Oct 31

Fried Friday (and Vote!)

It’s that time of week again where we blog some humor for you. If you are familiar with fonts, you may find this week’s Fried Friday post by CollegeHumor amusing. View the Font Conference below and don’t forget to vote on the Faculty Challenge #4: Word Clouds before Monday at 12 pm!


Oct 30

It’s Time to Vote!

No, not at the polls–here on the FLC! We have 6 submissions for our Faculty Challenge #4: Word Clouds. View them below and in more detail (and larger) on our FLC challenge Google site. Cast your vote for your favorite 3 before Monday, November 3 at 12 pm!

Oct 28

Tech Tuesday – PowToon Giveaway

powtoonWe’ve blogged about PowToon before and want to remind you to snag a free classroom account before it’s too late! PowToon’s giveaway for classroom accounts (1 teacher and 60 students) has proven so popular that they only have a few accounts left. Grab one ASAP before the promo closes this week!

PowToon is an easy to use “intuitive presentation software that allows someone with no technical or design skills to create engaging professional ‘look and feel’ animated presentations.” This tool lets you create animated clips and short information pieces that can easily upload to YouTube. There are many templates to use to simplify the creation process as well as access to short tutorials to help you get started. View the promo video to see the what you can create.

Oct 27

Whose Inaugural Address?

Just a reminder that we’re still collecting your word clouds until Wednesday of this week. Please send them to Kathi as soon as possible!

Here’s a mini-challenge for you history buffs– I’ve plopped the words to from a past president’s inaugural address into Wordle.net and came up with this. Can you guess whose address this was? Be the first to guess into the comments below and don’t forget to get your  own word cloud submissions sent in!

inaugural address

You can view the current submissions at our Faculty Learning Corner Google Site. Got one to share? Send to Kathi before Wednesday, October 29th. 

Oct 24

Fried Friday: Polls, Surveys and Leading Questions, Oh My!

We explored a bit about polls and surveys these past two weeks and thought you might enjoy finishing off your week with a little light-hearted clip from “Yes, Prime Minister” on asking leading questions to skew an opinion survey. With all of the political calls, surveys and advertisements, we thought this was a fitting Fried Friday post.

Click the image to begin the video. Have a great weekend!

Click image for video

DON’T FORGET– we are still accepting Word Cloud submissions! Send yours to Kathi before Wednesday, October 29th. And, you can view the current submissions at our Faculty Learning Corner Google Site.

Oct 22

Faculty Challenge #4: Show Us Your Word Cloud

tagul word cloudIs it true that a picture is worth a thousand words? We think so! Check out the word cloud to the right. It was created by pasting all of the words from all of our Faculty Learning Corner posts this past month into Tagul, a word cloud generator.

“But why” you might ask, “would you want to do that? And what possible academic benefits or uses could word clouds have?” Good questions, and hopefully this post will address those questions, but first, let’s start with the basics. What are “word clouds?”

A word cloud takes a document of text (could be a speech, a poem, a lesson on astronomy, song lyrics, recipes, etc.) and creates an image based upon the frequency of word usage. In my example, you can see that our posts must have a lot of course/faculty/student /tool/use emphasis since those are the largest words showing up.

There are some really great word cloud generators out there and they are described well in The 5 Best Free Word Cloud Creation Tools for Teachers. This article lets you know whether you will need an account, for example, or what kind of file the generator outputs your completed word cloud to. My two favorite word cloud generators remain Wordle (for simplicity and clean look) and Tagul for when I want a word cloud shaped like a pumpkin, or some other specific shape.

Before you just get lost in the beauty and fun of word clouds, we want to emphasize that there are some great educational reasons for using word clouds. Each of the following links provides a wealth of ideas for you.

Top 10 Tips to Use Word Clouds in eLearning  is a short article giving you some great tips on integrating word clouds in your course.

A longer 4-part blog comes from the 21st Century Educational Technology and Learning, by Gorman, and has some really great information. Even those of you who use word clouds already are sure to find some new ideas here!

And, if you love Google Docs, you can now even create a word cloud within your Google Doc. Richard Byrne explains how in Create a Word Cloud Within Your Google Documents.

If you aren’t convinced that there is a word cloud generator out there with your name on it, we’d be surprised. But if you are thinking that you already can see the possibilities of word clouds, then get ready for Faculty Challenge #4 — Show Us Your Word Cloud!!

We want to see your word cloud but tell us how you used it in your class. Did you use it to introduce a topic? To create a discussion? Do you have an assignment where the students create their own word clouds? However you are using word clouds– please share with us by sending your word cloud or assignment to Kathi. We’ll post your submissions on our Faculty Challenge Google Site and we’ll vote on our favorites next week. Deadline for word cloud submissions: Wednesday, October 29th.


