elearning

Online, in the classrooms, and behind the camera.

eval and assess

February 17, 2015
by eLearning Staff
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Components of “quality feedback”

Providing students with grades and feedback is an integral component of monitoring academic progress.  Students identify instructor feedback as an indication of academic progress and reassurance of skills and knowledge required for future class assignments. What are the components of “quality feedback?”

Feedback provides the student the opportunity to reflect and plan for the next assessment activity. Thoughtful feedback when assessing student learning includes clarification of expectations, identification of areas for improvement with focus on reinforcement of desirable behavior. Negative feedback should be non-judgmental, offer suggestions for improvement, and be specific.  You will want to think about how the feedback will be received and that it is structured to guide the student in learning points, and the student can take action for future assignments.

Data from student evaluation surveys found timely and constructive feedback works best. When you are preparing your course syllabus and assessment of learning communicate a feedback loop. What are the expectations of students, and what can the students expect of the instructor? This is where you want to include the timeline for grading, when to expect the return of graded assignments, and your method of feedback to support students assessment of academic progress.

Blackboard grading tools provide the opportunity to include feedback. This includes (but not limited to) discussion forums, submitted papers, test questions, blogs, rubrics, and journals.  Explore the use of feedback as a key element of formative assessment.

dr larry 2-02

February 17, 2015
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 College is working to be ultra-prepared for accreditation and I’ve been asked to archive examples of student work. I can easily download and save papers and PDF’s, etc. but how do I capture exams that are completed in Blackboard? Long ago, I converted my quizzes and exams so they could be given in Blackboard. This has saved me so much time in grading, but now I’m not sure how to capture the students’ completed exams for accreditation.

Sincerely,

Looking for the Easy Button

Dear Easy Button,

You’re not alone in needing to capture student work. This is a requirement for most accreditation reviews and all of LTU is working on this initiative. You are also right that Blackboard is missing an easy way to capture students’ completed exams. The eLearning and IT people have asked Blackboard to include this feature in future enhancements, but until they waive the magic wand and give us that “easy button,” we do have a work-around. It may look cumbersome, it really isn’t.

eHelp web page directions: https://www.ltu.edu/ehelp/print_bb_test_details.asp

I strongly encourage you to have discussions with your departments about what actually needs to be archived. Most accreditation bodies want to see examples of exemplary work (aka high pass), satisfactory work (aka low pass), and inferior work (aka fail). That may mean you do NOT have to archive ALL student work, but rather only a few examples of each level. That will make your task much easier.

As always, you can contact call those nice people over in eLearning for more help

Dr. Larry

elearning-support

January 16, 2015
by eLearning Staff
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Faculty feature – Prof. Sky: Flipped lectures and low stake quizzes

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Professor Tony Sky is always looking for new ways to engage his students. This year he is using Panopto to record mini lectures prior to class. He has coupled them with low stakes quizzes that students complete before class. Through this method, students hit the ground running with questions and perhaps curiosity about new material.

The mini lectures are only 10-15 long, enough to get students prepared for the next session. The online quizzes are also around 10-15 points, which ultimately becomes a small portion of their grade yet it is still a motivator. Students are given 3 tries to complete the quizzes, because as Prof. Sky would say – “it’s all about learning, isn’t it?”

Prof. Sky completed a MOOC course in 2013 in which he saw this method was effective for him. He wanted to try it with his course, so he stopped by eLearning and inquired into some best practices.

It’s week 1. Students have seen their first flipped lecture and taken their first online quiz. Of course there were some minor glitches but all-in-all it went well. Prof. Sky is ready to do it next week. One of the questions was eliminated and partial credit was given to other questions, then scores were recalculated.

What’s in store for week 2 you ask? We are doing another flipped lecture and figuring out how to best create matching questions with either/or choices. We’re also using the SnipIt Tool to bring in some of the molecule pictures into the questions themselves. Finally, and probably best of all, we’re figuring out what we can collaboratively work on in class, now that we’ve freed up some time.

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Prof. Sky says: “This method frees up the time so we can talk about questions, work on problems in class…dig a little deeper…essentially; learn together. I hope students are getting more out of it. Instead of racing to cover the lecture notes we are actually thinking through the problems together.”

For more information on flipped classroom, please see: https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7081.pdf

For more information about using Panopto, please see: http://www.ltu.edu/ehelp/panopto_instructor_info.asp

For more information on test creation in Blackboard, please see: http://www.ltu.edu/ehelp/create_tests.asp

And, of course, if you have an idea, and want to see if it will work in your classroom, stop by eLearning Services.

course dev-02

January 15, 2015
by eLearning Staff
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Web Accessibility (Part II): Providing text alternatives, captions for course video recordings

Web accessibility allows for students with disabilities to perceive, understand, navigate, interact, and contribute to their courses which have online components. The first article published in the November 2014 issue summarized strategies for addressing accessibility of course documents and Blackboard. This article (Part II) summarizes strategies for using audio and video course material to create a transcript.

