Save the Date: Two iTeach Opportunities to Choose From

iTeach2014_v2Get your calendar out and reserve these dates –  two different iTeach opportunities are headed your way!

  • Basic iTeach Juneau – May 12-16, 2014
  • iTeach2 Sitka – June 2-6, 2014

Regardless of whether you are an experienced or a novice online instructor, we have an iTeach that should fit your needs. Do not put this one off! Space is limited so get your application in early.

Click the image for details.

Peer Review at UAS–an Update!

There has been a lot of interest in the Peer Review process developed by the Peer Review for Course Improvement Committee at UAS. We’ve developed a tutorial and website to explain peer review, answer your questions, and supply you with the rubric and the checklist so you can start using these tools on your own online course. Maren Haavig and Kathi Baldwin will be showcasing the website and answering questions about peer review during Spring Start-Up at 1 PM on Thursday, January 9th at the Juneau Campus. Ketchikan and Sitka campus will be able to dial in– check your agenda for details. Please join us.

We totally believe that the peer review process and rubrics created could be modified to peer review a traditional face-to-face course, however, at present, they are being used only to enhance and improve online courses. Take some time and let us know what you think of the UAS Peer Review Process! We look forward to your feedback.

Click the image below for the presentation, visit the website  for a textual version of the information, or return to this blog and click on the “Additional Resources”   page to find the presentation at a later time.

Peer Review Presentation

How Long is TOO Long?

One of the biggest pitfalls in creating an online course is in trying to reconstruct your face-to-face classroom on the web, complete with 50 minute lectures and handouts. What’s wrong with that? First we must keep in mind that the web is a very different learning environment from our traditional classrooms, and online courses should take advantage of this to create learning environments that are more effective and more engaging. Second, the research is in, 6 to 7 minutes of instructional video — that’s the sweet spot,  states Tremblay’s article on the E-Learning Acupuncture blog. He quotes Philip Guo’s new research on the Optimal Video Length for Student Engagement. Both articles are interesting reading.

http://www.oneproductions.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Avg-length-of-Online-Videos-1.jpgThis graphic (click thumbnail to view the oneproduction.com infographic) compiles video information to underscore Guo’s research. On the web, educational videos should be short and to the point. Here are some tips from Wistia on keeping people engaged in your educational material:

  1. Keep it short
  2. Put the message at the beginning
  3. Be clear, direct and relevant
  4. Be human and personal

It would be interesting to hear from you. Does your experience with Adobe Presenter, Jing, Camtasia, YouTube or other educational “video” content you’ve created match these research findings? Are you finding significant learner drop-off when your recorded information is longer than 6 or 7 minutes?

Take the Challenge and Possibly Win a Prize and Recognition!

Do you have a lesson you’ve created in SoftChalk? Do you have a great idea for creating an interactive lesson in SoftChalk? Competitive in nature? Take the challenge! Enter the 2014 SoftChalk Lesson Challenge and let a panel of educators review your lesson. You could be a winner! For more details, click the “Take the Challenge” image below.

http://softchalk.com/showcase/challenges-winners/lesson-challenge

UAS has a license for SoftChalk and we have training links for SoftChalk posted on our blog at http://facultylearningcorner.wordpress.com/?s=softchalk  — be sure to check them out if you missed them earlier.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m certain that for the next few days you will have plenty on your plate (I’m looking forward to filling mine), but if you find yourself with a little spare time to relax and reflect, and you missed some of the sessions from UAA’s eTech Fair, you are in luck, they were recorded and you can kick back and catch the session you were interested in.

Click the image below to view recorded webinars on creating banners, using Bb Collaborate, using Voicethread, creating a Bb Exemplary Course, virtual labs and many topics of interest.

http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/classes/instructors/etech-fair.cfm

Universal Design Principles

We have talked in the past about designing your online courses with care and making informed choices when deciding what to include or how to include content. Certainly we all agree that the look of your course is important. Sometimes we think that Universal Design Principles are only important if you have a student with a disability in your course. This is not the case. These principles make it easier for everyone to view and learn from your course materials.

Think about it. A wheelchair accessible ramp may have been built to help disabled people avoid the staircase, but have you ever used this ramp instead of the staircase yourself or seen others do the same? I’m sure we all have. The same is true of Universal Design Principles. When we build a course with good design, it benefits all of our students, not just those with disabilities. A good review of the Principles of Universal Design can be found at Ten Simple Steps Toward Universal Design of Online Courses.

