Editor’s Picks

Best Practices for Large-Enrollment Online Courses, Part I: Managing student expectations, leveraging quizzes, and reducing grading load

Whenever student enrollment capacity dramatically increases for an instructor, there are a number of common questions and concerns: How will the increased grading load be managed?  How can instructors facilitate a discussion among 100+ students? How will students receive meaningful feedback? Here are some best practices and considerations for managing high-enrollment courses that have been successful in our ASU Online courses. Continue reading

Yellowdig: A Social Learning Platform

What is Yellowdig?

Yellowdig is a social learning platform designed for higher education that integrates with any LMS. Many instructors use it instead of LMS discussion forums. 

The best part is that it’s auto-graded and auto-populates grades to your gradebook in any LMS! Students achieve points through word count and participating with common social media behavior, like “liking” or “loving” a post or posting a comment on another person’s Pin. Continue reading

Tips for Making Your Courses More Accessible

As instructors, we want to challenge our students, help them to learn and grow, and ensure they have a positive experience in our courses. We carefully develop and curate content that will engage students and help them meet our course objectives. One thing we may not consider are the challenges students with disabilities may experience when interacting with our content. Continue reading

Letting Go of Tradition: Universal Instructional Design for Adult Learners

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). Continue reading

Fair Use Week – Fair Use in Online Instruction

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).
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The Wide World of Videos!

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!

9 Ways to Make Your Course Easier to Navigate

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. Continue reading