Resources for Finding Public Domain Images

Public Domain Images We at CGPS are constantly working with visuals to make our online courses more engaging. Often, this means searching the Internet for images with suitable licensing for reuse, or most often for images that are in the public domain. UNE isn’t an ad-agency; it is a school. And while it is important that we maintain a budget for making what we do as pretty as possible, our primary job is to educate future professionals. So it’s important that we be able to find images that are not only good looking but also appropriately licensed for our use. More often than not, this means using images that are in the public domainthereby freeing us of the obligation to pay… Read more >>
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Engagement and Interactivity in Online Lectures: Exploring TED-Ed

Online Lecture Engagement In the best circumstances, a lecture attended in person is an exercise in engagement and interactivity as well as instruction. Understandably, this too is what we strive for in online education, but we are presented with additional hurdles. The instruction being given is prerecorded, has already happened, and cannot be influenced in real time by ideas in the classroom. Students are experiencing the content asynchronously, at the different times that are convenient to each of them. Students cannot ask follow-up questions while instruction is being given. In the same manner, the instructor cannot assess in-the-moment understanding of the instruction being given. There are a number of tools for addressing the challenges listed above, but one of the most important aspects… Read more >>
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Polish Your Lecture Audio with Audacity

Audio Lectures with Audacity Have you ever listened to an audio file that just didn’t sound right? It might have been a podcast, a radio interview, or even an online lecture. Maybe it was plagued by a constant hissing noise in the background. Perhaps the speaker’s voice was clear and loud at the beginning, but muffled and soft towards the end. Or, you might have found the “ums” and pauses between statements to be distracting. Surely, you’ve also heard audio files that sound professional. There is virtually no background noise, the speaker’s voice plays at a consistent volume, and the oral delivery is articulate and smooth. That’s how you want your online lectures to sound. In this post and in the video below, we’ll… Read more >>
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Webinar: Designing Rubrics

Webinar Series In today’s webinar for faculty members, Designing Rubrics, Chris Malmberg and Sarah Cochran disucss the methods you can use for taking full advantage of the rubrics in your courses, both to grade students fairly and give them quality feedback.  There were many questions throughout, which we answered as best we could, but if you have more questions please write them in the comments below.
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Blackboard Wiki Tutorial

Wiki Tutorial We’ve received a few questions over the years about just how the Blackboard Wiki works. Mostly, these questions are filtered our way via facilitators, who initially received the question from students who are looking at the tool for the first time. Concerned as we are that teachers understand the tools that their students are assigned to use, this is as much for them as it is for the students. Primarily, though, we’d like everyone to consider this a resource for students who are being asked to use the Blackboard Wiki tool for the first time, or who are being asked to use it again after enough time has passed that they have forgotten how to do so. So, without further… Read more >>
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Speech-to-Text

Speech to Text One of the great qualities of language is that it allows people to connect across seemingly unbridgeable gaps. Above and beyond the everyday miracle of two distinct persons being able to share their feelings across a cup of coffee, language is flexible enough to be jump multiple mediums, and translate through several languages, without the conveyed content transforming too much. Famously, Helen Keller learned to read and write through the touch of her teacher; Christy Brown composed poetry through the only limb left under his control, the eponymous left foot; and Jean-Dominique Bauby, completely paralyzed except for his left eye following a car accident, wrote his memoir The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by blinking.  Technology has improved… Read more >>
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YouTube Recording Directions

