myLesley Tips & Tricks with Nick Pietrowski

getting_startedTalking with many faculty, myLesley can be seen more as a barrier than a tool for success. I am going to share with you four tips and tricks I have learned through my experience about myLesley. You will see a common theme of improving efficiency, particularly no longer having to enter grades twice.

Use the Journal Function in myLesley
As many of you, I use journaling in my courses. The problem with traditional journaling is we are not able to know what the students write until class is over. If you post a journal in myLesley you are able to check it before class. This also saves you from having to enter the grades twice. You are able to grade journals as you read them in Bb reducing human error.

Use the BlackBoard App
When I say I check journals right before class, I may be reading them as I am walking into University Hall. This is most likely when I am making a group comment about what the class may be nervous about at midterm and finals time.

Wikipedia turned some people in higher education off to using wikis. They are valuable! You can have students create stories or lab reports in a wiki. Wikis are about collaboration. The great thing is that you can grade them right in myLesley so there is no double grading.

Some faculty give quizzes on the reading in their courses. You lose an hour and forty five minutes of instruction time in a semester if you give seven quizzes that take 15 minutes! That is a little over half of a full class time. I recommend doing something similar to quizzes in myLesley, Reading Checks. They are multiple choice, not timed, and students must complete them in one sitting. I have talked to many students and they agree that one must read before taking a reading check even if it is untimed because it will take them longer to find the answers if they do not. One of the great things about Reading Check or Quizzes in my Lesley is they self grade and automatically enter into the gradebook so you do not have to double enter grades.

These four things are the short list of how I have been able to improve my courses in myLesley. There are many things I have learned through my online, hybrid and face-to-face experiences that I hope to share with you in the future.

Nick Pietrowski

Senior Lecturer at Lesley University

29th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning

distance conf banner 2013Instructional designers Sarah Krongard and John McCormick of Lesley’s eLearning and Instructional Support group (eLIS) will be conducting a three-hour workshop on the design of online collaborative learning activities at the 29th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning in Madison Wisconsin this summer.  Recognized internationally for the quality and integrity of its program, the conference provides an exchange of current resources, research, and best practices that are relevant to the design and delivery of distance education.  Last year’s conference included over 800 attendees and representation from 21 countries.  Sarah and John look forward to sharing the ideas and new thinking gleaned from the event!