Assessment: You have options beyond multiple choice and lit review

Program Assessment In backward design, you start any course or lesson with the goal in mind (=the outcome, hence “backward”), and then design an assessment (or a series of assessments) to allow students to demonstrate that they have mastered a certain concept or a skill – as determined by the outcome (or competency). Then, you scaffold the assignments (activities) and put together course materials necessary to help students do their best in achieving the desired result. When the competency reads, “Learn to ride a bike”, the assessment required to evaluate the student’s success is fairly obvious. When competencies are more of the academic, graduate program nature, it’s not always as straightforward to arrive at a best task to confirm that the students… Read more >>
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Collaboration in Online Courses: Group Work

putting together a jigsaw 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 and addressing these issues is an important part of the course design process. This article examines some of the things you commonly find in a course with groups and group project, and some factors that can either make or break or improve the user experience, and offers suggestions on what to include in order to ensure collaboration opportunities and go… Read more >>
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Video Annotations and Discussions

faces with a play button as in video In our courses, we sometimes use videos as a prompt to start a discussion. The video is most likely to be included in the viewing section (aka Multimedia or Watch this), and possibly a link would be included in the prompt itself. It’s also possible to streamline the discussion flow by removing the permission to create a new thread on the student part. As creative as we can get when we push against Blackboard limitations, the result is not often optimal. I am going to show a couple of options where the interface is way friendlier. VideoAnt This is a good social tool for annotating videos. You may use it with your own video from YouTube or use other… Read more >>
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Web Annotation with Hypothesis Extension

Hypothesis Pop-Up One of the most powerful differences between printed text and digital text, as we’ve already covered, is the ability to annotate in the margins as you would a physical book. We’ve talked about tools that allow you to annotate screenshots, and tools that allow you to curate, then annotate, webpages and articles–now, I want to cover a tool, and point anyone interested toward the philosophy that underpins its existence, that allows you to annotate the web directly. The tool is called Hypothesis, and it is the product of a team that goes by the same name. Hypothesis lives in your browser and allows you to, when you highlight a section of text with your cursor, annotate that… Read more >>
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Dropbox or ...?

Box Logo Types of Cloud Storage Services – 3 and 3 – Part 1 (In Part 2, I’ll return to talk about Drive, OneDrive and iCloud) Box, Copy and Dropbox This group of cloud services is simpler than the group I will cover in this two-part series, “Types of Cloud Storage Services.” Box, Copy and Dropbox provide some ancillary services, but their focus is in providing cloud storage and sharing. All install a folder directly on your computer which you can drag files into and out of in order to upload or download those files from the cloud. Sharing with these tools is simple: You put the file in the folder, share the file with those other [whatever the service is]… Read more >>
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Using Google Documents to Allow for Inline Commenting

Google Doc Inline Commenting Permissions When the Blackboard was updated, many instructors were thrilled to see the inline commenting feature which allowed them to pinpoint their comments to a particular line or even word when grading an assignment. Did you know that Google Docs has a similar feature and it’s one of the best uses of Google Docs for collaboration? How it can be used: One idea is to use the Google Docs for commenting on a reading assignment. This is a common task in a number of courses, where students have to express their thoughts on a particular article. This won’t replace the practice of properly citing and critiquing a scholarly article, but can definitely be used for a more engaging, collaborative commenting. See… Read more >>
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