Laptop and hands

Webinar: Google Drive for Course Development

Hey all, as promised here is the recording from today’s webinar, Using Google Drive for Online Course Development. Watch this video on YouTube Here, too, is the handout we attached and the link to a support for how permissions in Google Docs work. Enjoy!…

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November 5, 2015 |

putting together a jigsaw

Collaboration in Online Courses: Group Work

We often use group work in our online courses, and success varies among courses, projects, and students. Overall, our ultimate goal is organic learning, fostering an online community of learners and stimulating active participation in it. This, however, is not always achieved with a stellar consistency. Reflecting on our use of groups in courses, a few issues become apparent. Recognizing…

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October 8, 2015 |

speech bubble

Discussions in Online Courses

The apparent convenience of online education is what attracts a lot of students in the first place. Imagine sitting on your couch with a bowl of cereal, still in your pjs and with uncombed hair, and working away on your assignments and readings where no one can see you. The flip side of the coin, the absence of the physical presence…

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September 10, 2015 |

Crumpled note paper

Creating Effective Writing Assignments: The Discourse Community Framework

Designing effective assignment prompts Using the writing process – often a complex, messy and mysterious process for students – is crucial for graduate level success. Students not only need to grapple with understanding course concepts, they must be able to express them professionally and intelligently. Designing effective assignment prompts, with the addition of writing support, can provide the extra guidance…

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September 3, 2015 |

red school door

The Myth of Learning Styles - Are They Worth Your Time?

It’s almost impossible to have a conversation about learning or teaching without invoking the concept of learning styles. Much of the drive behind lesson and course design is based on the need to tailor curriculum to particular or all of the learning styles that your students might come with. Is it practical – or even possible – to teach in…

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August 13, 2015 |

Webinar: Peer and Self Assessment in Blackboard

Webinar: Peer and Self Assessment in Blackboard

Faculty members of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies Please consider watching this brief webinar on Peer and Self Assessment, written and presented by Instructional Designers Olga Slasten LaPlante and Chris Malmberg. You may also want to consider adding an assignment or activity of this nature to your course where appropriate. Thanks for watching this webinar recording for Self…

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July 30, 2015 |

Be Yourself

New Questions About Efficacy of TurnItIn Plagiarism Detection

I have long been having controversial feelings and thoughts about plagiarism detection and its place in higher education. Our contention has always been that it’s a tool at best, and a highly imperfect one at that, to help faculty find things in students’ writing. What sort of things exactly? This article brings up what this software (both TurnItIn and SafeAssign,…

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July 14, 2015 |

studying supplies

Feedback Focused on Revision

Lori Rand is a guest contributor this week. She has been providing writing support for UNE students since 2009 and has taught English Composition courses for over 15 years. In her current position as an online writing tutor, Lori uses web conferencing to help students practice independent revision and editing. Today’s post relates to one of the most important ways…

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July 9, 2015 |

book closeup

CAST: About Universal Design for Learning

CAST: About Universal Design for Learning. We at MSW are very ambitious about making sure that our course design offers learning opportunities to diverse students, not the proverbial “middle”, or only fully-abled English as-a-native-language speaking students. By including additional content formats (transcripts for videos and audio, alternate text for images for example), we open opportunities for students who may either need assistance…

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June 11, 2015 |

Scaffolding Webinar

Assignment Scaffolding for Faculty and Student Success - A Recorded Webinar

The College of Graduate and Professional Studies, the Center for the Enrichment of Teaching and Learning, and the Student Academic Success Center, came together to weigh in on the benefits of assignment and course scaffolding, as discussed in the video below.

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May 28, 2015 |

How to Read SafeAssign Reports

Understanding SafeAssign Reports

Watch the complete webinar recording on Preventing Plagiarism and SafeAssign.  

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March 13, 2015 |



We have already touched upon the subject of feedback, and its peculiar and often subjective qualities and content. Today we resume the topic of feedback and challenge you to an exercise in feedback. We know that good feedback is always contextual, and is often tricky. Some of the trickiness is in the object of the feedback. Usually, it’s easy to…

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February 26, 2015 |

Illustration of a man collecting coins as he goes up ladders to signify gamification

Gamification - An Implementation of Immersive Role Playing

Former colleagues of mine, Robert Prince and Owen Guthrie of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, developed a journalism course wherein the professor constructed the lesson plan to mimic the internal organization of a struggling newspaper. The students in the course were new hires looking to climb the professional ladder he’d constructed for them, from intern all the way up to…

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February 19, 2015 |

International Social Work in the Carribean

A New Paradigm: An Integration of Online Social Work and International Trav

We will be shifting gears today a bit, and will feature a social work article authored by Leslie Yaffa and Amy Storch on their ‘Social Work in the Caribbean‘ course and their experiences in Jamaica with a cohort of online students who came together for the first time. If any of you would like to share a social work…

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February 12, 2015 |

Bartle Test

Gamification: The Bartle Test

In academia, “Gamification” is the (lately hyped) practice of applying game design to instructional design. The basic idea behind it is that well designed games motivate players to spend inordinate amounts of time learning the system of the game and boatloads of extra lives and respawns trying to beat/win/“game” the game. If one were to effectively align the artificial system…

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February 5, 2015 |

Timeline of construction of Eifel

Timelines as Creative and Attractive Projects

We are all very familiar with the basic presentation tools and formats. Oftentimes, projects are envisioned as white papers, an  MS PowerPoint presentation, or an alternative, such as Prezi or Keynote, and a website project. Recently, we have been adding YouTube videos as either oral testimonials, “sales pitch” presentations for grants, or weekly video check-ins. Sometimes the reasons behind these are…

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January 22, 2015 |


The Craft of Good Feedback

Contributing good feedback is a craft, and like any craft it is simultaneously distinct from and defined by the tools we use to practice it. Quality feedback can go through any communicative medium—text message; youtube comments section; a waxed string strung tautly between two paper cups—because the properties of good quality feedback are universal… Good feedback is honest Good feedback…

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October 24, 2014 |

iPad and teapot

Tips and Practices for Creating Effective Online Learning Experiences

If you have an hour, you will enjoy spending it going through this BB/QMa Conrad presentation on Tips and Best Practices to Create Effective Online Learning Experiences. It’s straightforward and clean, and addresses the following concepts: The Instructional Design Process (Formulate Objectives/Competencies>>Develop Assessment>>Specify Content and Strategies>>Choose Tools) tips on dealing with each the 21st Century Learner skills 10 Core Learning Principles Guiding…

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September 25, 2014 |

copyright laws

Making Friends with Copyright Law

We often view copyright as a nuisance, and it may be in certain instances. But along with protecting the rights of the owners and creators of intellectual property, copyright provides for rights of users to view, distribute, modify and do other things with certain materials for a fee or free of charge (such as under Fair Use). Fair Use guidelines start…

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May 21, 2014 |

Viral videos as assignments

What if students created viral videos as course projects?

Creating viral videos on purpose? It might just work! Sure, writing papers is academically significant and is a way to demonstrate understanding, analysis, and such. No question that putting together a website is collaborative and there are opportunities to make changes after peers offer feedback on the project. But, what if good videos carried a good message – and through…

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April 10, 2014 |