Mar 27

Fried Friday: Water Out of Thin Air?

At timesI have a tendency to depress myself thinking about the state of the world. A winter without snow doesn’t help. Heap on global warming, rising healthcare prices, state revenues dipping — okay you get the picture. But I came across a TED talk by Navi Radjou who shares some amazing innovations. These are inspirations that he claims have sprung from times when resources are scarce and people have had to dig deep into human ingenuity to make more from less.

The current state of the Alaskan budget and resources for the university in general are pretty scary. Yet Radjou advises that we turn adversity into opportunity. Can we apply his three principles to higher education? They are:

  • Keeping it simple
  • Leveraging existing resources
  • Thinking and acting horizontally

Watch the video and see what you think.

Creative Problem Solving TED





Enjoy your weekend!

Mar 25

Free Live Seminar: Changing the Conversation about the Syllabus

You are invited to join a free thirty-minute seminar on “Changing the Conversation about the Syllabus” from Magna Publications: Tuesday, 10 AM AK time, March 31.

This presentation will discuss the syllabus and ask questions such as:

  • What is the purpose of the syllabus?
  • How might you deepen the conversation with students about your syllabus?
  • How do you create a more learner-centered syllabus?

You must reserve your spot to participate in the presentation on Tuesday the 31st. Instructions on how to attend and more details about the seminar can be found at (click image):

Click for info


Mar 24

Tech Tuesday: Bb’s Adaptive Release Combined with a Syllabus Quiz–Powerful!

Is the syllabus really an integral part of your course? Does knowledge of the syllabus actually improve student performance? Yesterday’s post described some of the things that faculty put into a “Start Here” or “Getting Started” orientation module, today, let’s take a closer look at a syllabus quiz, and why that might be included in your first week’s content. The quiz can:

  • Encourage students read your syllabus to find important information.
  • Unlock the next module of course content. Using Blackboard’s  “Adaptive Release” feature, you can hide folders/modules and reveal them after they successfully respond to questions about your course.
  • Allow students to experience online quizzing, familiarizing them with the quiz feature as well as Blackboard’s gradebook.
  • Serve as evidence that you explained certain important rules (plagiarism, late work, cheating etc.) and that they read and acknowledge that they are aware of your policies.
  • Save you time reading and responding to questions by having students find the answers to their questions.

So how do you set up Adaptive Release? This feature can be used in many ways so it is worth getting to know more about. Click on the image for a handout on using Bb Adaptive Release.


Other resources that you might find helpful:

Blackboard 9.1 Quick Start Guide to Adaptive Release 

Sample Syllabus Quiz Questions from Arizona State University

Syllabus Quiz from Teaching Geoscience Online

Mar 23

Course Orientation or “Start Here” Modules

What is the purpose of the “Getting Started” or “Start Here” module that many of us put in our online courses? Is it a generic orientation to Blackboard with bland but important information that applies to any online course OR is it a personalized walk through of your expectations, your course organization and a warm introduction to the course?

A quick look at our Peer Review Exemplar page shows that many faculty use the Start Here navigation in their courses– but what’s inside these Start Heres?

Peer Review Exemplars

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. The Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository claims that creating an Orientation Module allows you to share information that you would share on day one of a face-to-face course.

Georgia Southern University’s Center for Online Learning states that the purpose of the Course Orientation Module is to prepare students during the first week of class by introducing them to the course, the syllabus, the schedule, the study guide, communication rules, technology requirements and other important instructions they need to succeed. They provide a very nice preview to each section of their Course Orientation.

What’s inside YOUR “Start Here” or “Getting Started” module? We want to start a dialogue, capture your ideas, and help to create a start here that you can easily personalize. We’re having a Google Air Roundtable Discussion on this topic on April 15th at 1 PM. So mark you calendars so you can join in the discussion. In the meantime, please let us know, what you think are the important elements of your orientation module. Check everything that you put in your start here, and comment if you have other items that you include!


Mar 13

Fried Friday: Challenges of Teaching with Technology

Nicole came across this video that was produced by students at the University of Denver. It highlights some frustrations that students have when faculty are not using technology wisely or appropriately. I’m sure some of these scenes are a bit over the top, but it is Friday after all and we want you to relax in the knowledge that you are NOT like this professor bumbling about trying to incorporate technology into his teaching practice.


From the Chronicle of Higher Education “Class Produces Parody of ‘The Office’ to Highlight Challenges of Teaching with Technology.”

