elearning

Online, in the classrooms, and behind the camera.

campus announcements-02

May 22, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Changes to Lawrence Tech’s email policy

As stated in a March 2014 email, effective August 1st, all communications to LTU students, faculty, and staff will be made through ltu.edu email addresses and will not be sent to any other email addresses.

What does this mean?

The only email address that will be allowed in Banner and Blackboard will be the ltu.edu email address assigned. You will not be able to change the email listed to another address. All emails sent from within Blackboard will be sent to the username@ltu.edu address, and your LTU email is easily accessed from the my.ltu.edu website.

What if I want to use another email address rather than LTU email?

You may forward your LTU email to another account if you desire. Here are instructions on how to forward your LTU email to another email address.

Why is this changing?

To ensure consistent, timely and safe communication to the campus community and after reviewing the risks and liability in using email addresses other than the official LTU email address, the change to our email communications practice is being incorporated.

What else do I need to do?

Make sure that your students understand that any email correspondence initiated within Blackboard will only go to their username@ltu.edu account. If you (or students) need assistance contact the LTU Help Desk at helpdesk@ltu.edu or 248-204-2330

classroom-tech

May 22, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Classroom projector maintenance

Did you know the LCD projectors you see in the classrooms require maintenance? To prolong the usefulness and efficiency of the projectors the manufacturer recommends they be periodically cleaned. An over-accumulation of dust inside a projector causes overheating and premature failure of the projector. Some projectors have a filter that require cleaning while other are filterless, however they require vacuuming to clear them of dust lodged inside. If you see a message on a screen indicating the projector filter needs cleaning please contact elearning@ltu.edu with the room number where the projector is located.

Additionally, if you have ideas about new display technologies you would like to see in our classrooms please let us know. Your suggestion will be given serious consideration and possibly increase the learning experience at LTU.

course dev-02

May 22, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Avoid PowerPointlessness!

PowerPoint, Keynote , Prezi etc., when used meaningfully, can be an enhancement to a lecture. However, sometimes it is used in such a way that it essentially takes away from the educational purpose of coming to class. When does this occur? And, what can be done about it?

PowerPointlessness occurs when an instructor reads off of a PowerPoint presentation without giving the students any additional information. Another example is when the PowerPoint slides merely repeat what is in the textbook, so that coming to class is analogous to rereading the textbook or done instead of reading the textbook. PowerPointlessness can also occur if the PowerPoint is straight from the publisher’s website and doesn’t cover much beyond the textbook. In other instances, publishers’ PowerPoints may cover topics that are not even part of the course objectives. An extreme example of PowerPoint lectures gone wrong is when old slides are being reused year after year and no longer align to how the topics are currently situated. If PowerPoint slides are posted online, should they include everything you do in the classroom? If they do, what is the point of attending class?

You can avoid PowerPointlessness by using PowerPoint, Keynote , Prezi, etc. to your advantage. PowerPoint slides should not be the lecture, they should be instructional aides supplementing an exciting lecture which not only engages student curiosity but involves them in solving subject matter problems. The presentation should tell a story and include the instructor’s valuable knowledge and real-world experiences. The slides should have built-in interactive elements. PowerPoints should be used to provide visual aids and/or illustrate a key quote or formula. If you need to remind yourself of what to say along with the PowerPoint, use the Notes pages and practice your presentation prior to the lecture. You can also use 3-4 shortened key points to prompt yourself.

Find out more about PowerPointlessness. Rebecca Shuman says you should avoid using PowerPoint to simply create an outline of your lecture. You also shouldn’t be able to understand everything you need to about the lecture by reading the slides. If that’s the case – try cutting the extra fat by taking out 50% of your slides and 90% of your text. She recommends sticking to simple transitions such as revealing text when it’s needed instead of using other gimmicks that take away from student attention. She goes on to say that you shouldn’t worry about whether or not your PowerPoints make sense because they shouldn’t on their own. The most important part of the presentation is the instructor interaction and communication with students. You can check out her entire presentation here.

dr larry 2-02

May 21, 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 made it! I’m done grading student projects and I’ve turned in all the needed reports to my program chair. It’s been a long winter and once I hit submit on my final grades in Banner, I’m off to enjoy the summer.

Sincerely,

Ready for the sun!

Dear Sun Seeker,

Yes, it has been a long winter for all of us, and students and faculty are ready for the sun. But are you sure you’re ready? Faculty are so busy at the end of the term that they often forget some vital steps in wrapping up a course. I assure you these won’t take long, and they will save you hours next semester.

  1. Have you exported your grade book so you have a record of student scores on assignments? Yes, Banner keeps the record of the final grade, but if you post individual assignment grades in Blackboard, be sure to export those so you have a record if the final grade is ever questioned. This will take 2 minutes! Here is a link on how to export the grades.
  2. Have you exported your entire course so you have it the next time you teach it? I used to spend hours building my course in Blackboard each term. I posted articles and handouts each term, but then I learned I could export a completed course and use it again the next term. All the files and information are already there. I tweak it each term, but it’s so much easier than building from scratch each term. Here is a link to exporting a completed course and importing it into a new semester.
  3. Have you collected any needed examples of student work? LTU Colleges are all working though the accreditation process. This process includes documenting evidence of student competencies and grading. Make this process easier by collecting these artifacts now. If you have exemplary work, ask the student if you can keep a copy and use it. Here is a link on how to collect student work. Not only is the example needed in accreditation, but it is also a great tool to use in future courses to show new students what you expect in an assignment. Create a folder called “examples of student work” and simply start your collection and add to it each year. You’ll be glad you did!

