Favorite Strategies and Resources for Asynchronous Teaching?

Greeting, Independent Learning faculty!

As educational institutions throughout the world have transitioned to emergency remote teaching and learning, asynchronous online education (that is, not working in real time) has been suggested as a way to increase accessibility for students and faculty with limited internet. Web conferencing tools are certainly wonderful, but they also take a lot of bandwidth. For some faculty, asynchronous interaction can be a difficult adjustment if they’ve interacted in real-time throughout their teaching career.

How did you transition from synchronous to asynchronous education? What challenges did you encounter? What did you like about it? Have you encountered any resources that you’ve found helpful?

Beyond an opportunity to reflect, I would love to share your experiences, ideas, reflections, etc on teaching in an asynchronous environment. Do you have any stories you’d like to share? Feel free to reply, or e-mail me at jrfreese@nullwisc.edu.

Stay safe, healthy, and well!

Articles: Online Teaching vs Emergency/Remote Teaching and Learning

Two recent articles provide worthwhile comparisons and contrasts between online learning (with Independent Learning being just one example) and the now-widespread emergency online teaching/learning.



It’s certainly amazing how quickly institutions have been able to continue instruction in the midst of face-to-face instruction being cancelled, but it’s also important to note the difference between typical online courses (the instructional design component is mentioned in both articles) vs an emergency change in teaching modality.

Well-Being App

Greetings, IL faculty! I hope you and yours are safe and healthy.

During this time of pandemic, a Center for Healthy Minds at UW-Madison affiliate has made a recently released app freely available. This app is called the Healthy Minds Program. From their website:

Translating pioneering neuroscience into tools for everyday life, our unique framework guides you through the four pillars of the science of training the mind: awareness, connection, insight and purpose.

This tool was informed by decades of research at the Center for Healthy Minds. For more information, go to: https://tryhealthyminds.org/#program

Career Counseling Resources

March brings promises of spring (even if we still see some occasional snowfall), and marks an important transition in the UW-Madison Independent Learning program. March is the last enrollment month for the few DCS IL courses that are still open for student enrollment. As we enter the third phase of our teach out period and reflect on what comes next, we wanted to highlight some career counseling services available to you.

The employee assistance office offers counseling and consultation at no cost to UW-Madison staff: https://hr.wisc.edu/employee-assistance-office/

Additionally, the Division of Continuing Studies (our division on campus) also has resources that you can use at no cost.

Adult Career and Special Student Services “provides career and education planning support for community adults including UW-Madison employees.” From their website: “We can help you focus on your interests, skills, and values while providing you with the techniques and resources for exploring career and education options.” https://acsss.wisc.edu/career-and-educational-planning/

There’s also a job support group that meets weekly to discuss a specific topic or simply for everyone to check in: https://acsss.wisc.edu/job-search-support-group/

Q & A: The Democratization of Education through Technology

In the Q & A below, Anant Agarwal (computer architecture researcher, founder and CEO of edX) offers some ideas of what education could look like in the future: modular learning (short-term course-taking instead of completing a degree), stackable learning (institutions offering degrees based upon credentials one has accumulated from various institutions), and a greater emphasis on problem solving, empathy, and communication rather regurgitating facts.

Anant Agarwal and the democratization of education through technology

Given that the author is chatting with a major figure of the massive online open course platform edX, it sometimes reads like an edX commercial, but it’s still interesting to read ideas on how technology and employee/employers needs might reshape education.

How Humans Learn – Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Josh Eyler, author of How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories Behind Effective College Teaching. We had a 4-part interview series, and interviews 1 and 2 can be found at the following links:

A Discussion on Curiosity and Authenticity:

A Discussion on Sociality and Emotions:

Fighting Fake News in the Classroom

Have you wondered how to get your students to think critically about where they get their information? Whether its through social media or researching for a paper, U.S students often have difficulty distinguishing fact from opinion (or misinformation). The article below, while geared towards K-12 educators, includes some classroom experiences and resources to help students think critically about the information they encounter.

Spotting Mobile Learning Opportunities

The article below encourages opportunities for students and workers to learn and work on their mobile devices. One reason is accessibility: students generally have a mobile device and can access it at any time. Another is for presenting and digesting content: learning retention can increase when the information is taken in bite-sized pieces compared to tackling a larger portion, and mobile devices allow for the small amounts of content to be consumed in the midst of daily activities.

The article includes a link of suggestions for mobile learning. Bite-sized content would take 2 minutes or less to read and focuses on 1 or 2 learning objectives or key takeaways.

Any ideas on how you might incorporate mobile learning into your courses?

National Mentoring Month

As part of National Mentoring Month, The Equity and Diversity Committee at DCS recently shared the following introspective introspection questions.

1. What does it mean to be a mentor? What are some characteristics of truly great mentors? Why does mentorship matter?

2. Who were the great mentors in your life? How did they shape your path? What lessons did you learn from them?

3. How can you be a mentor to someone else? Who in your life needs a great mentor?

Are you looking for more opportunities to serve as a mentor? Check out the following links:

Paris Museums Put 100,000 Images Online for Unrestricted Public Use

14 Paris museums, part of Paris Musées, are now offering high-resolution copies of 100,000 works of art. Thousands of artists are represented, including Picasso, Monet, and Rembrandt. These are free to use and redistribute. Perhaps there is a worthwhile image you could share with your students. Or if you simply love art, it would be worth scrolling through and taking in the imagery.

You can view the collection here:

More information can be found at the link below.