Teacher laughing as she undergoes supervision and evaluation

Developing Teachers as Leaders

One of the main responsibilities of being an administrator in the K-12 education setting is to evaluate the performance of faculty and staff. Understanding the importance the role supervision and evaluation plays in the development of teacher leaders is vital to the culture of the school in which the practice is being utilized. In the Graduate Programs in Education at…

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August 22, 2018 |

Figure with bullhorn next to bold text: "Engage" to signify that instructors should incorporate currents events in their lessons

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

Information Literacy

Rubrics Revisited - From Bloom's to 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. With rubrics, precision in language is very important: what are the exact intended learning outcomes? What discrete action or performance tasks…

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August 17, 2017 |

Digital Native Debate

The Digital Native Debate

We learn about things by naming them so that they can be distinguished from one another. That usually involves some abstraction. After all, things are complicated. Things are, themselves, made up of many things. Even worse, differences between one thing and another are often difficult to isolate, quantify, or even describe. People debate. They say, this thing is really two…

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August 3, 2017 |

Online Student Portfolios

Portfolios and Authentic Learning

In an earlier post, I wrote about our Instructional Design work with three of our online instructors in the MSEd Literacy concentration. This mapping and redesign project spurred enthusiastic discourse with both faculty and program managers about the role of authentic assessment in our graduate courses. These conversations led quite naturally to discussions about the role of professional portfolios in…

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July 6, 2017 |

Connecting Online Students

Connecting People in Online Classrooms

We all dream of some sort of seamless integration of a myriad of tools (or a myriad of features) that allow us to connect and perform certain tasks. Text, voice, video, real-time and recorded, presentation mode, all-platform, aesthetically pleasing, easy to set up and use, free of course, and with on-demand tech support are primarily the requirements for any type…

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June 2, 2017 |

Giving Good Feedback

5 Tips for Giving Good Feedback

Keep feedback focused on learners and their work. Draw attention to what is working and try to describe why you think it works. In some cases the learner will not recognize what is working; in many cases the learner will not understand why something works. Limit talking about your own models for how things “should work” to instances when talking…

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May 12, 2017 |

Webinar Series

Webinar: Fostering Instructor Presence

Last week we gave a webinar on fostering instructor presence using announcements, discussion, and feedback. The panelists were Becky Christian, Christine Baumgarthuber and myself. We had a good time, and those in attendance asked good questions of us. We’re happy to present the recording of that webinar here, today.

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April 27, 2017 |

Tips for Concise Writing

Teaching Online: 5 Tips for Concise Writing

In my last post, I discussed the importance of writing clear, concise instructions. Our online students are busy professionals, so we owe it to them to be as straightforward and unambiguous with our language as possible. Nonetheless, writing concisely can be a challenge. Even the most seasoned Instructional Designers wrestle with the balance of delivering succinct but comprehensive content. These…

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April 13, 2017 |

Webinar Series

WEBINAR - Providing Effective Student Feedback

One of the keys to engaging online learners and facilitating critical thinking is providing students with timely, meaningful, and actionable feedback. Webinar: Providing Effective Student Feedback Good feedback is: Timely Instructional Consistent Good feedback also: Highlights a specific knowledge or skill Focuses on thinking (not writing mechanics) Moves a student’s work forward Provides a model or example Invites the student…

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February 16, 2017 |

Discussion Forum Prompts

Writing Discussion Forum Prompts

Discussion forums are a hallmark of asynchronous online courses like those at UNE. Previous posts on this site have offered an excellent introduction to Best Practices for Discussion Board Facilitation, and an overview of current conversations around learning outcomes and instructional implications of online discussion forums. In this post, I aim to provide a closer look by offering practical tips…

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February 3, 2017 |

Good Sources, Academia, Fake News

Good Sources, Academia, and Fake News

Fake news is a hot topic, these days, for reasons that are too complicated to get into here. But just the other day I was in a meeting in which the legitimacy of student sources came up, and I was reminded of two things: Teaching students how to tell the difference between good and bad sources is a recurring challenge in education…

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January 5, 2017 |

Different Hats of Course Development

The Different Hats of Course Development: SMEs and IDs

Many factors result in new curriculum development processes in educational institutions. To name a few: Stricter regulations and legislation require institutions to exercise and document the effectiveness of the education they offer in different ways than in the past. The rise in online education and data analytics trends require that student learning outcomes are more concrete and measurable. Many institutions…

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December 1, 2016 |

Webinar Series

Coordinating with SASC for Student Success

Henri Moser, the Online Learning Specialist, and Lori Rand, the Online Writing Specialist, joined us from the Online Student Academic Success Center (SASC) to talk about how faculty and staff can best coordinate with them to foster student success in online courses. They covered a whole lot, from when best to connect students with their services to how SASC can lend…

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November 21, 2016 |

Relating Course Concepts

Current Events and Relating Course Concepts

While I can get behind this quote – not in terms of judging what people discuss but rather in terms of what one may aspire to do ultimately, which is discuss ideas – I also think that it should be less of a tiered approach that may smack of elitism, and more of a pyramid of aspects. It’s going from ideas…

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November 10, 2016 |

How to Override a Grade

Video: How to Override a Grade

This video will show you how to override a grade in Blackboard and what the student sees on their side.

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November 3, 2016 |

Student Perspective

The Student Perspective

When we design or teach an online course, we spend time thinking about how to reach our students. We consider their prior learning and such things as the cognitive load of the class. These are essential considerations, but perhaps we can do more. We can turn the tables and look at the class from the student perspective. However, it is…

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October 20, 2016 |