COVID Diaries Intentional Online Education

Intentional Online Education vs. Emergency Remote Instruction

Olga LaPlante and Amy Wright, members of the CGPS Instructional Design Services (IDS) team, discuss some of the benefits of intentional online education and the collaborative processes IDS uses to create engaging online courses: 2020 was a school year unlike any other since 1918 and now that it’s summer and school is out, many K-12 schools and colleges are reflecting…

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July 28, 2020 |

Counseling session in the online MSW program

UNE Online integrates interactive branching scenarios and video roleplaying

Two new course formats for today’s social work student.  As a part of our commitment to continuing excellence in online education, the Online Master of Social Work program at the University of New England is happy to announce that we have introduced two new course delivery elements: interactive branching scenarios and live video roleplaying. Social Work is a singularly demanding…

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December 10, 2019 |

2019 Portland Maine Visitors Guide

UNE Online Portland City Guide 2019

Congratulations, graduates! We’re so excited that you’ll be joining us for Commencement! Portland has so much to experience – each year we have fun listing our favorites out of all of the uniquely “Maine” things that Portland has to offer. These are our favorites here at CGPS – we hope you enjoy them! Portland Maine Visitors Guide Click to open…

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May 6, 2019 |

Three people helping each other understand what is on a laptop screen thanks to digital text accessibility

Digital Text Accessibility Doesn't Have to Be Complicated

In today’s multimedia digital communication landscape, text continues to dominate.* Digital text accessibility doesn’t have to be complicated, and ensuring that your i’s are dotted shouldn’t be a burden. There are a few rules to keep in mind. While focusing on screenreader compatibility is an important aspect of the accessibility effort, the overall benefit to users goes beyond this technology.…

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August 23, 2018 |

Teacher laughing as she undergoes supervision and evaluation

Developing Teachers as Leaders: Supervision and Evaluation

One of the main responsibilities of being an administrator in the K-12 education setting is supervision and evaluation. Understanding the importance that the roles of supervision and evaluation play in the development of teacher leaders is vital to the culture of the school in which the practices are being utilized. In the Graduate Programs in Education at the University of…

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August 22, 2018 |

Figure with bullhorn next to bold text:

Putting Current Events in the Classroom

As instructional designers, we spend weeks or months working with subject matter experts and programs to ensure that courses have everything students need. We work on alignment and learning outcomes, and we carefully construct modules so that the content is current, robust, and presented in the clearest way possible. What happens though, when a portion of the course content is…

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May 17, 2018 |

A stack of books such as those that the library can offer as resources

Treasures & Tips at the UNE Library

How well do you know the UNE Library, and the many resources available there? Recently, I visited the UNE Library website for the same reason that many of us do: to search for journal articles. I was pleased to find full-text access to most of the articles that I needed. This was not a big surprise; what really impressed me…

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May 10, 2018 |

A person's hand is rested on a Dell computer next to a Mac computer

Making Text Look Normal in Blackboard

Have you ever pasted text into Blackboard and found that it just doesn’t look right? It might be that the font has changed, weird symbols have replaced some letters, background colors have suddenly appeared, or your spacing and lists are all wrong. It can be maddening when all you want to do is paste a simple string of text, but…

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April 5, 2018 |

Resource Articles

Articles We've Been Reading - 3/23/18

Every now and then, we like to draw attention to the links to the articles that we instructional designers have read and found interesting during the previous few weeks. The opinions expressed in these articles don’t always reflect our own. Rather, we share them because we think they compel conversation, which we’re happy to have with our readers in the comments field below. Udacity U-Turns…

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March 23, 2018 |

UNE Online Graduate Courses available globally

Accessibility Helps Everyone

One of the pillars of Universal Design Language, or UDL, is the idea that when you develop your instruction and assessments so they are accessible to a wide audience, including to those with sensory impairments, the results benefit everyone. This dynamic exists across modalities, such that the more we design for students with certain sensory needs, the more we benefit…

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March 19, 2018 |

Thought bubble with idea

Fostering Growth Mindset in Grad Students

“People with a fixed mindset believe that their traits are set in stone – they have a certain amount of intelligence and nothing will change that. The opposite of this is the growth mindset – people see their qualities as things that they can develop through effort and practice” (Gallagher, 2014, their emphasis). According to Carol Dweck, Growth Mindset is…

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February 15, 2018 |

broken pencil

Authentic Learning and Assessments: Readying Online Students for the Real World

Last week at UNE Online’s first ever Online Learning Symposium         , I had the opportunity to share our goal of creating learning experiences and assessments that are not only rigorous and research-based, but also authentic to real work and real life, so that when our students leave us, they have the tools to use their knowledge…

