elearning

Online, in the classrooms, and behind the camera.

course dev-02

October 14, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Infographics in the classroom

 Infographics – unexplored yet powerful, especially for learners who prefer to learn visually. Here is some help to effectively use them in our instruction.

Infographics can capture large amounts of data and succinctly display information statistically, relationally, chronologically, thematically, etc. They can be an effective way to display and focus in on trends.

Infographics are visual images such as charts or diagrams used to represent information or data. Here are a few websites that collect infographics and illustrate a variety of examples.

Here are some examples in which they could be used in instruction. Depending on your course and objectives, you may modify these to fit your needs.

Example #1. Language or ESL Course. Search for infographics online, choose one and write a short essay describing it in your own words.

Example #2. Communications Course. Given an infographic, describe strategies used to convey information graphically and evaluate why the strategies were or were not effective.

Example #3. Graphic/Multimedia/Communication Design or Statistics Course. Research a topic which uses statistics and/or relationships and create an infographic to better illustrate them.

For example #3, you may recommend that one of the following tools be used to create the infographic.

eval and assess

October 14, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Grading student work: Blackboard grade center

Timely feedback and grading of student work is primarily for: administrative purposes, providing student feedback of progress in the course, guidance for accomplishment of skills required for future coursework, and student motivation. Using the grade center to record and communicate students progress in a course is a university requirement. When grades are recorded using grade center students can view assignment grades and instructor comments using the “MyGrades” option located in their course.

The Blackboard Grade Center functions like a spreadsheet. There are rows for each student and columns for communicating individual assignment grades and providing feedback. Grades can be recorded for assignments submitted using Blackboard assignment submission functions or for papers physically submitted to the instructor in the classroom.

Options for recording student grades include manually recording a grade for an assignment by creating a grade column or setting up an assignment for submission using Blackboard course assignment settings. To learn more about setting up the Blackboard Grade Center review the tutorial material available on the LTU eHelp Blackboard 9.1, Blackboard for Faculty.

When recording student grades you have the option to include feedback to assist students with understanding the grade recorded, improving their skills, and how to be more effective in future assignments. Aligning the feedback with the assignment requirements closes the gap between current and future student performance. Blackboard Grade Center provides the option to add comments for all graded assignments. Each graded item has the option to enter text comments. To learn more about providing student feedback using the grade center and how students view instructor comments reference the LTU eHelp Faculty Grading Assignments.

classroom-tech

October 14, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Projector Housekeeping

While some of our newer classroom projectors are capable of shutting down automatically at the lack of a video signal, most projectors depend on your help. The best way for faculty to help care for the classroom projectors is to turn them off when they are not needed. Most projectors require a new lamp after 2000 hours of use. By simply turning the projectors off, we can extend the life of the lamps while reducing energy usage. A working lamp may be the most obvious benefit of turning off a projector after its use, but this action also prolongs the life of other critical, less visible components.
The lamp of a functioning projector heats up its housing and the surrounding components significantly. To keep those internal components at a safe operating temperature, projectors are equipped with fans that suck in cooler air from outside the machine and push the hot air out another. The entering air passes through a filter to prevent airborne particles from damaging or clouding the lamp. We clean those filters at the end of every semester. The longer a projector runs, the more dust accumulates on its filter by cleaning time. The more dust accumulates on the filter, the less air travels through the projector to cool it. Reduced air movement not only shortens the life of the lamp, but it could also lead to failure of the electronics that make the projector work.
Everyone is conscious about saving energy these days, but it’s important to save our valuable equipment, too. When you turn off the light when leaving a classroom, make sure you also remember to turn off the light in the projector.
dr larry 2-02

October 14, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Dear Dr. Larry

Dear Dr. Larry is a regular column. Faculty and students can submit questions to Dr. Larry by emailing elearning@ltu.edu. Dr. Larry will answer each month with leading-edge, witty, insightful responses.

Dear Dr. Larry,

My department is in the midst of our accreditation efforts.  We are juggling many tasks: reviewing our course objectives, documenting our assessments, gathering samples of student work, etc.  While all this is challenging and takes time, one of the most difficult tasks is turning out to be scheduling our meetings.  We exchange emails with possible meeting times, but by the time everyone replies, many of those options are gone.  There has be to a better way!

Sincerely,

Can’t Make a Meeting

Dear Meeting,

Scheduling a meeting nowadays can take more time than the meeting itself.  Here at LTU, we are fortunate to be a Google Apps for Education institution.  That means we have the power of Google Calendar to help.  If you want to schedule an event at a time that works for all of your guests, use “Find a time” in Google Calendar.

