Are You Mentally “Fried” by Friday?

Image of overworked womanIt’s Friday, and we want to help alleviate your mental weariness! We’re starting something new and calling it our “Fried Friday” sessions where we’ll bring you tutorials, Q&A sessions, or just a little light hearted humor. You’ll be hearing more about these sessions in the following weeks so stay tuned!

Meanwhile, to kick off our first Fried Friday post, enjoy this bit of humor that Susie and Maureen shared with us. As online instructors, we’ve all participated in some pretty tedious audio-conferences. We think you’ll get a chuckle out of this Conference Call in Real Life . We hope this helps you to enjoy your Friday!

click for youtube video

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for more interesting and fun posts from your Title III team and friends!

Image: ©iStockphoto.com/FotoW

A Survey to Help Us Help You

onlineSurvey

Please take our short survey!

As we wind down our grant (only a year and a half left!), we want to be sure that we focus our training and support efforts on what you need and want. To that end, please take 5 minutes to complete this survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/UASFacultySurvey2014. If you could complete it by February 7th, we can get going on your requests immediately. Thank you!

Image: ©iStockphoto.com/orsonsruf

20 Minute Monday Morning Mentor

That’s a lot of M’s but not a lot of time! Title III is providing interested faculty a chance to start their weeks off with dynamic, professional development – in only 20 minutes!

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 beginning Monday, January 27 and continue every Monday through May 12. mentor

“In a compact format designed for busy schedules, the programs will deliver focused, fact-filled examinations of issues important to faculty and staff. Those include:

  • Student engagement
  • Teaching and learning
  • Teaching online
  • Assessment and learning goals
  • Classroom management
  • Legal concerns
  • Physical/mental/emotional health
  • Service learning…”

-Magna Publications

The first program on January 27 is How Can I Create Meaningful Assignments for My Students? For a complete list of programs and dates, view and download the  program schedule (link). Interested faculty should email Nicole Duclos for information on how to access the programs.

Just another awesome opportunity provided to you by your Sitka Title III team!

Did You Miss the Peer Review Presentation?

No worries if you were unable to attend the UAS Peer Review presentation, we have a link to the recorded session:

Visual of Peer Review Recording

Link to RECORDED PRESENTATION

To find the peer review information (or bookmark it for later reference) you have three choices:

    1. Visit the Instructional Design Center (IDC) Faculty Resources pages: UAS Peer Review for Course Improvement
    2. View the About UAS Peer Review Presentation
    3. Click on the Faculty Learning Corner Additional Resources Page

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