Wednesday, July 23, 2014

FREE WEBINAR: Designing & Assessing Discussion Questions

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC, formerly Sloan Consortium) is offering a free webinar called, "Best Practices for Designing and Assessing Online Discussion Questions" for both OLC members AND nonmembers.

Discussion boards are arguably the most critical component of an online teaching and learning strategy and can be tricky to designmanage and assess when learner participation is evaluated for final grade. And how does an instructor ideally give/receive the integral FEEDBACK that is critical to sound assessment strategies? (Because effective feedback assesses both learning AND teaching!)

Let's attend and find out!  Sign up HERE!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Moment to Reflect

A new feature of the blog! In addition to Moments in Meme and Funny Fridays, we'll start sharing some moments of reflection meant to inspire us to look inward to renew our spirits and freshen our outlook on the challenges we face. Great way to get conversation going with your own learners and to help ground them for the challenges they will face in your teaching environment. An introductory discussion about teamwork and personal commitment can be time well spent when you have built a course around collaborative exploration of your topic!
I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

(Dawna Markova)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Word Crimes

Now who wouldn't love an English grammar lesson set to the tune of a top-40 hit?

(Don't forget that you can view full screen by clicking the tiny cornered box icon in the lower right of the video frame!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"Every Kid Needs a Champion"

I was immediately disheartened when this headline caught my eye:

But with a thorough read of the article linked, I discovered that while the headline erroneously blamed educational technology for growing achievement gaps, the article itself clearly described the value of human interaction in complement to educational technology access. The academic technology did not impede nor damage outcomes for either group. It was the lack (or presence) of human engagement that should have been highlighted as the key difference in learning outcomes for the learner groups being discussed.

More and more often, we find research like this that supports the importance of human relationships with instructors, mentors and peers in supporting teaching and learning with technology. So many institutions believe in blind faith that merely acquiring technology will shift learning outcomes. But those who have tried that approach and been left with unchanged or declining outcomes are left scratching their heads and wondering where they went wrong.

Simply put: to be successfully implemented, academic technology must be used to enhance engagement, not replace it. Just ask Rita Pierson, TED-talker who asserts in this talk that, "Every kid needs a champion." For those of us in higher education, that applies to every learner, regardless of age.