This feature only works if your guests have shared their calendar with you or if their calendars are public.

1. Sign in to Google Calendar.
2. Find an existing event or create a new one.
3. Click the “Find a time” link.
4. Enter the email addresses of your guests in the box on the right.  Remember, your guests will need to have granted you access to their calendar for this to work.
5. Your guests’ calendars will appear (it may show only “busy” but that’s okay, just means that the detail of their event is private) and you can pick a time that works for everyone.  You can compare up to 20 schedules at a time.

Once you find a time that works for everyone, you can send out an invitation to everyone and voila’ your meeting is scheduled.

Check out these links for more information

Best wishes for better projects and happy students, and to your messages always being received!

Dr. Larry

course dev-02

September 19, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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How to design for virtual team projects

Creative ways to design and facilitate virtual team projects

eLearning Services held a meeting last month focusing on virtual team projects. During the meeting, eLearning staff and faculty members discussed how to facilitate virtual meetings and the best technologies and strategies to use.

Virtual team projects allow students to enhance their interpersonal and team skills as well as their presentation and communication skills. These projects also allow students to gain an awareness of different cultural and discipline-specific perspectives.

The challenge many faculty run into is how to design and facilitate the virtual projects and teams. When designing your team project, it is helpful to draw a schematic of how the project will evolve over time. This could include specific milestones, peer evaluations, and grading criteria. In the example, you can see that there are four milestones prior to the final project presentation – two of these being peer evaluations.

 Print

When designing team project guidelines, you’ll want to indicate the objectives and communicate the final learning outcomes for the students. Think about team roles, how the students will be assessed (as a group or individually), and the kind of peer evaluations you want to use.

Facilitating team projects is important for the success of virtual projects. It is important to model effective teamwork, be a guide for the team, and provide positive encouragement. Be proactive early on and try to stay proactive throughout the project. Anticipate student questions, and monitor student discussion posts at least weekly. This will help you solve student issues as they arise. Below are some examples of common questions and concerns that may come up.

Slide1

Lawrence Tech offers a couple of different tools that can help support and assess virtual team projects. Blackboard includes groups with private discussion boards, journals, blogs, wikis, file exchange capabilities, email, and the virtual collaboration tool Wimba (soon to be replaced by Collaborate). Google offers Google Drive for file sharing, and Google Hangouts so students can meet virtually.

Each tool offers different advantages and disadvantages that you’ll need to consider when selecting the best tool for the virtual team project. You’ll need to consider time zones for live meetings, the need for transparency between group members, and ease of communication so that students stay engaged. Scheduling a test session beforehand is always advised. If you need help, you can contact eLearning Services for more information.

All of this information was presented at the Fall 2014 Online Faculty Meeting, but you do not need to be an online faculty member to participate. Many of the tips and best practices shared during these meetings can be used in any online, on-ground, or hybrid learning situation. You can view the recording of the Fall 2014 Online Faculty Meeting here. A special thank you to all the faculty who participated!

If you would like to learn more about team projects or other topics, please join us on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 6:00pm. The topic for the next meeting will be chosen closer to the date of the event.

course dev-02

September 19, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Tips for effective course delivery

Common practices of effective faculty include focusing on the student and being involved in the course throughout the semester. Focusing on the quality of teaching and learning continues after a successful kickoff to the semester. Instructional interaction adds quality to students achieving learning success.

The act of teaching includes participation and helping students develop skills and guiding their progress in applying knowledge to achieve a level of understanding. This can include getting to know your student audience, creating an environment where students engage in the learning process, and holding students accountable to the responsibility of engaging in the learning process.

Effective faculty support students through social presence and availability.  Review the information presented to students in Module 0 and the syllabus.  Practice the guidelines set by you and your department with students.

Timely grading and feedback are important. Include constructive comments with discussion forum posts and submitted assignments. Be consistent with grading, feedback, and participation in the forums. Thoughtful and consistent feedback can help you identify areas of confusion and opportunities to improve course outcomes.

Early engagement helps boost student retention. Faculty communication in the first week and during interval timeframes throughout the semester impacts whether students persist in their studies with the university. Monitor student progress and reach out to students who are not participating.  You can connect the college degree program advisor for support in addressing student concerns with their course work.

Set expectations early-on about the pacing of the course. A weekly communication at the beginning of the week can include summaries of learning and progress recently completed and a reminder of due dates.

classroom-tech

September 19, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Connecting your Lenovo Yoga tablet

If you’re using one of Lawrence Tech’s new Lenovo Yoga tablet, we’ve got some tips for you on connecting to the classroom projectors.

