Sep 03

Discussion Board Improves Exam Scores: Success Shared by KPC Faculty

I always think we learn best from our colleagues and I recently heard from Susan Mircovich, Assistant Professor of Chemistry for Kenai Peninsula College of something that she did which was very successful. I asked Susan to write it up for me so I could share it with all of the faculty reading the FLC. Susan writes:

Susan MircovichHere’s an idea for a discussion board forum that I recently tried and discovered was very successful. I put up this prompt after Exam #1:

How to study for your Chem 105 Exams–Extra Credit

Did not do as well as you would have liked on your last exam? Help out your classmates by sharing what you will do differently for Exam 2 and the Final Exam. IF you did great on the last exam, tell everyone how you did it!  10 points Extra Credit for a meaningful and helpful post. DUE Sunday July 5th midnight.

Did it work? Well, 20 out of 24 students posted to this forum. Exam 2 grades improved! The 10 extra credit points out of a total of 1000 points for the course were well worth it! I followed up by individually emailing and congratulating students who improved their exam grades on the next exam.

Thank you Susan for this great idea. You let the students reflect on what worked or didn’t work and you showed them you were paying attention when you followed up with a congratulatory email. Nice job!

If you have a tip for colleagues that has helped you in the past, please email us so that we can celebrate your success and share the strategy.

Be sure to read yesterday’s Faculty Challenge post and get your submissions sent in soon!!


Sep 02

Faculty Challenge #5: Show Us Your Drawn Characters!

On Monday’s post we shared information that simple, hand-drawn characters can add a lot to your eLearning class. Today we challenge you to give it a try! Read through Monday’s tutorials if you need some extra help with the creation process. Create a few hand-drawn figures that you might use to:

  • Introduce a topic or a module
  • Place on your announcement page
  • Show “congratulations” or “well-done”
  • Show “are you confused?”

Kathi's stick figuresWe want to see your characters, but we also want to know HOW you will use them in your class. Please share with us by sending your characters along with a brief explanation of where you might use them (in assignments, in announcements, or perhaps your start here etc.) to Kathi.

We’ll post your submissions on our Faculty Challenge Google Site and we’ll vote on our favorites next week.By the way, the Faculty Challenge Google Site still has our first 4 challenge examples- banners, sense of presence, polls and surveys and word clouds. If you are looking for inspiration, see what your colleagues created last year!

Deadline for characters (hand drawn, Pixton-drawn or Powtoon-drawn or other) submissions: Wednesday, September 9th.

We are pretty sure yours will look better than mine!  Get drawing!

Sep 01

Tech Tuesday – Use Your iPad as a Second Monitor

monitorsUsing a second monitor increases productivity, makes cutting and pasting easier, allows for side-by-side comparison, and more! Many of us may have two monitors in the office but what about at home? If you already own an iPad this may be an inexpensive solution to a second screen. Below are two apps that allow you to use your iPad as a second monitor.

Duet Display ($18.99)

Air Display 3 ($16.99)

You can never have too many monitors!



Aug 31

Characters, cartoons or photos?

Last Tuesday’s post by Ariculate’s Tom Kuhlman A Three-Step Process to Create Hand Drawn Custom Characters got me thinking. For college students is it best to illustrate a course with photographs of people or with custom drawn characters, or cartoon figures? Does it matter?

Research tells us that it can make a difference! And, believe it or not, graphics that are less realistic, or have low-fidelity, can actually improve learning. Connie Malamed in Realistic Graphics and Learning: What’s most effective? simplifies the research by pointing out that simple, low fidelity graphics:

Permit quick scanning: we can extract the message rapidly without having to search all of the details of a realistic scene.

Eliminate misunderstandings: choosing the correct image, correct nationality, correct racial or cultural image, can be difficult. Often a stick drawing or cartoon can eliminate the worries that you are including all groups or deliberately depicting one group and not another. Misunderstandings can be avoided keeping things simple.

Reduce distraction: with less information to overload our working memory, the simpler the graphic, the more the brain can concentrate on the essential information.

Robin Bartoletti uses Prezi to encapsulate these ideas in 4 Rules for Using Graphics in eLearning. Most of these authors agree that research has shown that experts and more advanced learners benefit the most from realism and detailed photographs.

Click for Tom's postOK, then this brings us back to Kuhlman’s post on how to easily create your own hand-drawn custom characters! Back in October 2009 we created a post about two tools Pixton and Powtoons that we think are easy to use and clearly create simple representations of people. Kuhlman brings this simplicity into even simpler terms with his hand-drawn images, created no less in PowerPoint! As always, his post is clear, easy to follow and simple to execute. Give it a try!