I know you’re ready to hit the beach, but take a few extra minutes to complete these valuable end-of-year steps. They’ll help you work smarter, not harder, and will ultimately give you more time each semester.

Below are some links to examples and resources to help you do this. If you need more assistance, call those nice people in eLearning. They are happy to help.

Best wishes for better projects, happy students, and a great summer!

Dr. Larry

Links to “How To’s”

ltu-online

April 29, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Quality Matters and how it relates to Lawrence Tech

Quality Matters (QM) is a nonprofit organization focusing on quality course design in online and blended learning. The Quality Matters Program is a nationally recognized and widely used standard of excellence. Colleges and universities submit courses to Quality Matters for peer review and evaluation. The process provides feedback for continuous improvement and faculty development. The Quality Matters Program is used by over 700 colleges and universities around the country.

In eLearning Services, Quality Matters is just one of the frameworks being used to evaluate online courses for quality improvement. Dr. Richard Bush is pushing for the implementation of quality improvement on both a programmatic and course design level within Lawrence Tech’s online courses.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) looks for evidence during accreditation visits that schools are incorporating quality standards into their everyday practices. Quality Matters is one of the frameworks that they look for – in addition to Sloan-C Quality Framework and Scorecard.

During the QM Process, courses are evaluated using the QM Rubric. This research-based, time-tested, and continuously improving evaluation tool helps bring courses into alignment with set quality standards. The QM Rubric looks at eight key areas, including:

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives
  3. Assessment and Measurement
  4. Instructional Materials
  5. Learner Interaction and Engagement
  6. Course Technology
  7. Learner Support
  8. Accessibility

The QM review process is completed by a team consisting of three or more reviewers. At least one the reviewers must be a subject matter expert in the discipline being reviewed, and at least one reviewer must be from a different school. All of the reviewers need to have taught an online course within the last eighteen months. Both Marija Franetovic and Lynn Miller-Wietecha recently completed QM training. They are reviewing ways in which our online courses can better align with QM standards.

Right now eLearning Services is focusing on three key areas of improvement for all of our online courses. These areas are course overview and introduction, learner support, and accessibility. QM standards will be incorporated into these key areas in the coming months. In the future, course developers will work directly with faculty to address other QM standards on an individual course level. The ultimate goal is to submit courses to the Quality Matters Program for evaluation.

eLearning Services is actively looking for ways to engage colleges, departments, and individual faculty members in implementing QM standards within Lawrence Tech courses. To get involved, please contact eLearning Services at elearning@ltu.edu.

eval and assess

April 23, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Student evaluations: The value of student feedback

At the end of each semester, students evaluate the courses they are taking and the faculty that teach them. Some may wonder what the university does with all of this data.

eLearning Services reviews online faculty student evaluation surveys at the end of each semester to identify opportunities to improve course material and teaching effectiveness. In partnership with online faculty, course developers interpret feedback to view the situation through students’ eyes, university teaching requirements, and opportunities for continuous improvement.

Jones (2012) completed a study to determine if students’ response to student evaluation for online courses can be used to identify improvements in teaching and course value. The results of the study indicate data provided by students support faculty and higher education administrators to identify actions for improving overall student satisfaction (Jones, 2012). The biggest action items increasing student satisfaction, included well developed and organized courses, and providing students with engaging learning experiences. Another action with positive impact was strong presence of faculty facilitating the class and engagement with students.

As the semester comes to a close encourage students to complete their end-of-term student evaluation survey. Share with them the value of the information provided from the midterm survey results. Let them know you and the university are listening to and value their feedback.

Remember, as student satisfaction increases, it can have a positive impact on student retention, enrollment, and graduation rates.

Jones, S. J. (2012). Reading between the lines of online course evaluations: Identifiable actions that improve student perceptions of teaching effectiveness and core value. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 16(1), 49-58.

ltu-online

April 23, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Who is the online learner?

The online learner is an ambitious and disciplined individual seeking to achieve an education through non-traditional avenues. This allows them to continue to keep their busy life schedule. The online learner could be married with children and have a career. The online learner could also be a young adult who is working two jobs and going to school full-time. The diversity of the online learner is endless, but the reason for seeking online education is very similar.

Online Learners seek an education that balances all aspects of their life including distance, time constraints, family commitments, job schedules, and the pressures of an advancing career. For the online learner, pursuing an online education is a great opportunity for them to advance themselves educationally and yet not be restrained by everyday life events and commitments.

