Games Can Teach!

25 03 2014

Nicole and I just returned from an excellent training/conference in Orlando. One speaker who really resonated with both of us was Karl Kapp and his presentation “Game Elements for Learning, Engagement and Fun” (we even purchased several copies of his books to share with faculty at iTeach). We’ll let you know when they arrive on campus and you can check one out. Gamification isn’t just the newest buzzword.

Now, don’t get me wrong, neither of us are particularly thrilled about mixing games and education. Neither of us were sitting between sessions playing Angry Birds on our phone. That said, Karl Kapp’s research really did make us believers in the sense that there are better ways to look at your course, to make it appealing, to incorporate some of the elements from addictive games and figure out how your students might engage with your content more effectively if we learn from these popular gaming activities.

Karl Kapp Article on GamingHere is an article that he wrote in 2013 that links some gaming elements to educational strategies. I think, if you take a look, you won’t find this too far off the mark.

Additionally, during his Orlando presentation he took a close look at learning objectives. He told us basically, “Games start with action. Instructional designers and online courses start with learning objectives.” Hmmnm, from our student’s perspective, that doesn’t sound nearly as interesting, does it?

Instead of listing learning objectives for a course bullet by bullet, point by point, ASK A QUESTION. That’s right. Ask an intriguing question. Grab the interest of your student right away by presenting a scenario or choice — do they know the answer? No? Enter the learning module and find out. Or, ask a series of questions letting the student know that if they continue, they will find the answers. You want the learner primed to learn, excited to move on.

His take home message in the article is pretty compelling: The debate should not be whether games teach; instead, the debate should be how we leverage the best elements of games to create the best instruction for learners.

What do you think?

 

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Ten Years of Tracking Online Education

6 03 2014

Are you interested in seeing the results of a survey of over 2800 Chief Academic Officers and academic leaders say about online learning over the past ten years? Do academics feel it takes more time to manage an online course? Are the student learning outcomes comparable? How many students are actually taking online courses?

Check out the infographic by Pearson Learning Solutions by clicking on the image below.

Click to see infographic





Discussion Board Dilemmas

17 02 2014

Infographic: Why Aren’t Your Students Participating on the Discussion Board? Click the image below to view the infographic and find some solutions to engage your learners!

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From: Knowledge One, January 13, 2014 by Jesse Harris and Carmelo Cipolla





Please Join Us! “Thru the Lens” Session 1 Is THIS Friday!

12 02 2014

This Friday, at 9 AM please join us for a one-hour mini-peer review of 4 different courses. The session will take place using Blackboard Collaborate. We’ll be using the UAS Peer Review Rubric Standard 1 and applying it to (1) ED 593: Design and Teach an Online Course, (2) Econ 202: Principles of Microeconomics, (3) Acct 379: Fund and Governmental Accounting and (4) BA490: Political and Social Environment of Business. Thank you Mary Purvis, Kathi Baldwin, Ann Spehar, Maren Haavig, and Charla Brown for opening up your course for this first mini-peer session in the Thru the Lens series.

Peer Review Through the LensFriday, February 14th at 9 AM we will use Collaborate  to meet so you can participate from your office or home. Please use the link shown, look for the “Tools Box” and click on “Participate Now” to attend. After joining the Collaborate session you will be given the information to log into each of the courses that we’ll be reviewing. Please have a headset with you so you participate by voice as well as text throughout the hour. If you have never done a Collaborate session before you might want to try logging in prior to the session to make sure you are ready at 9 am. 

Be sure to have a print-out ready of the Peer Review Standard I ready before you attend. If you have any questions, please contact Kathi at ksbaldwin@alaska.edu.  This is your final reminder. So please mark your calendar and plan to attend!

Image: ©iStockphoto.com/Sergpet





Tour 4 Online Courses During Our New “Through the Lens” Series

5 02 2014

Four of your colleagues have graciously opened up their courses for you to participate in an abbreviated peer review. Join us, February 14 at 9 AM, as we apply Standard I: Design of the Course of the UAS Peer Review Rubric and explore each of four courses.  You can participate from your office using Blackboard’s Collaborate.

Once a month, the “Through the Lens” series will open up a few online courses and we will apply one of the Peer Review Standards. This is a great opportunity for you to:

  • Peer Review Through the LensGet familiar with a Peer Review Standard
  • Apply the Peer Review rubric on an actual courses
  • See the Peer Review process in action
  • Explore a peer’s online course
  • Ask questions and participate in an informal peer review
  • Volunteer YOUR course for peer comments and suggestions

The “Through the Lens” series will be offered once each month. On February 14th we will use Collaborate  to meet so you can participate from your office. Please use the link shown, look for the “Tools Box” and click on “Participate Now” to attend. After joining the Collaborate session you will be given the information to log into each of the courses that we’ll be reviewing.

We hope to see you, Friday, February 14th at 9 AM. Mark your calendar now! This hour-long session will use the UAS Peer Review Rubric, so be sure to have a print-out ready before you attend. If you have any questions, please contact Kathi at ksbaldwin@alaska.edu.  We’ll send out another reminder next week repeating the connection information.

Image: ©iStockphoto.com/Sergpet





Peer Review at UAS–an Update!

