Design Your Own Professional Development

Friday, January 20 9AM – 12:30PM

Join eLIS for a constructivist professional development workshop in an “unconference” model to kick-start your use of technology in instruction for the Spring semester. For those unfamiliar, an unconference is an organic, participant-driven professional development event. We will gather together from 9-9:30AM to brainstorm the key topics that participants would like to cover, and then we’ll break out into three one-hour workshops based on the topics the group generates.

Examples of topics we might engage in together:

  • Designing online discussions
  • Choosing technology tools to support learning
  • Using the online environment to support learning
  • Using video and multimedia in your class

Examples of technology tools we may discuss as part of the training:

  • Blackboard Basics
  • Advanced Blackboard topics such as using rubrics or the grade center
  • Using Atomic Learning in your classes
  • Conducting a webinar with Collaborate Ultra
  • Using Kaltura for sharing video in myLesley

Registration will be required. Click here to register.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Instructional Continuity: Communicating with Your Students

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 first post in our Instructional Continuity series, we’ll explore some ideas and strategies faculty have used for communicating with students and replicating classroom discussions during school closures.

Synchronous Communication
Class has been cancelled but you and your students are still available to meet, albeit remotely. The solution? How about a conference call? You can use a free conference call number (such as freeconferencecall.com) to connect with all of your students at once.

I scheduled a conference call during which we talked in real-time about some of the course content; I explained several concepts, and gave the students opportunities to discuss them.  It wasn’t perfect, of course, but students later told me they were glad there were ways for us to keep in touch during all those snow cancellations.

Donna Halper
Business Management and Communication

Looking to step up the technology a bit? Try scheduling an online meeting via Skype for Business (Lync). Skype for Business allows you to create an online meeting where you may communicate with your students, present information, or share your screen.

Please note that in the case of widespread power outages students may have limited internet and/or phone access. If this is the case you may want to try some asynchronous options.

Asynchronous Communication
Instead of meeting in real time, you may choose to hold your conversations asynchronously. Unlike a synchronous tool, asynchronous activities take place when it is convenient for each person. Some ideas for asynchronous communication include email and online discussions.

Email is a great way to keep in touch with your students. You may send emails to all of your students, groups of students, or individual students.

Some students could not come in [because of the weather], but class was never cancelled. For students who could not make the commute I gave alternate assignments via email.
Lynette Cassel
Expressive Therapies GSAS

Use the Send Email tool in myLesley to send messages to your students without ever leaving the course.

Looking to have a more in-depth conversation? The myLesley Discussion Board allows you to replace or enhance classroom discussions in a digital format. Discussions can serve as an online meeting place, a place for collaboration, or a way to demonstrate the understanding or application of course material.

I assigned students a reading response in the course discussion board.  They were responsible for exploring a movement therapy concept in the theme of movement observation.  After completing the readings I had them move through these themes on their own, look for visual images that reflected their experience and post these images into the discussion board.  They had to post these images with a description of their body experience and how that shaped their understanding of the concept.  They then had to respond to at least 2 other peer comments.
Valerie Blanc
Expressive Therapies GSAS

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.

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