Popular media technologies for delivering recorded videos vary in the ability to create transcripts. The Blackboard Panopto recording software currently does not provide the ability to produce a video transcript. YouTube does provide the ability to create transcripts for which the author can edit and import a video recording produced by another media technology to produce a transcript. Providing a transcript for course video material makes your recorded lectures and course material more searchable and accessible. YouTube can generate the transcript and captions automatically.

It is not perfect, and accuracy is dependent on several factors including audio quality, pauses in dialog, long runtime, and more. While this process is not 100% accurate it does help in the first steps of translating the video dialogue to text . The generated file can then be edited to develop a file that matches the video dialogue 100% and to add punctuation. YouTube transcript options also include the ability to upload a transcript file previously generated.

Convert Panopto to YouTube:

Converting the Panopto video to a YouTube format provides the option to create a transcript and add captions to the video. Once you have the caption file you can edit the content to match the dialogue. Like said before this process is not 100% accurate, but it does help in the first steps of translating the dialogue to text for editing.


The first step is to download the recorded Panopto file into a format compatible with YouTube.

Panopto.com provides a tutorial “How to Upload a Panopto Video to YouTube”

Once your video is loaded to YouTube you can now create a transcript.  Review the tutorial “How to Add Captions to YouTube Videos by Creating Transcripts

classroom-tech

January 15, 2015
by eLearning Staff
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Hang AV Cables

Here’s a quick housekeeping tip for the projectors that can help you out in your classroom. Make sure to hang unused projector cables properly on the wall hooks nearby. By hanging up the video and audio cables, you can help prevent damage to the cables from foot traffic or chairs rolling over them. The HDMI and VGA video cables have several fragile wires inside that can break easily if too much pressure is applied to them. Also, the ends of the cables have pins that connect to your tablet or laptop and can easily bend or break. By storing the cables on the wall cable holders, you are helping LTU save valuable dollars in cable replacement cost and ensure they are in top condition when you need them.  If you notice a cable holder is missing in your classroom, please email cjohnson@ltu.edu.

dr larry 2-02

January 15, 2015
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 students produce very large and often rich multimedia projects in my class. I’ve been having them use DropBox to save and share their work. But as the projects improve and the files become larger, my students are running out of free DropBox space. What can we do to have a no-cost place to easily save and share our work?

Sincerely,

No More Room

Dear No More Room,

This problem will be super easy for Dr. Larry to solve. The great thinkers at Google have decided to give education customers UNLIMITED storage in Google Drive!

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That means you AND your students can save all their work to their LTU Google Drive and share folders and files as needed without concerns for running out of space. Google Drive is great for collaborating on documents too. With this change in policy, we no longer need to use other vendors like DropBox.

Dr. Larry

 

classroom-tech

November 20, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Disabling HDMI audio on Yoga

If you are using the Lenovo Yoga and using the HDMI cable connection to a projector the external headphone audio port is disabled.  There may be times when you need to use the external headphone port with HDMI. The following steps can tell you how to do that:

  1. Right-click on speaker icon in system tray (next to time)
  2. Click “Playback devices”
  3. Right-click on HDMI device and choose disable
  4. Audio output will default to speaker/headphone output

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To re-enable HDMI audio:

  1. Right-click on speaker icon in system tray (next to time)
  2. Click “Playback devices”
  3. Right-click in the white area of the Sound window
  4. Choose show disabled devices
  5. Right-click HDMI device and choose enable

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eval and assess

November 20, 2014
by eLearning Staff
0 comments

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 just got an email entitled “Mid-Term Course Evaluation Results.” I opened the attached file and found several pages detailing what my students think of my class so far. There are some good things and some that are . . . well . . . not-so-good. What am I supposed to do with them?

Sincerely,

Swimming in a sea of data

Dear Swimming, 

It is easy to overlook this important email so let me begin by saying Kudos to you for taking the time to open and review the information. Many LTU programs send out mid-term evaluations to gauge how classes are going so that faculty can make any needed changes and hopefully impact the end of the semester evaluations positively.

Even I, the great Dr. Larry, have to address some not-so-good mid-term evaluation results. For example, I noticed the following in my recent results:EvalItem

 

It made me say $#@!. I clearly explain my grading criteria. What are they talking about?” But then I looked at the comments.