Oct 21

Tech Tuesday – Online Teaching Tips (in 20 minutes)

timerGot 20 minutes? Then we’ve got a deal for you! The UAS Sitka Campus Title III program is offering UAS faculty the opportunity to start their week with dynamic, professional development delivered online in only 20 minutes! The program started in August but there are still 7 sessions remaining. If you contact Nicole this week you’ll also be able to access this week’s program: What Does Copyright Ownership Mean to Me?

The Monday Morning Mentor is a program from Magna Publications. How does this practical and convenient program work? Each program is available online starting at 9 am CST – yes, that’s 6 am AK time. But don’t worry about setting an early alarm as the programs are available for on-demand viewing for one full week. New programs are available weekly each Monday morning through December 8. The remaining topics are:

Oct. 27:  Is There a Solution to Students Multitasking in Class?
Nov. 3: How Can I Enhance the Impact of Feedback in Online Classes?
Nov. 10: How Can I Make My Course Content More Accessible?
Nov. 17: What Is Storyboarding and How Can It Help You Flip Your Class?
Nov. 24: What Are Five Tips for Writing Effective Learning Outcomes?
Dec. 1: How Can I Design Copyright-Compliant Courses?
Dec. 8: Where Can I Find Flippable Moments in My Classes?

Interested faculty should email Nicole Duclos for information on how to access the programs.

Photo credit: istockphoto.com/TokenPhoto

Oct 20

Surveys and Polls, Challenge Winners!

Thank you Charla and Marnie for contributing ideas about surveys! You can find their submissions at our Faculty Challenge Google Site.

Marnie reminded me that when we listed survey tools in our initial post, we forgot to include the UAS Survey tool in our list. She really likes the reports that she gets from this survey tool. If you have never given it a try, you can find that tool by going to UAS Online, click on “Add Tools”, then under “Faculty/Staff” click on “MySurveys”.

Challenge 3

Before we leave this topic, we’d like to gather just a little information from you on polls and surveys.

Remember, you do not have to use any fancy survey tools to collect feedback from your students. Built into Blackboard we have journals where students can reflect and evaluate their learning or respond to specific prompts. The discussion board also is often used as a survey tool, asking students to respond to questions without the need to respond to each other. And, of course, the built-in survey tool is fairly robust as well. And built-into Collaborate are some easy-to-use polling capabilities.

Oct 17

Fried Friday

Be thankful that our Faculty Challenges haven’t included things like Ze Frank’s “Toilet Paper Challenge” and “When Office Tools Attack” challenge to his followers! This is an old Ted Talk, but if you never watched it, you might enjoy Ze Frank’s Nerdcore Comedy. You’ll have to stick it out to the end of the Ted Talk to see his challenges.

Ze Frank Ted Talk Click Here


Faculty Challenge #3 is still open.

We know many of you use surveys in your courses or take quick polls– we’re still looking for your examples and your shared strategies on how and when to implement these. Please get your submissions to Kathi so she can post on our shared Faculty Challenge Google Site. Thanks.

By the way, if you noticed yesterday that this post was sent out a day early and retracted, that was our fault. We were hoping yesterday was Friday! Enjoy your weekend.

Oct 15

Exemplars Aligned to the Peer Review Rubric

Click for examplarsWe’ve posted about the peer review of online courses a few times (search for Peer Review) in the past. Today we’re excited to announce that, similar to the sharing we’ve doing with our Faculty Challenges, many faculty have shared examples from their courses that showcase different ways of meeting the Peer Review Rubric’s standards.

We’ve posted these Peer Review Exemplars, with faculty permission, in a public Google Doc and we hope that you will take a look at some of the ways your colleagues are meeting the peer review standards. We want to keep adding examples to this list. If you are interested in sharing something you feel meets the rubrics standards, please send it to ksbaldwin@alaska.edu and we’ll add it to our document.

One of the real values of the peer review checklist/rubric is that you can self-assess your course(s). Beyond the value of self-assessment, participating in a review, formal or informal, allows you to gain insights from other faculty on different ways or strategies to accomplish something. It isn’t often that we have the time to step inside someone else’s classroom and see first hand how they deliver their content. Peer review gives us this opportunity.

If you haven’t had an opportunity to look at the UAS Peer Review for Course Improvement process, we have a Presentation for you to view. Additionally, here is the Peer Review Rubric and Checklist both found on the IDC website.

We’re very interested in your thoughts on our rubric, the process, the value and the exemplars to please comment below!

Starting soon, we’ll begin the 2014-2015 Peer Review Thru The Lens meetings. If you missed these sessions last year, they are 1 hour-long sessions where we look in depth at one of the peer review standards through the lens of one or two real courses. Our first session will be a close look at Standard III: Assessment and Measurement. If you would like to share your course assessments, both formative and summative and have faculty look at how your course meets Standard III of our rubric, please contact Kathi.

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