Aug 28

Fried Friday: Email in REAL Life

The school year is just beginning, yet my email box feels already out of control. Nicole shared this from the SMARTBoard training earlier this week. It made me smile, I hope it does the same for you!

Click for video

Aug 27

Respondus Training


Introduction to the Respondus Test Bank Network
Tuesday, September 1st at 3 pm ET

Respondus 4.0: Instructor Training
Wednesday, September 9th at 1 pm ET

LockDown Browser & Respondus Monitor: Instructor Training
Thursday, September 10th at 2 pm ET
Tuesday, September 22nd at 3 pm ET

View webinar details and register.
respondus logo

Aug 26

Lending Library Moving to Egan Library!

Lending LibraryOver the past 5 years of this Title III grant we’ve acquired an excellent library on topics including Understanding by Design, Peer Review, Assessment, Teaching Online, well, you get the picture, we’ve collected a broad array of books. Many of these books Mary and I used when teaching ED593 so faculty who took that course have already seen many of these titles.Many of these were handed out to faculty at iTeach sessions.

Chancellor Caulfield recently stressed something I hadn’t thought about much. We have UAA and satellite campuses. We have UAF and satellite campuses. Why don’t we have UAJ and two satellites? Why are we UA Southeast? He stated that this was deliberate. That UA Southeast was just that, one campus in three locations. We are in this business of educating students together. And, particularly in this tight budget environment, this becomes even more crucial to remember and to find solutions that help to bind us together, rather than push us apart.

In this spirit, the Title III lending library is moving to the Egan Library to make it easily accessible to all faculty, Sitka and beyond. We hope that you’ll look over our titles and avail yourself of these great resources. We so appreciate our regional library and librarians.

Aug 25

Tech Tuesday: To Bullet or NOT to Bullet

Here at the FLC, we have often written about the perils of cluttered PowerPoint presentations, and over-bulleted slides with lists and lists often seen in presentations or eLearning materials. Yet, numbered lists and bulleted lists can be powerful tools when used in thoughtful ways. Christopher Pappas provides a nice list of 7 Tips for Using Bullets in eLearning. See what you think!

Click for ArticleAnd if you are interested in this topic, SH!FT’s Karla Gutierrez posted “Bullets in eLearning:Friend or Foe? which is also worth the read.

Click to Read


Aug 24

Monday Morning Mentor is Back!

Title III is once again 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, August 24 and continue every Monday through December 7.


“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:

  • How Do I Use VoiceThread for Online Student Discussions?
  • What If a Student Asks a Question I Can’t Answer?
  • What Should I Do When a Student Cheats?
  • How Can I Measure My Faculty Development Center’s Impact?
  • What is the Best Way to Grade Participation?
  • How Can I Use Technology to Improve Learning?
  • How Do I Create a Climate for Learning in My Classroom?
  • Can Service-Learning Work in My Discipline?
  • What Can I Learn From Student Ratings?
  • How Can I Reduce Apathy and Increase Motivation?
  • How Do I Get Started with Service-Learning?
  • How Can I Connect Students’ Interests to Course Content?
  • How Can I Better Manage Difficult Conversations with Faculty?
  • How Can I Build a Successful Faculty Development Program?
  • In Blended Courses, What Should Students Do Online?
  • How Do I Design Courses to Enhance Student Veterans’ Success?

-Magna Publications

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

Aug 21

Fried Friday: Smile Just Because You Can

Sitka is certainly fried this week, but not in a lighthearted, fun way. The landslide that occurred Tuesday morning, obliterating an entire home, damaging another, sending a 15 ft high wave of logs, mud and debris down the mountain will not be easy to forget. Three people were lost, two confirmed dead so far. We are grateful for all of the rescue workers, families and friends who are providing aid and assistance to the families who were affected. We are grateful for those who managed to outrun the landslide and for two dogs returned to their loving family.

In just an instant nature reminds us of how fragile and short our lives are, reminds us to tell our friends and family how much they mean to us. In that spirit, the Title III Team wants to thank you for being part of our Faculty Learning Corner and Tips for Student Success family and striving to improve the online learning experience for your students. Go home and pet your animals, enjoy your children and other loved ones, do something silly and smile just because you can.

— message written by Mary Purvis on behalf of the entire Title III team