It is easy (well…) to tell when a student in your in-person class is struggling: you can see their detachment, their boredom, their sleeping, their scowling, their sadness, their confusion, their disappointment. Online courses don’t provide the same access. In some cases, an instructor may never lay eyes on a particular student. So how does a person even know that a student needs help? And when you know, what can you do about it? Are we compelled simply to write off some percentage of our online students as lost sheep?
Dr. Audrey Begun and Dr. Jennie Babcock offer some concrete strategies to resist that fatalism in this webinar (recorded Thursday, April 5, 2018). Drawing on their years of experience in teaching and advising, as well as insights and methodology from the discipline of Social Work, they describe four domains of specific steps instructors can take to reduce the likelihood students will start to struggle, recognize quickly when it is happening, and intervene usefully.
iPads are clearly powerful tools for teaching, in part because there are thousands of apps available. Those same thousands of apps can, however, also make it difficult to know how to get started, in much the same way it would be difficult to learn how to eat if you had never had food before.
In this webinar, our colleague Scott Sheeler, educational technologist and app sommelier with ODEE’s Distance Learning team, stopped by to provide a rapid-paced high-level overview of four of the best apps to start with, including Canvas Grader, Notability, CLIPS, and Adobe Spark. You might want to slow down the video for this one, so that you can see all of the features he shows off.
It’s tempting to be glib and introduce the link to this webinar recording about Office365 with a snarky reference to 90s retro, maybe by embedding a grunge cover of “Macarena,” but the thing is, we’re actually excited by this. Basically every instructor and student at Ohio State now has a license to Office365, which means we now have access to a better-than-Google-Docs platform for students to share files, simultaneously edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and otherwise write in multimedia formats online. Office has been around for a while, and that means that your students (and you!) already know how to use it, so there is that much less training you’ll need to do to make use of it. It even integrates directly into Carmen.
In this webinar, our colleague Instructional Designer extraordinaire Tim Lombardo explains in more detail how to set up Office365, some of the complications you might need to work around, and some of the fancy and awesome things your students can do with it. Thanks especially to the attendees, who asked excellent questions.
PS. Having mentioned a grunge cover of “Macarena,” it would seem cruel not to embed an actual instance of the genre… (OK, strictly speaking it’s metal. What can I say? It was a crazy decade. Some lines blurred.)
The struggle is real. It takes a village to provide quality education to thousands of students, and that effort only becomes more complex as education becomes hybrid and even fully online. How to ensure that students learn what they need regardless of which section they enrol in (without squelching the opportunity for variety and specialization)? How to provide an ever-rotating cast of instructors with the training and support they need? How to gather and manage data and information about how it’s all going and make sure that other departmental stakeholders know about it? While it rarely leads stories about the impact of the Digital Revolution on universities, this layer of the puzzle is crucial for making sure it all works and that the fancy new tools and opportunities the future is making available help students and do not just become a fog of chaos.
In this webinar, Dr. Melissa Beers and Dr. Kristin Supe discuss their experience coordinating the exemplary Introduction to Psychology course at Ohio State. Ranging from the philosophical to the logistical, they shared useful insights about things like how recent LMS features simplify creating the dozens of course shells, the importance of training, and the importance of research. Bonus points for the Harry Potter references. It was a fun time!
To update the old adage: teaching a person to fish is great and all — certainly better than giving them fish — but what if we could do better? What do you call it if you teach them how to get constantly better at fishing? How to judge their own fishing skills honestly and make intelligent choices about where to focus their efforts? How to make use of research about the feeding patterns of fish populations to avoid wasting effort and maximizing returns?
Ok, that’s probably enough with that metaphor. 🙂
In the DELTA webinar hosted on October 17, 2017, Dr. Matthew Stoltzfus (Chemistry) described the cutting-edge practices he has adapted from research-driven guides (like Saundra McGuire’s Teach Students How to Learn) and developed to intervene effectively with the mostly-lower-level students in his Introduction to Chemistry courses. Beginning with the simple (but oft-overlooked) recognition that there are different levels of understanding and proceeding through an array of proven strategies, Dr. Fus helps students understand precisely what new ways of thinking college will demand of them (that high school did not) and how they can take concrete steps to grow those new wings.*
You know the old saying, “When all you have’s a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail”? Back when I started with ODEE (before it was ODEE), that was nearly true of the tools available to instructors at Ohio State: there was Carmen and there was CarmenWiki. Since then the toolset has grown like the pit crew for a NASCAR team, and there is no longer just a single way to do most things. To help sort through the options and provide a high-level map of what-all systems are available for free to every instructor at Ohio State, our colleague Valerie Rake stopped by the studios at Mount Hall on August 31, 2017 to present a basic explanation and illustration for each system, as well as details about how to get help getting started.
“The [textbook] rent is too damn high!” Learn what you can do to help your students avoid unpleasant dilemmas, such as needing to choose between textbooks and food. ODEE colleagues from the Affordable Learning Exchange initiative stopped by the DELTA studios to discuss how elearning tools and collaboratives can enable you to reduce this burden on your students’ learning.
In this webinar, Dr. Brian Lower and his team, Kylienne Shaul and Ella Weaver, talked about some of the steps they have taken to develop a deeply engaging large online course, ENR2100: Introduction to Environmental Sciences. They will especially describe how they have used writing-based assessments and peer-review processes to enable students to think more deeply about the material and extend their understanding through interaction (in both on-ground and online versions of the course).
2013 in-person ENR Poster Session, the inspiration for a virtual poster session assignment that helps drive student engagement in the large course. For more information and examples of student work, visit https://u.osu.edu/environmentalsciencesymposium/
It is easy to get lost in the large and expanding universe of apps that you can use to improve learning in your courses. This webinar will introduce you to two of the best, Adobe Spark Pages and ExplainEverything, both of which make it easy to produce fancy multimedia content with minimal training or expertise. That means you can use them as an instructor to produce richer, more engaging learning materials for your students without needing to sacrifice the hours required to become a proper web designer or videographer. It also means you have two more tools your students can use to create shiny, personalized assignments that nevertheless stay focused on demonstrating the understandings and abilities that are the true goals of your course.
What Does the Research Say about Lectures?
It is well-established in the lore of online instructors and those who support them that lecture-centered teaching is not as effective as almost any other kind. Who wants to share the road with young drivers who only ever heard about how to steer but never got to try it yet? Who wants to be the first patient of a surgeon who got a solid B on all the quizzes but has not yet seen blood? Proper learning must include lots of opportunity for students to put their hands (and minds) to work. People learn by doing not listening. Humans can only pay attention to lectures for 10 minutes before losing attention, less online. (What is the longest cat video you ever watched? And cat videos are intrinsically awesome.)
It makes intuitive sense. But this is a university; we do evidence, not intuition. (And use semi-colons is obscure but technically acceptable ways.) As I was reminded recently by a colleague during a consultation, it’s not enough to be correct in academia. One must also share one’s bibliography.
So what is the evidence for the lecture lore?
The list below is intended to begin to answer that question by listing a few of the broadest, clearest, most influential, and most evidentiary write-ups on the subject. Thus, I will also include a request: if you have a bibliography you like to use — or even just a compelling research publication or persuasive presentation not included here — please add it in the comments below.
Eric Mazur, “Confessions of a Converted Lecturer,” University of Maryland, Baltimore County, uploaded 12 November 2009