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February 2, 2018 |

Webinar Series

Webinar - Inline Grading with New Box View

The most recent update to Blackboard, over break, included an update to its inline grading functionality. To cover the new features in this tool—which allows for student work to be read, graded, and even commented on within Blackboard, without forcing you to download—we turned to our fearless peers, Susan Graham-Rent and Susan Hyde, who delivered an excellent webinar on the…

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January 11, 2018 |

Acrobat PDF Icon

PDF Editing and Accessibility

PDFs (Portable Document Format), with their platform-neutral openability and read-only format, have become one of our most useful tools for saving and sharing documents, and are a common feature in online as well as face-to-face courses (read this article for more on the interesting history of PDFs). However, they can present challenges for some users, especially for those who are…

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January 5, 2018 |

Blackboard Features

New Blackboard features for 2018

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Every December, the UNE IT department updates Blackboard, giving the gift of handy new features to students and instructors. Here are three of those goodies that the Instructional Design team is anxiously anticipating. Drag-and-Drop Files Whenever you need to add a file to Blackboard, it can be a hassle to search the…

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December 13, 2017 |

New Box Inline Grading Tool

The New Box on the Docs

Online and face to face faculty are likely familiar with the Crocodoc inline grading tool, licensed for use by Blackboard. For a number of years, this third-party cloud-based document conversion system was the tool used to record faculty’s annotations of student’s digital work to provide them with detailed and relevant feedback as if they were handing back a marked-up paper.…

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November 27, 2017 |

Webinar Series

Tools for Office Hours - Blackboard Collaborate

Last week we covered as a tool for conducting online conferences. This week we’re going to go over the same steps for creating persistent and scheduled online conferencing spaces, but with Blackboard Collaborate. The differences between Collaborate and make them both useful, we think, for different applications. is very simple and easy to use, but has limits…

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November 10, 2017 |

Webinar Series

Webinar: Tools for Online Office Hours -

Two weeks ago we conducted a webinar in which we presented two conferencing tools as excellent options for holding synchronous office hours for an online class— and Blackboard Collaborate. We chose these tools, specifically, because we feel that they can be used in conjunction to respond to different needs. Blackboard Collaborate is robust, feature rich, and built into Blackboard directly,…

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November 2, 2017 |

Creating a Timeline with Timeline JS

Creating a Timeline with Timeline JS

Recently, I found myself testing different timeline creation tools to see how well they worked and how hard they were to work with. Technical challenge is an important consideration for course activities, as any difficulties I face in testing will be magnified by the number of registered students. Even small problems hinder scalability. In some cases there may be a…

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October 12, 2017 |

Online Graduate Students

What do online graduate students want from instructors? Just ask them.

Instructional strategies for online learning are a frequent topic of these posts, for good reason. A well designed online course relies on an intentional approach to learning supported by evidence and learning theory. Formative feedback, authentic learning, and instructor presence are examples of instructional strategies that are well-supported and effective for online learning. Using the right instructional strategies to facilitate…

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September 28, 2017 |

Case Studies

A Case for Case Studies

The surest way to effective education process is active learning. Case studies are one of the pathways to active learning which allows students application and transfer of their newly acquired knowledge and skills, in that sort of complex, real world-like, immersive format. There is a lot to figure out in a good case study! The list of pros is long:…

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September 14, 2017 |

open book icons

Articles We've Been Reading - 9/7/17

Every now and then, we like to draw attention to the links to the articles that we instructional designers have read and found interesting during the previous few weeks. The opinions expressed in these articles don’t always reflect our own. Rather, we share them because we think they compel conversation, which we’re happy to have with our readers in the comments field below. Future Trends…

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September 7, 2017 |

Resource Articles

The Future of Coding Boot Camps

What should we make of the proliferation of Coding Boot Camps? Do they threaten to disrupt higher education? Does the fact that so many fail temper the hype? Doesn’t that hype have a basis in reality when employers say they would gladly hire Boot Camp graduates? What about the reportedly questionable success of Boot Camp alumni–does that cast doubt upon…

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August 31, 2017 |

Information Literacy

Writing Rubrics - Using Bloom's Taxonomy and Beyond

The challenge of writing rubrics is in selecting the appropriate type (as explained in colleague Sarah’s 2016 post, “For the Love of Rubrics”), and then in determining the levels of proficiency and the standards or criteria that comprise each level. When writing rubrics, precision in language is very important. We may ask: What are the exact intended learning outcomes? What discrete…

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August 17, 2017 |