Who Are Our “Customers” Now and in the Future?

9 05 2014

Jim Seeland shared this article with me with the following note (and permission to post to our FLC blog)–

“This message is a good one for anybody but, as I read through it, I was struck by how pertinent it is for UAS faculty and staff.   Being able to relate to folks across several generations is critical to good communication and, of course, good customer service and getting a grasp on development of new coursework and delivery methods.   It’s not earth-shattering news I suppose – well written though.”

Jim adds to check out the statistics in the article with the population differences between the Boomer and GenX generations. Rather staggering, if not alarming! Check out the article in question. I found it very timely and interesting. Thanks Jim for sharing!

Click for Article



Book Club Alert: Hackschooling Makes Me Happy

24 02 2014

Attention all book-clubbers (and others) — Nicole shared this TED Talk video this morning and it definitely brought back our conversations from Book Club on creativity. I would love to hear what you think of this young man’s ideas on creativity and “hacking” and education.

Certainly an interesting concept to hack your way through physics. Do you think that eventually traditional versus hacked educations end with similar depths of knowledge? Do you think one will be substantially happier than the other? Do you think this is the way of the future?

Ted Talk

My Students Don’t Cheat

18 02 2014

Do you sometimes wonder if your students are cheating?  How can you ensure that they don’t?  Our counterparts at UAF’s e-Learning and Distance Education office recently posted this helpful commentary about cheating. Check it out by clicking on the iTeachU logo below, and leave a comment about your own experience and strategies.

UAF iTeachU

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

Two New Tutorials for Your Students

18 10 2013

Do you use a WordPress blog in your courses? If you do, and are inviting students to post with the role of ‘author,’ then the two tutorials below may help your student create and edit their posts. To view the tutorials visit the Tutorial page on the Tips for Student Success blog.

ScreenShotPosts Create Posts in WordPress
This short tutorial will show you how to quickly create posts on a WordPress blog when you are granted access as an author. September 2013. Duration: 15-20 minutes.
ScreenShotEdit Edit Your Posts in WordPress
This short tutorial will show you how to quickly edit your posts on a WordPress blog when you are granted access as an author. September 2013. Duration: 10-15 minutes.

We Have a Blog For Your Students Too!

16 10 2013

Don’t let your students miss out on great posted tips and tutorials! Let them know about the Tips for Student Success blog. Check out the latest post to see how easy it is to sign up and forward the link to your students! (Of course you’re welcome to sign up too!)

tssSubscribe We’ll have two new tutorials posted this week – Creating Posts in WordPress and Editing Your Posts in WordPress. On the list for upcoming posts and tutorials are:

  • Uploading and Inserting Media in WordPress
  • Pop-up Blockers
  • Graphing with Excel
  • Citations and References

Do you have a need for a student tutorial? If we can’t find one that’s already developed, we may be able to create it for you. Let us know!

Two Fun Tools To Enhance Your Courses and Engage Your Students

9 10 2013

Announcing TWO exciting tools for our faculty* to use. Pixton and PowToon. Each of these tools can liven up your content and help make your class more interesting to your students. Here’s a little info on each product:

pixtonTitle III purchased a license for Pixton, a cartoon tool for you to create innovative content. Use comic characters to explain a concept, or create scenarios or situations using comics. You can create storyboards that fit your needs quickly and easily. You can even upload audio to your comics. Here’s a short video clip explaining how Pixton works. In the video it mentions giving Pixton to your students. Our license is ONLY for our faculty’s use. There is a free Pixton that your students can use to create cartoons.

powtoonPowToon is a little different from Pixton. Powtoon is an “intuitive presentation software that allows someone with no technical or design skills to create engaging professional ‘look and feel’ animated presentations.” This is available NOW for a short time only on a 1 year trial basis for teachers. We’d love to see some faculty try this tool out and let us know if they’d like us to find the funding to continue the license when the year is up. This tool lets you create animated clips, short information pieces that can easily upload to YouTube. Here’s an example of PowToon in use.

Each product has great examples to view and tutorials to help you get started. If you are interested in one or both of these products please contact Nicole. (PowToon’s free offer is only available for a limited time!)

*UAS faculty teaching a Sitka course, or faculty participating in Title III projects (like Peer Review or iTeach).

Non-traditional Students?

4 10 2013

Recently we’ve had some great discussions in our ED593:Design and Teach an Online Course including a talk about lessons we have learned from our “non-traditional” students. When I read those posts I thought I understood what faculty were talking about. But, after reading Clinton’s blog post (below), I am now wondering, what we really mean by that term “non-traditional” students, and, is it really a) accurate or b) helping us as educators to categorize students in this manner?

Brian Murphy Clinton, the executive director of Enrollment Management for the Northeastern University College of Professional studies feels that using the term ‘non-traditional’ marginalizes the very population of individuals that universities cater to! I hope you’ll take the time to read his post: “Is there Really Such a Thing As a Nontraditional Student?”

You can click the image to find his article. Let us know if you agree or disagree!

Learning Styles Explored

3 09 2013

Gayle H. began the conversation on Friday when she spoke on Learning Styles at the first “Teaching Tips in 30” gathering.

I thought the article Learn Faster, Learn Better: What Style Fits You Best might be a nice follow-up.

Does this agree with what you shared in your session Gayle? How much credence do faculty put into learning styles and how does this affect the way you teach?

Click the image to explore this info-graphic.

Learning Styles

From the Education Database Online Blog. http://www.onlineeducation.net/2013/05/28/types-of-learning

Why Your Students Might NOT Be Reading

29 08 2013

booksmallIt’s a busy time of year as we ramp up for Fall 2013. Most of us have textbooks or articles that we assign as critical components of our course.

We thought you might be interested in a recent study “Why University Students Don’t Read: What Professors Can Do to Increase Compliance” by Mary Hoeft.

If you think reading is essential to your student’s success, you might be interested to read that this study suggests graded journals and quizzes will greatly impact the rate of reading compliance.  It might be worth taking a few minutes to look over this study.

Image: ©iStockphoto.com/R-J-Seymour

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