage with each other on the topic of best practices in managing organizations, rather than doing only individual assignments, since it will have been three full weeks of working on their own by the time they next meet. How might you advise him on using the online environment to facilitate discussion in a class of 25 students? How would you recommend he subsequently uses the next face-to-face class?

The Problem:
The students will not have met for 3 weeks unless the online environment is used before the next face-to-face class. The professor’s goal is that his 25 students engage collaboratively on the topic of best practices in managing organizations.

Solution(s):
Because of the large number of students, small groups will have to be a component of any solution. It would be ill-advised to attempt a large online group meeting, whether it be live or asynchronous. Online discussions with this many students would be unwieldy and live sessions would be both difficult to schedule and challenging to achieve the type of engagement one might expect in a face-to-face situation.

A good solution would involve breaking the class into small groups of 3-6. Ideally, students should engage on the topic in an authentic way, so moving beyond a wide-ranging discussion around best practices in managing organizations towards a more articulated, applied activity might work well. For example, each student group could be given a case or problem-like scenario to work on. Groups can then share out their solutions in a common location online, either using text-based or voice-based technology tools. The next face-to-face class could include Q and A or discussion around those solutions.

Blended Learning Case Studies: The Case of the Missed Lecture

Last week, eLIS instructional designers, John McCormick and Jaclyn Travis, presented a workshop for faculty on strategies for creating blended learning activities. Faculty worked through a problem cases together to come up with solutions for common instructional challenges. Below is the case of the missed lecture and a few potential solutions to the problem. Over the next couple of weeks we will review the cases and present potential solutions including strategies for preparing for snow days.

The Case:
Professor Sara Brown teaches an introductory level sociology course to undergraduate students. The course meets once per week for roughly 3 hours, and class time combines a mix of lectures, full-class discussion and group activities. In the third week of the course, Sara’s class is cancelled due to inclement weather.

Fortunately, there is no substantial group activity planned for week three, and Sara already has her students using BlackBoard for online discussion, so she feels they can easily make up missed class discussion time on the course site. However, in the lecture portion of week three, Sara planned to introduce fundamental, but rather complex, sociology concepts, and she strongly believes the students’ comprehension of course content will suffer if this lecture gets skipped.

How can Sara use the course site (and other online resources or tools if applicable) to deliver the lecture content to students? Also, how can he use the following week’s meeting to ensure this online piece is integrated with the rest of the course? Keep in mind that this lecture was supposed to contain complex content that some students may not be prepared to digest on their own.

The Problem:
Students have missed one week which includes lecture and full-class discussion. It is critically important that students gain an understanding of the lecture material, which includes complex sociology concepts.

It is important that the solution to this challenge include a way to check comprehension of the lecture, which the instructor has stated is very important to the course. It’s difficult to tell if and how the discussion activity was intended to integrate with the lecture for the week.

Solution(s):
The delivery of the lecture can be delivered in a similar way in the online environment. For example, she could use VoiceThread, which allows voice-over recording of slides. This is recommended over video recording of the instructor because of the difficulty in obtaining high-quality performances of a “talking-head” videos and because VoiceThread is based on slides that the instructor may already have created.

Checking lecture comprehension: There are several options available. Students could be required or allowed to ask questions based on the lecture, or in other ways respond to the content. This could happen online and/or in the next face-to-face meeting. A useful option may be to ask students to post responses or questions to the lecture, either within VoiceThread or within a dedicated discussion board or blog. Decisions on which tool to use for this depend on the number of students, the volume of the contributions, and the instructors’ comfort with the various tools. The responses and questions should give the instructor an initial idea of learners’ level of comprehension. The instructor could then plan the face-to-face follow-up with this knowledge. Depending upon the nature of the content and the instructor’s teaching style, she could then have students discuss the most challenging or misunderstood concepts and ideas in small groups or as a class, or she could ask them to write something brief that might serve as a comprehension check.

Discussion: The discussion could take place entirely online or could be blended across the two environments. As with all online discussions, the discussion prompt and guidelines will have to be outlined to help the discussion flow well without the constant presence of the instructor. One option is to create small online groups and have them post a summary to a separate discussion thread. The instructor can again use this information to plan a potential follow-up activity for the next classroom meeting. The face-to-face meeting could take the discussion deeper and the instructor can highlight or pull pieces of the online discussion as a catalyst for further in-class work.

Note: Giving credit for or grading required online portions of the work is good practice when blended learning. It shows that the instructor values time spent in the online environment.

