The words “college student” evoke an image of a fresh-faced youth, eager to take in their first years of independence in the dorms of a university, and pursue their education to begin a career. Indeed, the description of a “traditional” student is a first-time college attendee under 25 years of age, financially dependent upon parents, living on campus and taking courses full-time (National Center for Education Statistics; Silver, Bourke, & Strehorn, 1998). [Read more…]
This week is Fair Use Week, a dedicated time to promote and discuss the opportunities Fair Use gives us in our daily activities. Fair Use is probably the most powerful component of U.S. Copyright law, and the most misunderstood. Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act describes Fair Use as a limitation on the exclusive rights of copyright holders for purposes such as “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research.” Fair Use is often referred to as the breathing space for free speech, free inquiry, and the open exchange of ideas in copyright law – the Supreme Court has explicitly recognized this as a “First Amendment safeguard.” It’s what allows us to include quotations from published sources in our scholarship, share Youtube videos with our friends on Facebook, record episodes on our DVR for later, and read interesting fan fiction. And, it’s one of best tools to have in your pocket when designing an online course (see Fair Use in a Day in the Life of a College Student).
Melanie Reyes, MSW Online Program Coordinator for the School of Social Work, in her Faculty Showcase video, “The Wide World of Videos” discusses how the School of Social work uses videos to introduce faculty and staff, present field internship expectations and training, build student engagement, and connect with subject matter experts to deliver course content. Ms. Reyes presented departmental best practices and considerations for using videos in online courses. Watch, enjoy, and learn!
Easy course navigation is a critical component of a great online course. According to Quality Matters (QM), an organization dedicated to improving online course quality, one of the requirements for a QM certified course is that the, “Course navigation facilitates ease of use” (QM Standard 8.1), adding, “Navigation throughout the course [should be] consistent, logical, and efficient.” Reducing the amount of scrolling, clicking, and searching means your students can spend more time learning the content and they’ll miss fewer critical details like assignment requirements and due dates, resulting in a better overall experience for both students and instructors. Here are nine ways to improve your students’ ability to get where they need to go. [Read more…]
With accessibility to online education increasing, the retention of online students has become a concern of academic leaders in higher education (Allen & Seaman, 2015). As a result, many universities have launched initiatives to improve course completion, program completion, and student support services (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2015). Although many causes for students withdrawing from an online course are beyond the realm of instructor control, retention and attrition can be reduced through various means. [Read more…]
Blackboard is the learning management system used at Arizona State University. A learning management system is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of face to face, blended, and completely online education courses.
Note: This is a highly interactive article! Please click on all of the hyperlinks. They either take you to the game mentioned OR to an article about the game’s use in education.
The Games for Change (G4C) Festival in New York City has come a long way over the past few years. When I started attending the conference in 2010, the emphasis on using games to educate was at the periphery, not because attendees didn’t believe in the potential of games in the learning space, but because the money simply wasn’t there to create commercial quality learning games. There also wasn’t universal support for the idea that learning could be fun. (“They are having too much fun to be learning.”)
With finals week coming to an end and grading about to be completed, it is only natural to make a mad dash for the door and enjoy a well-deserved break. There is no question that we all need a break to relax and find inspiration, but before heading out, keep in mind that there is a good chance that you will have to return and teach the same or a similar course again. To save time in the future and perhaps “tweak” some elements of the course, consider the following five things successful instructors do when the semester is over.
1. Reflect on the Course
Reflection is not only an important aspect of student learning but also offers an opportunity for faculty to seek insights from past teaching experiences. At the end-of-the semester, when the memories are still fresh, take a few moments to reflect on the course (e.g., what went well, what did not?). It is helpful to write down a few notes to avoid forgetting important details over the break. As an alternative, one can also discuss the course with a colleague, a friend, or instructional support at the university.
2. Make a Plan
As an essential part of reflection, certain topics or issues emerge that one would like to address in future courses. Since there might be multiple options or solutions, it is good to brainstorm on potential actions one might undertake. Occasionally, this might require talking to others or finding additional information and resources. Then, it is time to select an option and make a plan! One recommended method is to identify required steps and develop a timeline (e.g., What are some steps that need to be done? By what time?). Depending on the number of topics, it might be necessary to prioritize.
3. Archive the Course
Many Learning Management Systems (LMS) provide the option to archive a course which could come in handy when teaching again. Instead of starting from scratch, one has a version that is already developed and potentially reusable. The archived course is also a good place to make any changes without impacting enrolled students. Additionally, many universities are now making teaching portfolios a critical component of degree programs or tenure requirements. Certain LMS allow to share the archived versions without revealing confidential student information.
4. Ask Students for Permission
Student artifacts are a powerful and helpful resource that can be used as a model for future students or as proof of student learning. To avoid any privacy or copyright concerns, the end-of-the-semester is a good time to ask students for their written permission for sharing those artifacts with outsiders.
5. Take Time Off
Although it might be tempting to continuously “tweak” a course, it is also important to relax and focus on other aspects of life. Taking time off generally helps to finds new inspiration and motivation for the next semester. It is completely fine to avoid thinking about teaching for some time to find time to read a book or explore places… as long as one remembers that the next semester is right around the corner.
Do you do anything at the end-of-the-semester that helps with your future teaching? Please share your tips with our community.
About 40 staff members at Arizona State University have the words Instructional Design or Instructional Designer in their job title. Even though there are a lot of them about (and some have been at ASU for quite a long time), for many of us, the full range of what Instructional Designers do may be unknown. We asked a large group of ASU Instructional Designers and Technologists to tell us about the work they do and here is what we discovered.
ASU Online accomplishments in 2012.