“Syllabus says mid-term and final are worth 60% of final grade, but points do not add up to 60% of total.”
“No points are posted in Blackboard so it is impossible to see where you stand.”

There were other comments that made me have to consider that maybe. . . just maybe. . . the grading criteria was clear in my mind, but not clear to the students. I was able to review it and talk with my students clarifying any questions. I explained that I heard their concerns and so valued their feedback that I wanted to clarify things (I think I scored some points with them). Now I expect great ratings on this question on the final evaluation. We should view the mid-term evaluations as a gift and opportunity that can help us improve the art & science of teaching!

Best wishes for better projects and happy students, and great end-of-course evaluations!

Dr. Larry

course dev-02

November 20, 2014
by eLearning Staff
0 comments

Taking the mystery out of ‘accessibility’ part I

Web accessibility allows for students with disabilities to perceive, understand, navigate, interact, and contribute to their courses which have online components. This article summarizes strategies you may use to make sure your documents and Blackboard site are accessible. Making teaching materials accessible helps them work better with assistive technologies, which is equipment that is used to enhance the functional capabilities of students with disabilities. The following is an Accessibility Checklist you may use:

Accessibility Checklist

Images/Objects

  • For all Images and Objects (including Tables) ‘Alt Text’ titles and descriptions are included (PowerPoint, Word, Blackboard, etc.) In PowerPoint, this is accomplished by right clicking on Picture>Select Format Picture>Select Alt Text>Insert Title and Description
  • In Word, all objects have text wrapping set to ‘in line with text’
  • Column headers are identified for Tables. Tables have simple structures (For example, there are no nested tables, merged cells, etc)

Links

  • Link names are meaningful (e.g. Google Search Engine This is helpful so that screen readers do not read the entire link name including ‘http://www.’)

Titles and Headings

  • In PowerPoint, all slides have titles and all the titles are unique. (They can even be set to invisible, where they will still be read by screen readers.)
  • In Word, styles or headings are used to help organize the content.

Fonts

  • San Serif fonts are used instead of Serif fonts. (e.g. Recommended: Arial, Tahoma, and Verdana. Not recommended: Times New Roman, Georgia)

Pdf

  • Pdf documents are ‘text searchable’. They are not scanned images (If scanned, they may be converted using Adobe Acrobat (File>Action Wizard>Make Accessible)

Audio and Video

  • Audio and video materials are closed-captioned. (There will be a follow article on how to use Youtube to transcribe) There are also transcription services such as 3PlayMedia.

 

You can also use the Accessibility Checker within Power Point, Word, and Excel to make sure that everyone can read your document.

  1. Click on File menu and choose ‘Info’ from the drop down
  2. Click on ‘Check for issues’ button
  3. Choose ‘Check for accessibility’ from drop down
  4. The ‘Accessibility Checker’ shows the inspection results. Click on each to find out why and how to fix the issue.

 

Blackboard Accessibility Information  and  Blackboard Collaborate Accessibility provides additional Instructor guidelines specific to Blackboard, Service Pack 13.

For more information and assistance on making your course accessible, please contact elearning@ltu.edu.

course dev-02

November 20, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Crafting an effective blogging assignment

When crafted effectively, blogging assignments can be a great tool to reinforce class concepts, encourage discussion, and promote additional research.

Blogging allows students to write about topics related to their coursework and to comment on their classmates’ work. Many articles have promoted blogging in the classroom, but not all blogging assignments are created equally, especially at the university level.

Here are some points to consider when evaluating if a blogging component is the right fit for your course:

  • Evaluate one blog vs. many

Only you can decide if your students should maintain individual blogs or contribute to one team site. Each approach has its advantages and drawbacks. Individual blogs promote individual exploration and diversity of thought, but can be a lot of work to grade. Team blogs promote cohesiveness and collaboration, but offer students less direct writing time and mediate their opportunities for individual exploration of a topic of interest.

  • Consider your audience

Most students, especially in the first two years, have not yet developed enough experience in the subject matter they are exploring to engage with the public. For that reason, especially in the early years, limiting your students’ audience to your classroom might be advisable.

  • Define and communicate your specific expectations for a substantial blog post

For any successful class assignment, rigor is key. Discourage the frequent bad habit of “stream-of-consciousness” writing in blogs. Promote editing. If you wouldn’t accept a student’s entry as a paper document, don’t accept it as a blog post.

  • Uphold citation standards

Linking to outside sources is not enough. Links move. Require that students abide by the citation standards of your discipline. Encourage students to paraphrase and analyze their research, instead of merely providing a collection of links.

When carefully crafted, a blogging assignment can add a deeper layer of discourse to your class. The next time you revise or develop a course, consider if adding a blogging component would help your students build their analytical, research, and writing skills.