Colored Grapefruit ImageOne area of Universal Design that we often forget about or ignore entirely is the use of color in our courses–#6 in the Ten Step article above. When preparing presentations, papers, slides, or any materials that live on the web, we need to consider some Color Universal Design principles. First, do not use color alone to convey meaning. If the work is printed on a black and white printer, your color emphasis may be totally lost! But another important consideration is making your work friendly for people who are colorblind.

An excellent article explains color blindness and discusses how to select colors that are easier to distinguish can be found at Color Universal Design. There you will find three important principles that will benefit your overall course or material design:

  1. Choose a color scheme that can be viewed easily by all regardless of actual lighting conditions and the environment of your user.
  2. Use different shapes, positions, line types or patterns  *in addition to color* to ensure that the information will be seen by all individuals, even those who have trouble distinguishing differences in color.
  3. Clearly state the color name in addition to showing the color whenever possible.

Universal Design may seem like a lot of work, but I think we’d all agree that, for the sake of our students, it is well worth the effort. Thanks Peter (Ilisagvik College) for bringing up this important topic and sharing the link.

Image: ©iStockphoto.com/orsonsruf

Creativity and Innovation– the Theme for UAS Sitka!

http://ictevangelist.com/technological-pedagogical-and-content-knowledge/Today we (Sitka campus faculty and staff) met to discuss Tony Wagner’s book “Creating Innovators” our first book club meeting. We had a great discussion talking about the different ways that faculty and parents can create experiences that foster creativity and lead to innovation.

Prior to our meeting, Nicole shared an article on Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge, by Mark Anderson. In this article he quotes Koehler and Mishra, 2009, stating that “educators should be able to recognize when information technology can assist or impede the achievement of a goal.” Then he provides an interesting chart with the ultimate degree of confidence and competence being– you guessed it– INNOVATION!

We thought this would be a great opportunity to link our book club ideas and our Title III goals– helping faculty become more competent and confident in their knowledge and use of instructional technologies. If you are feeling like you are at the “survival” level, please contact us for help! We can assist one-on-one, or online, or set up something that feels right and works for you. If you have mastered technologies, but don’t feel like you are getting the impact with students or the results that you were hoping for, please call and let’s talk about ways that we can enhance or improve the impact of your strategies in your courses.

Lastly, if you are using technology in interesting, successful and innovative ways– please share with us some of the things that you are doing. We love hearing your success stories!

Online Education — a Disruptive Innovation?

One of our colleagues from Ilisagvik College shared this article today (thanks Peter), from the NY Times, Innovation Imperative: Change Everything,“– it’s a powerful argument for higher educators to modify their approach to education and embrace online learning.

This article underscores that college, as many of us remember fondly, is no longer the “bridge” experience from childhood to adulthood, as only 30% of college students today live on a college campus. Yet, it states that online education may replace and improve that experience offering students an opportunity to socialize and learn together. Please take a look at the article linked above and report back what you think!

eTech Fair: Distance Education Week | Nov. 11-15th 2013

Online TrainingUAA invites you to attend the eTech Fair: Distance Education Week. Drop-ins are welcome and no pre-registration is required. The agenda is attached below, note that only UAA faculty are eligible for the door prizes. This is an ONLINE training, attend from your desk or home computer, via Collaborate!

Offerings include, Interactive Rubrics, VoiceThread, Making Banners and Editing Graphics and so much more.

Take advantage of one or more of these sessions, and come back and comment and tell us what you thought of this!

Many thanks to UAA for letting us attend!

eTech Fair Agenda

Image: ©iStockphoto.com/IvelinRadkov

iPads for UAS Sitka Faculty

ipadFLC_croppedSome of you have been using iPad’s that we purchased a few years ago for faculty check-out. These devices have supported your teaching, helped lighten your load when you travel, helped you take notes during conferences, provided a way to check mail, compile data, research your content area, and more. In short, they have become indispensable. In fact, when I asked you to turn them in so we could give you new ones, we heard more than a few gasps! However, you were willing to turn them in to upgrade to a retinal display model, more memory, better processing, the addition of FaceTime capability etc. When we got the new iPads, we also required you to submit a report about how you used the iPad in your teaching and Personal Learning Environment. We have really enjoyed reading your reports and hearing all the creative ways this device has become essential to you.

If you do not have an iPad yet and would like to check one out, please email Mary Purvis. You will need to submit a proposal for its use, and then you can begin using it. We still have a few left – first come, first serve!

To pique your interest in how helpful an iPad can be to your teaching, read this report, graciously shared by Gayle Hammons.

Interested in trying out a Chromebook or Microsoft Surface? We have a few display models you can check out for a limited time. Contact Mary for details!

Image: ©iStockphoto.com/Sitade