Instructional Continuity – Flipping Your Classroom

The early months of 2015 saw record-breaking snowfall in the Boston area, causing wide-spread school closings. What do you do when you need to cancel class or the university is closed for inclement weather or a flu outbreak? How do you ensure that your students don’t fall behind?

In this third post in our Instructional Continuity series, we’ll explore some ideas and strategies faculty have used for flipping their classroom.

What is a Flipped Classroom?
The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model where faculty deliver instruction online, outside of class. This could take on many forms, including directing your students to existing tutorials, recording mini lectures from your webcam, and creating quick screencasts. A flipped classroom doesn’t need to be an all or nothing approach – you can use pieces of the flipped classroom idea to make up for lost class time.

Looking to replicate a classroom lecture? Try using online tutorials and trainings. Khan Academy offers instructional videos and practice exercises on a number of subjects, including math, science, arts, humanities, computing, and more.

I made extensive use of Khan Academy, which has a massive library of math videos (as well as other topics) as well as self-correcting exercise sets to accompany many topics. All students were required to establish a free account at Khan Academy, which allowed me to monitor the time they spent viewing videos and doing each problem in the exercise set, along with whether they got problems right or wrong.
Jim O’Keefe
CLAS/NSM

Do your students need to learn a technology tool, such as Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, Skype for Business, video editing tools, or more? Trainings and tutorials are available online at Atomic Learning (you will need to log in with your myLesley username and password).

Looking to step up the technology a bit? Create your own online tutorial or demonstrate a process using a screencast tool such as Screencast-O-Matic or SnagIt.

The course I was teaching required that students learn quite a few technology tools (like Google Sites and Inspiration).  I was able to teach them to use the technology through creating videos for them, focusing them on resources within Atomic Learning, and using screencast tools.
Linda Mensing Triplett
Graduate School of Education

Do you want to record a mini lecture? Use Kaltura to create a webcam recording to introduce a new topic, explain a concept from the readings, or provide additional information about an assignment. Or find an existing video lesson online at TED-Ed.

Looking for more ideas for flipped classrooms?

Looking for more ideas? Visit Planning for Instructional Continuity for guidelines on creating an emergency plan for your course.

Instructional Continuity – Moving Content Online

The early months of 2015 saw record-breaking snowfall in the Boston area, causing wide-spread school closings. What do you do when you need to cancel class or the university is closed for inclement weather or a flu outbreak? How do you ensure that your students don’t fall behind?

In this second post in our Instructional Continuity series, we’ll explore some ideas and strategies faculty have used for moving content online.

Uploading Content to myLesley
As you plan ahead for the possibility of storm closings, you may want to think about moving some of your content online. Uploading content online is not only useful for storm preparations, but also a convenient place to store your course content so that you and your students can access it easily throughout the term.

I added content to the course in My Lesley each week for the 3 weeks when class was canceled.  Each week I did something different including: a short voice recording of me explaining a concept from one of the assigned readings, short written lecture type post on the class topic for the week, and, for one week, I posted a selection of media on the topic and asked students to review one (a report, 2 videos, a list of websites, article) in lieu of class meeting.
Jennifer Hart
Expressive Therapies GSAS

Upload your syllabus to myLesley. Think about including some information in your syllabus about how class will be handled in the case of illness or emergency cancellations.

Do you typically hand out readings or email documents to your students? Upload your documents to myLesley. Does the content already exist online? Link to it from your course.

Do you show PowerPoint presentations in class? Upload copies of your presentations to myLesley. Looking to bring your presentation to the next level? Use VoiceThread to add voice or video narration.

Looking to step up the technology a bit? Use Kaltura to create a webcam recording to introduce a new topic, explain a concept from the readings, or provide additional information about an assignment.

Moving Assignments Online
As in face-to-face instruction, online assignments take many different forms.

I put my class assignments online.  Students were held accountable for reading through discussion board questions and assignments.  In addition, class discussions were translated to journal assignments or discussion boards.
Joshua Baldwin
Social Sciences

Do you regularly have your students participate in class discussions? Try using the myLesley Discussion Board to replace or enhance classroom discussion.

Do your regularly have your students reflect on their readings or assignments? Try using the myLesley Blogs or Journals.

Do your students need to turn in papers or other written assignments? Try using the myLesley Assignment tool. You can post, collect, and grade the assignment all from within myLesley.

Looking for more ideas? Visit Planning for Instructional Continuity for guidelines on creating an emergency plan for your course. And stay tuned for next week’s Instructional Continuity blog post. To view all posts in this series, go to http://www.lesleyelis.com/elisblog/category/snowdays