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Tips for Effective Online Discussions

As we close out 2018 and plan for the new year, I like to reflect back on teaching successes and challenges from the past year that can help me improve my teaching practices in my courses for the next year. Except for a few guest lecture spots, most of my teaching has been online since 2008. During this time I can say that I have become very aware of the definite similarities between face-to-face courses and online courses. The most significant similarity being capacity for making connections between instructor and students – and among students themselves – that can be fostered through class discussions. Of course, that is where the differences – and challenges – reside as well. Fostering those interpersonal connections while advancing learning in an online course takes strategic and significant effort on the part of the instructor – especially in the first few weeks as we get students acclimated to the learning environment and our expectations.

I could go on however, I am going to share the article “10 Tips for Effective Online Discussions” by Edwige Simon, Director of the Graduate Certificate in Language Teaching with Technology at the University of Colorado Boulder. Simon shares her experiences leading and managing discussions in her online courses along with a document that she uses to communicate discussion expectations and grading criteria to students.

Feel free to share your thoughts, reactions, and ideas about Simon’s article and online discussions below. I wish you best of luck as you prepare for your next semester of classes in 2019!

Webinar: “The When, Why, & How of Creating Video for Instruction”

How many of us, in the development of our online courses, have wondered exactly when to include video, what type of video to include so that learning is positively impacted, and then how to create the video needed? In our most recent webinar, ODEE’s Jason Connelly, Instructional Designer for Distance Education, presented on how we can go about addressing such questions when planning to integrate video in our instruction. You can view and listen to the webinar recording by clicking the following link, The When, Why, & How of Creating Video for Instruction, or copying and pasting into the address bar of your web browser: http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/p2fjyrgyhtg/.

Join us on November 27th from 12:00 – 1:00pm when Anna Brady of the Dennis Learning Center will present on strategies for maximizing motivation of students in an online course.

Register for Maximizing Motivation webinar here.

ODEE DELTA Webinar (7/18/2018): Academic Integrity Best Practices & Tools

Webinar recording: http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/p4nnxp5t4sz/ (recorded 7/18/2018)

Current research — such as it is* — suggests that students do not cheat more online than in traditional face-to-face courses.  However, that may not be the most useful information, no matter how reliable.  After all, 20 years ago, people did not commit identity theft all that often online; and then they did.  Bad behavior on the internet is a moving target.  At ODEE, we are working to stay ahead of it by providing tools and training that instructors can use to maintain the highest standards in courses before problems are able to take root.

In this webinar, we provide a general framework to promote academic integrity in your courses and then provide specific instructions how to configure Carmen, Turnitin, and Proctorio in your courses.

  • Avoid: Design your course to de-incentivize cheating and make it as easy to learn as to cheat, and to leverage students’ actual curiosity and interest.
  • Prevent: Configure the settings on whatever systems you use to make cheating as difficult as possible — and honest work as easy as possible.
  • Detect: Where appropriate, use tools to help identify illegitimate behavior, so that you can assess it and respond accordingly.

*This is not to impugn the skills of the researchers nor the integrity of their work.  Rather, it is to note that there has been little research published on this important question, and the research that has been published faces the same daunting challenge as any attempt to gauge social deviance: people doing it in the wild really don’t want to be measured, and the phenomenon is extremely difficult to replicate in the lab.  It thus needs to be acknowledged in discussions on this subject, that the empirical basis for opinions is weak.

Cool Ed Tech conferences in 2018-19!

Image of yearly calendar of ed tech conferencesSo here it is everyone!  One calendar to show them all – all the hot conferences in education technology that are coming up in the next year starting this summer. If you are curious about one or some that you haven’t been to, reply to this post with your question and we’ll be happy to give a description of what it’s like to attend as many of the folks here at ODEE have experienced many of the listed conferences.

Happy conferencing!

Click here to view/download the conference calendar.

AccessEDU Episode 7 – Rahim Abdi

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Episode 7 – Rahim Abdi

“We want to remove access barriers, right? So, we don’t want to lessen the experience for anyone else. We just want to ensure an equivalent experience for users with disabilities. So more often than not we end up with a much more accessible and much more usable product [for everyone].

In this episode of AccessEDU, your host interviews Rahim Abdi, an accessibility analyst and homegrown expert to learn more about the technical side of accessibility.

Referenced in this episode:

Read a transcript of episode 7

 

AccessEDU Episode 6 – Margaret Price

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Episode 6 – Margaret Price

“The fact that a book is all stuck together in one piece, in a sense, is an adaptive technology because otherwise we would probably lose pages … If we start thinking of all features of technologies, whether they’re print technologies or digital technologies as adaptive for some reason, then students start to get really excited and interested.”

In this episode of AccessEDU, your host interviews Margaret Price, a professor in the disability studies program at OSU. She shares insights into her strategies for making her classroom more inclusive.

Referenced in this episode:

Read a transcript of episode 6

Strategies for Curtailing Plagiarism

As someone who has taught online university courses since 2009 and taught high school level social studies for 13 years before that, I have met many colleagues who share similar experiences teaching.  One commonality? Academic integrity is something we all strive to promote in our courses yet still find elusive in some respects. We try different methods for monitoring student activity in Canvas tests and quizzes and we develop writing assignments that are more authentic in nature in hopes that we get an authentic product from our students as a result. I came across this short article offering up three other strategies we can implement in our courses to help alleviate plagiarism. If you have any strategies that have worked well for you, whether online or face-to-face, please feel free to share them in reply to this post.

Article link: Keys to Stopping Plagiarism

ODEE DELTA Webinar Recording (4/5/2018): “They Know, They Care”: Recovering Struggling Students in the Online Context (Audrey Begun and Jennie Babcock)

photograph of a lifeguard in a lifeguard stand on a beach near sunset or sunrise, with empty beach to the right of the picture, taken from behind, very scenic

Lifeguard by Md. Shafiul Alam Chowdhury

Recording available at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/p4hzrdo7e7v/

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.

Recording available at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/p4hzrdo7e7v/

ODEE DELTA Webinar: iOS Apps for Teaching (3/21/2018)

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.

Webinar recording at: http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/p5ape9eq2tb/

Materials that Scott refers to in this session can be viewed and downloaded at http://go.osu.edu/iosappswebinar

ODEE DELTA Webinar: Simplify Your Teaching Life with Office365 (2/16/2018)

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.

http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/p7wn1km2km5/ (recorded 2/16/2018)

 

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.)