One of the most common questions we receive from faculty in UAF eLearning iTeach workshops is “what does an online course look like”? We all have years—and in some cases decades—of experience forming expectations of face-to-face learning experiences, but for those who are new to teaching online, it is often difficult to imagine how it all works. Learning experiences are complicated. How do you, as a faculty member, present yourself? How do you share […]
Finals are over and hopefully mostly graded. The real end is in sight and our eyes are all firmly fixed ahead toward the quiet green of summer. However, right now there’s a great opportunity to do as much to improve your teaching next semester as anything. This is a great moment to reflect on how your course(s) went. What worked? What didn’t? Ask yourself some simple hard questions and capture your candid responses – […]
There are powerful alternatives to final exams including final projects and final presentations, but if you’re set on giving a final exam, consider making it comprehensive. Further, consider frequent cumulative benchmark quizzes as part of your students’ practice regimen.
When it comes to marathon running, it has often been said that the race is really about the last few miles. “I ran great for the first 18 miles, but my time really fell off toward […]
This time of year we’re all spending a lot of time in Blackboard, yet seldom does one hear its praises sung within our hallowed halls. It may not be the shiniest tool in our toolbox, and some might even say its menus and structures are less than an inspiring home for the learning and cognitive transformations we expect it to facilitate. However, if you weigh the functionality and features that Blackboard contains, it is […]
Managing Time Online Part 2
Last week we discussed the gold standard of online learning experience design: Your course is complete prior to students ever sitting in their virtual seats. Your intended outcomes are firmly in your sights and you can now devote time during the semester to feedback, assessment, and mentoring. Your solid design and your consistent presence work together to achieve everyone’s educational dreams.
But time demands online are unique. Face-to-face, we’re used to […]
One of the most common questions I hear is, “how much time is it going to take to develop my online course?” This question reminds me of similar questions such as, “How long does it take to build a house?” and “How long does it take to make dinner?” The answers to these, of course, are, “it depends.” As a general rule, however, you can expect about one hundred hours of development time […]
As we emerge from the caverns of winter and slip from the madness of March into bright, warm April and true spring, maybe it is safe to take a moment and ask ourselves why we do it. Given our current budget challenges, it is perhaps even essential we ask the question. What is our source of inspiration? What is the real reason we teach?
At this point in the semester, most of us are bolting […]
Don’t get caught between the lines!
The start of the spring semester still looms large in our rear view mirror. Many instructors spent frenzied final hours before launch wrestling content into Blackboard. One frequent source of challenge is that nearly all of us develop our lectures, notes and syllabi in Microsoft Word and when we transfer these materials online, we unwittingly wander into a decades old battleground. We innocently expect that we should be able […]
The Voice Behind the Curtain
The other day I asked an emeritus faculty member where he derived his teaching style from. Looking back on a stunning 35 years of instructional experience, he said he had a great mentor instructor in undergraduate school and thought, “I want to be like him.” As we look to the semester ahead and dust off our seasonal affective disorder prescriptions, consider your voice. Where do you speak from and where […]
Timing is Everything
Last week we talked about how designing some tension into discussions can yield a more engaging student experience. This is often my first suggestion when I hear from faculty that student discussions seem lacking. This week the inquiry centers around timing. Just like hosting a dinner party, timing the various course elements is critical when designing student interactions.
Structure the Discussion
Carrying on the analogy from last week, students need time to absorb and […]