From all of us, enjoy your Friday and the upcoming Spring break!

Mar 12

iTeachU Tip Sheets for Faculty

We’ve mentioned before that our colleagues at UAF are creating some excellent resources for faculty. In fact, we’ve even added a sidebar on this site to link you directly to their blog site so you can browse some of their tip sheets more easily.

Here are just a few that might be of interest to you from recent post. After clicking the image below, click on the “Read More” at the right bottom of each description to open and read the complete post.


We thank our colleagues at UAF for sharing these (and all the other) interesting teaching tips for all faculty to benefit. The tip archive goes back about three years! Be sure to check it out and return often using the link at the side of our FLC blog under “Other Resources” UAF eLearning Faculty Resources.


Mar 10

Tech Tuesday – What Technology Do You Want to Learn More About?

We need your input so we can create the quick tip sheets, tutorials, webinars and training materials that you need. Please take a minute to select up to 5 topics that you are MOST INTERESTED in learning more about. Note, this is Tech Tuesday, so these topics are all technology related. If we’ve missed a technology that isn’t on our list, please add it! Thanks!

Mar 09

iTeach/iCamp Deadline to Apply

Apply NowIf you haven’t locked in your spot for iTeach (Juneau) or iCamp (Sitka) you may soon be out of time. The deadline is TODAY so get your application in as soon as possible. Why do we need a deadline?

  1. Whether you plan to attend iTeach Juneau (May 11-15) or iCamp Sitka (June 1-5) we need to know how many people are attending so that we can allocate the appropriate number of instructional designers to each event.
  2. We really try to meet your individual needs and expectations when we gather our resources for iTeach/iCamp. We can’t do that if we don’t know what your needs are.
  3. We don’t recycle old information and old ideas– we take our job to keep you informed about the most up-to-date and most valuable educational resources quite seriously. This takes research time and energy to make sure we are share the most appropriate and best practices that apply to your situation.
  4. We have to budget for both faculty stipends and food.

Please fill out the application and let us know which location you will be attending, what your expectations and needs are and which days you plan to attend. We hope to see you at iCamp or iTeach. If you have any questions, please contact Mary or Maureen.

Mar 06

Fried Friday: Have a Problem? How Do You Make Toast?

Take 9 minutes (trust me they go really fast) to listen to this TED talk about solving problems and making toast! Tom Wujec discusses how nodes and links and visualizing your problems  (preferably with a team) can assist you in “solving wicked problems.”Click for Video

If you are intrigued, Wujec’s website provides you with step-by-step instructions on how to use his system to solve problems using eight simple steps: Prepare, Invite, Conduct, Reflect, Video, Draw Your Challenge, Share, and System. You’ll find this and more at Draw How To Make Toast.

And while you are at it, how do YOU make toast?? Feel free to share a drawing with us.

Enjoy your weekend!

Mar 05

Best Practices for Flipping Classes – Free Programs for UAS Faculty

available now red square stamp
The UAS Sitka Campus Title III program is happy to provide you with another FREE professional development opportunity! The Flipped Classroom 4-Pack from Magna Publications is now available for you to view. If there is interest, we will schedule a future roundtable to discuss the programs. Please let us know in the comments if you are interested in participating in the roundtable discussion.

Integrating flipping strategies into your classroom promotes student engagement, challenges students to address higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and increases student success and learning. Discover flipping insights and strategies that you can employ in any lesson in any course. These programs will ease you into the flipped learning environment and will help you successfully flip your classroom.

Each program listed below includes a 20 minute presentation, PowerPoint handout, supplemental material, facilitator’s discussion guide, transcript, and a reflection worksheet.

How Can I Structure a Flipped Lesson?
This program will bring you up to speed on the most current approaches to flipping and will give you a four-part structure for a flipped lesson.

What is Storyboarding? And How Can It Help Me Flip My Class?
Discover three distinct strategies for storyboarding and how to use each to create a video for a flipped class.

What Are 5 FAQs About Faculty Roles in the Flipped Class?
In this program, Honeycutt and Warren discuss the most common questions they have been asked about flipping and share successful strategies they have used in the classroom.

Where Can I Find Flippable Moments in my Classes?
Identify flippable moments and how to get the best results when you do.

For more information on the programs and presenters, visit Magna Publications’ website. To gain access to the programs, you will need to log in below with your UAS username and password.

Access the Flipped Classroom 4-Pack

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