Are my students really getting it? CATs will show you the way.

In a previous post (see Gauging Student Understanding: CATs are puuuuur-fect), we introduced instructors to the idea of using Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) by Angelo and Cross (1983) to check whether students understand a certain concept. To recap, CATs are generally short, non-graded, and student-centered activities that provide instructors with feedback about lesson effectiveness and student comprehension. Best of all, they require little preparation, class time, or grading. In the following section, we present three additional CATs and suggest ways to adapt them to online courses. Continue reading

Sample Syllabus Quiz Questions

A syllabus quiz acts as a contract to verify understanding of important elements of the syllabus. The purpose of a syllabus quiz is not only to familiarize students with the syllabus content, but also gives students a chance to reflect on questions that were asked in previous terms. This helps the instructor avoid answering the same questions repeatedly, and a syllabus quiz can ensure that students are responsible for their own learning.

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Setting the Stage for Meaningful Peer-to-Peer Feedback

Although many instructors integrate group-based or team-based learning activities into their teaching (see TeachOnline post on The Value of Group Work), getting students to actually provide meaningful peer-to-peer feedback can be challenging. Too often, cultural norms or fears of potential social backlash make students veer away from critiquing each other in a group setting or an online discussion forum. As a result, peers often do not know how to provide meaningful feedback and tend to fall back on statements, such as “I agree with what s/he said!” or the infamous Facebook-popularized, “I like it!”

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Videos in the Classroom: Is That Really Active Learning?

This is the second article in a series on Active Learning. Click here to read an earlier TeachOnline blog post on how active learning promotes student success.

Videos are considered an especially effective way to present information while also addressing multiple learning styles. However, today’s students are often viewed as passive consumers of content. It is reported that a typical high school or college-age student spends, on the average, about five hours a day watching television, movies, and other online content. (Nielsen, 2013) To address this trend and encourage increased student engagement, instructors have begun to incorporate active learning strategies into face-to-face classroom and online instruction.

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Assessments with Rubrics

Assessing students’ work is a common activity in the life of any instructor, and depending on the number of students and type of assignment, can be a long and tedious process. Even after sharing grades and posting feedback, students are often interested in how the instructor arrived at a certain point value or score. Consequently, instructors often spend additional time answering students’ questions to “justify” their assessments.

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Video Conferencing for Synchronous Sessions – Food for Thought

“Synchronous video interaction can make learning more personal by providing a close approximation of the human, one-on-one experience…” (Educause, 2013)

people-in-a-roomOne of the most exciting aspects of video conferencing technology is the ability to conduct your class in real-time, regardless of location. Imagine the possibilities when students from around the country or even the world can learn as if they were in the same classroom. Like all new technologies however, there are some important considerations an instructor should take into account before jumping off the deep end. Some basic preparation will allow the magic to happen without the headaches that can come with it!

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The Value of Group Work

Although most educators now recognize that the instructional paradigm has transitioned from an instructor-centered model featuring lecture as the primary means of delivering content, to a more student-center model featuring active learning to promote increased student engagement; old habits are hard to break. While we may intuitively understand why it is important for students to work collaboratively, it is often hard to find time and space in a course where students can collaborate or work in groups. Continue reading

Student Success with Video Chats on Google+ Hangouts

Christina Carrasquilla, a lecturer for ASU’s  Graphic Information Technology Program, presents the hows and whys of using Google+ Hangouts in her courses. She discusses how video chats enhance student engagement, promote social interaction, encourage course community, and lead to higher student performance and satisfaction. Using the Google+ social network for course interactions is easy. All students are given an ASU gmail account due to ASU’s partnership with Google. Why Google + Hangouts? Listen and learn!
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