Thursday, April 17, 2014

Rubrics!

In the world of assessment, there are few tools with as much power and mutual benefit to both teachers and learners as the rubric!

Does the idea of using a rubric leave you a little mystified? Puzzle no more! HERE is a fabulous guide that will have you up and running in no time!

Of course, that's not ALL there is to say about great rubric design and how they impact learning outcomes. Anyone wanting to take a deeper look is encouraged to read Introduction to Rubrics: An Assessment tool to Save Grading Time, Convey Effective Feedback and Promote Student Learning.

We'll be hosting workshops this summer and fall that cover both great design AND cool tools for rubric design. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Staggering Literacy Data Infographic

Infographics are a great way to present data. This one is sobering; the presentation really helps bring home the story told by the numbers, don't you think?

We can help you make infographics! Email me if you're interested!

Friday, April 11, 2014

APP Mania: Workflowy

Every once in awhile, an app floats along that changes your life. Changes EVERYTHING! Picks you up by the feet, rattles upside down until everything falls out and then puts everything neatly back together better than it ever was before. Most recently, that app was Workflowy.

It's difficult to articulate but with Workflowy, it's simplicity is its power. It's easily the most accessible and easily learned app I've seen yet. And yet its power to contain, organize and SERVE every single detail of your life is frankly breathaking.

You begin your (free) account with a blank page. Then you make lists, which become category headers in function. Mine began with WORK  and PERSONAL but I later added SCHOOL rather than wrap in under my personal heading. Within each list, I can sublist ... and sublist and sublist. So within each, I have a TO DO list and several lists within each of those. Then WORKSHOP IDEAS, BOOKS TO READ and a quickly growing LIST of everything relevant to every aspect of my life. If I taught several courses, I  can easily see having a list for each course that included content links, organization, notes, design structure and records as well as lists for research projects, service projects and writing endeavors. There is literally nothing that can't be fit into one of these lists. So finally, a centralized repository of information related to your life in an easily accessed (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop) format and free to lightweight users.

And it works like a calendar! Because you can tag each item for later recall by search, I tag deadlines with the date in this format #041114 (for April 11, 2014). Then each morning, I can recall my day's deadlines by tag search on that date and suddenly everything I need to do for work, home OR school are all combined into one easy list for me to review and work through. As I complete tasks they can disappear (or be brought back). And I can set reminders by adding multiple date tags. So if I want to be reminded of a deadline a week in advance, I can tag #041114 #040414 and get a reminder on the 4th of April about the deadline on the 11th.

You can also share individual lists (by section, keeping the entirety of your list private) via link for viewing and/or editing by collaborators. And the new capabilities are being added all the time! I can easily see that I won't be able to function without Workflowy to keep me organized from now on.

I am also using Workflowy to organize my curriculum design by course, by module and by activity. Imagine how many ways that this tool could help in both teaching and learning in every subject area! Perhaps we should begin a list ...

(This is an authentic user review for which I receive absolutely no compensation or acknowledgement of any kind. The APPMania series will feature apps that enhance productivity, the teaching and learning process—or BOTH!)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I Will Not Die an Unlived Life

I am just finishing up the last week of this semester's Power Through Series, an experience I have grown to love and savor. Each semester for the past year (and for the foreseeable future), the Power Through Series gathers faculty from across our university community into a computer lab for an eight-week series of workshops geared toward online course development. By the end of the series, I always feel I have made new friends as well as deepened my relationships with the faculty and staff I serve.

This semester, we had a strong turnout from the English Department! And they graciously hosted our series in their own Writing Center computer lab. So in homage to our beloved English Department and in honor of National Poetry Month, I share this:
“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)

And to celebrate the month, I am going to award the FIRST AAMU employee to contact me via EMAIL a $25 Amazon gift card, just for reading my blog! In order to qualify, please mention this offer in your email!