YouTube Recording Record on your device, then upload to YouTube As many of you already know, YouTube has basically discontinued supporting web cam capture. Instead, you are now expected to record a video in a different manner (you may still use your computer and the web cam, just not on the YouTube site), and then upload the ready-made movie to your channel. As there are several courses where we use YouTube, and where we were not able to replace the previous directions (typically, referring to “Video EveryWhere”), we are encouraging you to include this link in your announcements and refer students to this page. From now on, we will be updating this page only should there be any changes/improvements. Happy posting!
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The 12 Days of Course Development

magic, doves, sky, ring What is Instructional Design? When Christine B. shared with us Aesthetic principles for instructional design, it was like walking in a magic forest with fairy tales hopping from tree branches. Could we have said it better ourselves? The instructional designer “sometimes acts in a role similar to that of the Greek chorus, commenting on the dramatic developments from a privileged standpoint.”  And sometimes he/she “functions as a companion character  who is confidant to the protagonist and who might also act as provocateur or mirror, as Sam does during Frodo’s quest in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.” “Instructional designers are also in the business of creating “refined and intensified forms of experience.” In the spirit of the magic, and… Read more >>
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Benefits of Taking Notes by Hand

mac and paper Do you take notes by hand? In distance education, many students type lecture notes on their computers, rather than writing on paper. After all, students use laptops to watch lectures, answer assessment questions, and participate in class discussions. It’s only natural to use the same device for taking notes, too, right? Not so fast. Last year, Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M. Oppenheimer, researchers from Princeton University and the University of California, studied how the two note-taking methods affect student assessment performance. The results? In short, they found that taking notes on a laptop can “negatively affect performance on educational assessments.” If you’re reading this, perhaps you’re already nodding your head in agreement: Of course, computers can harm… Read more >>
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Webb's Depth of Knowledge (DOK)

Depth of Knowledge In the world of curriculum development and student assessment, there are many models that inform our work. Each model supports the design of relevant, engaging, and rigorous learning experiences. While Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy has served as the “go to” framework since the 1950s, it’s Norman L. Webb’s Depth of Knowledge system that has caught the attention of K-12 educators since the late 90s. His work continues to grow in popularity in higher education instruction as well. What is Depth of Knowledge? In short, Depth of Knowledge (DOK) is a framework for classifying content complexity in relation to the level and kind of mental demand that’s put on a learner to answer a question, solve a problem or to… Read more >>
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Learning Styles: How we engage with the world

Reflective posture If you have been following this blog, just a few months ago, we wrote about common learning styles and what effect they have on learners and teaching methods and practices, and that to a large extent these are not well-evidenced in either science or practice, but for some reason have a wide acceptance. Today, we are tackling a different take on learning styles – rather learning preferences in ways we interact with the world along the continuum of how we do things (processing) and how we perceive things (think or feel, the perception continuum) as developed by Kolb and further modified by others. I started doing research on reflective practice – one of many topics I am interested in! –… Read more >>
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Webinar: Google Drive for Course Development

Laptop and hands Hey all, as promised here is the recording from today’s webinar, Using Google Drive for Online Course Development. 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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Sending email messages to students from a Blackboard course

Blackboard grade center view We all have our workflow preferences and places that we check to stay connected. Some prefer using Course Messages (which in our configuration won’t send the message to a student’s email, unfortunately), and others prefer using actual email service. There may be a practice compromise to accommodate both the need for convenience such as emailing a student (or a number of students) without leaving the course, and using email as a system, so that both students and instructors will get alerts when they receive messages. Blackboard has emailing capabilities. While it email as a tool has been also disabled in our configuration, the workaround exists and instructors can choose to send an email directly from the course when using the… Read more >>
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UNE Creates New Track at ACTEM Conference

Large classroom The use of technology plays a vital role in education – not just online education, but education as an entire discipline. There’s a need for educators to be kept up to date on current best practices, and learn how to get the most out of their classroom technology. For many educators, attending conferences is one important way to keep current. Significant change for the better Upon reflection of the tracks offered at ACTEM, UNE Instructional Design felt that higher education was underrepresented in Maine’s only technology in education conference.  Last fall, the entire Instructional Design Services (IDS) department traveled up to the ACTEM conference as a team, and from that experience, they envisioned an opportunity for growth. And not only… Read more >>
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ACTEM Conference Sneak Peek: Scoop.it