The display you see on the projector screen may not be the same display you have on your tablet. To correct this issue, you may need to change your display settings. Sometimes the settings automatically change from DISPLAY to EXTEND. To change it back, you’ll need to hold down the WINDOWS key and press the “P” key at the same time.

This solution should fix display issues on your Lenovo Yoga tablet. Below is a short video demonstrating how to connect your device. If you still have issues, we encourage you to contact the Lawrence Tech Help Desk or eLearning Services.

If you need an HDMI connector, you can pick one up at the Help Desk.

dr larry 2-02

September 19, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Dear Dr. Larry

Dear Dr. Larry is a regular column. Faculty and students can submit questions to Dr. Larry by emailing elearning@ltu.edu. Dr. Larry will answer each month with leading-edge, witty, insightful responses.

Dear Dr. Larry,

I have had a really hard time communicating with my students this Fall.  I emailed the syllabus and asked them to read it before the first day of class. Only about half of them looked at it.  Then we had a room change and I emailed them about the new room – twice!  In spite of my efforts, I still had many students go to the old room.  They said they didn’t get my email.  We clearly have a communication failure. What is going on?

Sincerely,

Lost Messages!

Dear Lost,

It’s not you.  The students are not checking their Lawrence Tech email.  LTU implemented a policy that all University communication now goes to the individuals LTU.edu email address.  In the past, students were able to change their settings in Blackboard to use their preferred email.  However, with this new policy, the only email in Blackboard is their LTU address. To make sure students never miss an important message, they can set up forwarding within their LTU email account. Here is a link to show them how to do this.

Help spread the word about this policy so your messages will always get through.

You and your students can always call those nice folks over in eLearning & the Helpdesk for more help.

Best wishes for better projects and happy students, and to your messages always being received!

Dr. Larry 

elearning-support

August 20, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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New academic year, new technology tools

On behalf of everyone in eLearning, welcome to the 2014-15 academic year. There are new technology tools to start the new year. Lawrence Tech is issuing new laptops to faculty and students.

Many of the new laptops are running Windows 8 operating system. Windows 8 may take some time to get used to, but there are many resources to help you with the transition. This YouTube video is a freindly introduction to Windows 8. You can also use your LTU subscription to Linda.com and use their excellent tutorials.

We’ve installed new projectors in many of the classrooms around campus. These projectors are brighter and crisper and have built in audio capability. We’ve also installed the connection cables needed to connect to the new laptops in HD quality. The new Lenovo Yoga tables need an adapter to connect to the new projectors. You were issued an adapter when you were given your new laptop. You’ll need this adapter to connect. Again, we’ve developed resources to help you with this. There is detailed information at eHelp and we are working to put posters in each room showing how to complete the connections.

Finally, eLearning staff is here and eager to help faculty get off to a great start. Please call eLearning at 248-204-2380 for any assistance with Blackboard, classroom technology and instructional design.

Window 8 video

Lynda Link

eHelp projector link

dr larry 2-02

August 20, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Dear Dr. Larry

Dear Dr. Larry is a regular column. Faculty and students can submit questions to Dr. Larry by emailing elearning@ltu.edu. Dr. Larry will answer each month with leading-edge, witty, insightful responses.

Dear Dr. Larry,

OMG IT’S FALL ALREADY! I’m still working on my June/July projects. The start of the new school year snuck up on my and now I’m scrambling. I have my syllabus and the bookstore has my textbooks, but I remember there were things LTU requires me to do in Blackboard now. What where they again?

Sincerely,

Frantically Working To Be Ready!

Dear Frantic,

First, breath – just breath. The requirements for faculty use of Blackboard are easy and likely things you are already doing. There are four (4) simple tasks EVERY Lawrence Tech faculty member needs to do in Blackboard.

Students need timely information about the course and their progress throughout the term. That is where Blackboard can help. The four (4) items are:

  1. Post your syllabus in Blackboard
  2. Post your contact information so students know how to reach you
  3. Use Blackboard to communicate with students by posting announcements about due dates, activities, etc. This helps keep students engaged as well as informed.
  4. Finally, use the GradeCenter in Blackboard so students can monitor their progress and grades.

There are many resources to help you meet these requirements. Check out eHelp or give us a call over in eLearning at 248-204-2380. We will be happy to help you.

Best wishes for better projects, happy students, and a great start to the new year!

Dr. Larry