18 12 2013

There has been a lot of interest in the Peer Review process developed by the Peer Review for Course Improvement Committee at UAS. We’ve developed a tutorial and website to explain peer review, answer your questions, and supply you with the rubric and the checklist so you can start using these tools on your own online course. Maren Haavig and Kathi Baldwin will be showcasing the website and answering questions about peer review during Spring Start-Up at 1 PM on Thursday, January 9th at the Juneau Campus. Ketchikan and Sitka campus will be able to dial in– check your agenda for details. Please join us.

We totally believe that the peer review process and rubrics created could be modified to peer review a traditional face-to-face course, however, at present, they are being used only to enhance and improve online courses. Take some time and let us know what you think of the UAS Peer Review Process! We look forward to your feedback.

Click the image below for the presentation, visit the website  for a textual version of the information, or return to this blog and click on the “Additional Resources”   page to find the presentation at a later time.

Peer Review Presentation





How Long is TOO Long?

4 12 2013

One of the biggest pitfalls in creating an online course is in trying to reconstruct your face-to-face classroom on the web, complete with 50 minute lectures and handouts. What’s wrong with that? First we must keep in mind that the web is a very different learning environment from our traditional classrooms, and online courses should take advantage of this to create learning environments that are more effective and more engaging. Second, the research is in, 6 to 7 minutes of instructional video — that’s the sweet spot,  states Tremblay’s article on the E-Learning Acupuncture blog. He quotes Philip Guo’s new research on the Optimal Video Length for Student Engagement. Both articles are interesting reading.

http://www.oneproductions.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Avg-length-of-Online-Videos-1.jpgThis graphic (click thumbnail to view the oneproduction.com infographic) compiles video information to underscore Guo’s research. On the web, educational videos should be short and to the point. Here are some tips from Wistia on keeping people engaged in your educational material:

  1. Keep it short
  2. Put the message at the beginning
  3. Be clear, direct and relevant
  4. Be human and personal

It would be interesting to hear from you. Does your experience with Adobe Presenter, Jing, Camtasia, YouTube or other educational “video” content you’ve created match these research findings? Are you finding significant learner drop-off when your recorded information is longer than 6 or 7 minutes?





Universal Design Principles

25 11 2013

We have talked in the past about designing your online courses with care and making informed choices when deciding what to include or how to include content. Certainly we all agree that the look of your course is important. Sometimes we think that Universal Design Principles are only important if you have a student with a disability in your course. This is not the case. These principles make it easier for everyone to view and learn from your course materials.

Think about it. A wheelchair accessible ramp may have been built to help disabled people avoid the staircase, but have you ever used this ramp instead of the staircase yourself or seen others do the same? I’m sure we all have. The same is true of Universal Design Principles. When we build a course with good design, it benefits all of our students, not just those with disabilities. A good review of the Principles of Universal Design can be found at Ten Simple Steps Toward Universal Design of Online Courses.

Colored Grapefruit ImageOne area of Universal Design that we often forget about or ignore entirely is the use of color in our courses–#6 in the Ten Step article above. When preparing presentations, papers, slides, or any materials that live on the web, we need to consider some Color Universal Design principles. First, do not use color alone to convey meaning. If the work is printed on a black and white printer, your color emphasis may be totally lost! But another important consideration is making your work friendly for people who are colorblind.

An excellent article explains color blindness and discusses how to select colors that are easier to distinguish can be found at Color Universal Design. There you will find three important principles that will benefit your overall course or material design:

  1. Choose a color scheme that can be viewed easily by all regardless of actual lighting conditions and the environment of your user.
  2. Use different shapes, positions, line types or patterns  *in addition to color* to ensure that the information will be seen by all individuals, even those who have trouble distinguishing differences in color.
  3. Clearly state the color name in addition to showing the color whenever possible.

Universal Design may seem like a lot of work, but I think we’d all agree that, for the sake of our students, it is well worth the effort. Thanks Peter (Ilisagvik College) for bringing up this important topic and sharing the link.

Image: ©iStockphoto.com/orsonsruf





Online Education — a Disruptive Innovation?

4 11 2013

One of our colleagues from Ilisagvik College shared this article today (thanks Peter), from the NY Times, Innovation Imperative: Change Everything,“– it’s a powerful argument for higher educators to modify their approach to education and embrace online learning.

This article underscores that college, as many of us remember fondly, is no longer the “bridge” experience from childhood to adulthood, as only 30% of college students today live on a college campus. Yet, it states that online education may replace and improve that experience offering students an opportunity to socialize and learn together. Please take a look at the article linked above and report back what you think!





eTech Fair: Distance Education Week | Nov. 11-15th 2013

29 10 2013

Online TrainingUAA invites you to attend the eTech Fair: Distance Education Week. Drop-ins are welcome and no pre-registration is required. The agenda is attached below, note that only UAA faculty are eligible for the door prizes. This is an ONLINE training, attend from your desk or home computer, via Collaborate!

Offerings include, Interactive Rubrics, VoiceThread, Making Banners and Editing Graphics and so much more.

Take advantage of one or more of these sessions, and come back and comment and tell us what you thought of this!

Many thanks to UAA for letting us attend!

eTech Fair Agenda

Image: ©iStockphoto.com/IvelinRadkov








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