scoop.it screenshot for ACTEM Conference We’re off tomorrow to Bangor, ME, to present at the annual ACTEM Conference. I am presenting with the lovely Susan Barrett Hyde on the subject of web tools for scaffolded assignments. I hope to subdivide the general scope of the presentation into several blog posts to tide me over into 2016, and I thought I’d start things off with one of the tools I found myself using quite a bit, two or so years ago. The tool is Scoop.it, and its angle is that it provides users with an attractive, full-featured-yet-easy, magazine-style (mouthful!) curation space. Much like Pinterest, users subscribe to one another and good curators are rewarded with likes and new subscribers. The difference between Pinterest and Scoop.it… 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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Using Google Forms

Google Forms Hey everyone, We’re back again this week with a quick overview of how to get started with Google Forms. I was surprised to find that we hadn’t covered Google Forms before, so consider this post an introduction to some of its basic features. Because Google Forms does merit much more attention, expect that we’ll return to the tool in the future with deeper treatment of the different ways in which you can USE Google Forms, either as student, staff or faculty. Suffice to say, Forms is an excellent option for collecting and organizing information from large numbers of people. And, because it automatically stores the information in the Excel-like Google Sheets, the resulting data is immediately ready for treatment and… Read more >>
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Kanopy Video Database

embed kanopy video The UNE Library supplies us, faculty students and staff, with a huge quantity of learning and entertainment materials. Mostly, we think of books when we think of these materials, or the vast online databases connecting us with scholarly articles from around the world. But there’s more to the library than what you can check out or download for reading. Kanopy is a database of videos, the variety of which will surprise you. To check it out, go to the UNE library’s website and click E-Resources, then Databases, then navigate to the only database whose title begins with the letter “K.” Kanopy’s library consists of a wide variety of streamable videos, comprising everything from old art-house films to recently released, award… Read more >>
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Discussions in Online Courses

speech bubble 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 is one aspect of online/distance education that makes students feel isolated so much more than in a brick and mortar college program. Isolation is one of the primary complaints. It is also an important factor to account for when designing activities for online students for success. At SSW here at UNE, we often include group activities or at least… Read more >>
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Creating Effective Writing Assignments: The Discourse Community Framework

Crumpled note paper 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 many students need. Anne Beaufort, in her text College Writing and Beyond: A New Framework for University Writing Instructions, has researched and developed a relevant framework for creating graduate-level assignments based on a “discourse community” concept. Assignments created with this framework can help students better understand the social work community/program context of their writing. Beaufort addresses four types of… Read more >>
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Captioning in Youtube

Captioning in YouTube In the interests of making the online Masters of Social Work program as accessible as possible, we’ve tried to make sure that all the video and audio content provided in the courses has, at the very least, transcripts. Above and beyond accessibility issues such as those involving hearing impaired students, transcripts are useful for students to print and take notes on, or for any students who want to “skim” the text of a presentation as a way of brushing up on it before a big test or paper submission. Video and audio are far more difficult to “skim.” The operative term in AV speak is called “scrubbing,” which anyone who has spent a few minutes hunting through a Youtube video… Read more >>
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Touching the Third Rail: The Learning Styles (Myth) and Are They Worth Your

red school door 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 a way that a student perceives she learns best? What observations have you made over the years that back up the claim that learning styles matter and can be leveraged? Or even, that they actually exist as a phenomenon? Is It Possible that It’s All Just a Myth? While it sounds good and we are emotionally and ethically inclined to… Read more >>
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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 and Peer Assessment Tool in BlackBoard! For more information, you can also revisit our previous write-up about Peer and Self Assessment.
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How, and why, to Create Chrome Profiles

Google Chrome Profile Hey all, here’s a quick but useful tip for creating and managing Google/Chrome profiles in your Chrome browser. Doing so allows you to have multiple browser’s tailored to the different hats you wear in your life. I maintain separate Chrome browsers for my personal and my work lives. How might you use it?
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