The online learner is self-motivated, organized, collaborative, and savvy with technology. Self-motivation gives the online learner the ability to succeed and complete an online course and/or an online degree program. Organization gives the online learner the ability to set a schedule to meet the deliverables of an online course with consistency – regardless of everyday schedules. The opportunity to collaborate gives the online learner the ability to use real-world experiences in the classroom and to bring value to the course.

Online Learners are individuals who embrace changing technologies that enhance the overall learning objectives and outcomes. The online learner is the new face of those who pursue higher education. They are also the generation who will change the culture of education and learning.

dr larry 2-02

April 23, 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 course is jam-packed. I have so many things I want to talk about with my students, but I’m finding it difficult to fit everything into the 16-week semester. How can I get more content into the term?

Sincerely,

Trying to pack it all in

Dear Packed,

We have such great courses and we want to offer so much to our students that it’s hard to decide what our “need to know” content is versus our “nice to know” content. I’m always looking for new ways to maximize every minute of time with my students.

One thing I do now is record my first day content and post that for students to watch outside of class. I’m no longer wasting valuable class time reviewing the syllabus, assignments, expectations, etc. About a week before the semester begins, I open my syllabus, and then using either Jing or Panopto, I record myself going through the document. I post it in Blackboard and email a link to the recording to all of my students to review BEFORE the semester starts. On the first day of class I dive right into the course content. I’ve picked up an entire extra class session this way.

I even include a short, 10-question quiz (also in Blackboard) to make sure students watch the video and understand the course expectations. Now when a student says he didn’t know there was a group project in the course, I can bring up the Blackboard quiz and say, “Well, you indicated you have read the assignments section of the syllabus and understood what is expected of you.” That doesn’t happen often, but I LIKE having the documentation if I need it, and I LOVE having the extra class session.

Below are some links to examples and resources to help you do this. If you need more assistance, call those nice people in eLearning. They are happy to help.

Best wishes for better projects, happy students, and more time in class!

Dr. Larry

course dev-02

March 19, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Tips and suggestions to strengthen your syllabus

Faculty commonly update their course syllabi every term with new due dates and new content, but how often do we revise our policy statements? Below are some suggestions that can make course expectations clear to students and help faculty avoid potential problems.

Attendance

If you require students to attend your course tell them and make it tied to their grade.

  • Attendance is required. If you must miss a class, make arrangements to get notes & materials from a classmate (or it is your responsibility to download material from Blackboard). If possible, notify instructor prior to absence. Beginning with the second absence, 5 points will be deducted for each absence.
  • Regular attendance is expected and activities completed in class will earn points toward your final grade. You will miss these points if you are not here to complete them.

Group Projects

If you have group projects in your course, be sure to communicate how group members will be graded. Will everyone get the same grade? Will you assign individual grades based on your observations? Will you have group members evaluate each other and assign points based on that review?

  • This course includes group projects and activities. Each group member is expected to contribute equally to the group project. Unless stated otherwise, each group member will receive the same grade for the project.
  • Students engaged in group projects will receive individual grades rather than group grades. Specific procedures for implementing this policy will be the prerogative of the instructor. Consideration for the grade will be based on a student’s individual contribution to the overall project, participation in the group activities, ability to work effectively in the team and the overall quality of the final product.

Late Assignments

The request to submit an assignment late comes up every term. Consider these sample statements to help you manage those requests.

  • Late assignments will be accepted only if you have discussed your situation with the instructor prior to the due date and an extension is given. Extensions are given only in extreme conditions. 10% of the total points will be deducted from scores on assignments received after due date. Assignments can be turned in early if needed.
  • Late assignments will not be accepted unless medical documentation is provided to account for the missed deadline.

You can also add columns in Blackboard Grade Center to help you track items like attendance, participation, etc. so student ca see that you are monitoring these items and holding them accountable.

media pro-02

March 19, 2014
by eLearning Staff
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Media Pro: Submitting your video request

Spring may not be in the air yet, but returning from the mid-semester break means it must be just around the corner! For eLearning’s Media Production team, April and May mean higher workloads. We try to fulfill each video request we receive, but there are a few things you can do to make sure the process works efficiently for you.

Plan Ahead

We follow some standard procedures when we record lectures and student presentations. Other types of videos—such as departmental promotional videos and special event coverage—require more planning. Having an idea for the layout of your video before you contact us saves time and helps us efficiently strategize the timeline for completion. For more information and blank design templates, visit our Video Resources section of the LTU  website.

Fill Out the Video Request Form

The information you give us via the request form helps us make sure the end result turns out exactly how you want it. Fill out this form as early as possible to make sure we have room in our schedule for your event. We recommend submitting your request two weeks in advance – especially if your event takes place during an evening or weekend. Also include detailed information about requirements you need in the finished product. Once we have this information we will contact you by email or phone to confirm your request and to iron out additional details.

Keep Us Informed

No one can plan for everything; we understand that. If the details of your event change after you submit a request, let us know. We will do our best to accommodate any change in plans that arise.

Of course, if you ever have questions about how to start a project with the Media Production team, give us a call at 248.204.2380, or send an email to mediapro@ltu.edu.