Laurie Berry and Kristin Kowal gave an excellent presentation on how to make online discussions more engaging, taking a traditional discussion prompt and offering different ways to expand upon it.
A pdf of their presentation is included at the link below. While viewing a pdf can’t replicate the experience of attending their presentation, their slides offer numerous discussion examples with a variety of ways make them more personable and interactive.
What are some of your favorite ways of using discussions in your courses?
The Association for Distance Education and Independent Learning has two new connecting and learning opportunities:
1) ADEIL is launching a book discussion group, reading Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education by Thomas J. Tobin and Kirsten T. Behling and discussing it on LinkedIn. The first discussion is found at the link below, and please note that you can still be part of this first discussion even if you haven’t yet read the book.
2) I (Rich Freese) recently gave a video presentation for ADEIL. It examines three online-research activities, created by IL’s very own Sarah Korpi and Joan Bell-Kaul, and discusses how to adapt these for different courses.
As of January 1, 2019, works published in 1923 – literature, movies, images – are now in the public domain. The public domain refers to works that are available to the public with no copyright restrictions; works published in 1922 and prior had already been in the public domain, and if copyright laws remain unchanged, each new year until 2073 will see a new batch of published works enter the public domain (next year, works from 1924; the year after that, works from 1925).
Are there any ways you might be able to use these new open materials in your courses? I teach music courses; alas, copyright for standalone sound recordings isn’t as straightforward, but I can freely distribute sheet music of these pieces or look at examples of music in film.
Alan Ng recently requested a feature for Canvas that’s open for global voting. The request is for instructors to be able to include a direct link while annotating feedback as we grade student work. This link could go to a specific Canvas or OER page containing relevant or clarifying information that students can simply click on to access.
If you’re interested in such a feature, or if you’d simply like to help a colleague, you can vote at the link below (please note that you’ll be prompted to log in to your Canvas account).
UW-Madison is hosting a free conference for employees interested in managing their careers, offering resources, helping establish goals, etc.
From the conference website:
You can learn how to assess where you are now, build a career plan, execute that plan, or continue building within your current role. Join us for a full day or part of the day.
Again, this is free, and includes access to workshops, a keynote session, and lunch.
Earlier this year, Nate Ewings and Kristine Pierick at UW-Extension presented Assessments, Alignment, Evaluation, Oh my! The Path to Creating and Evaluating Assessments. The presentation examines ways to create high-quality assessments. You can view a powerpoint from their presentation here:
Faculty Symposium Assessments
While viewing a powerpoint doesn’t replicate the experience of attending a presentation in-person, there are some great ideas included:
Characteristics of high-quality assessments
Aligning learning objectives with assignments
Including real-life applications for students
Examples of how these ideas have been implemented in courses
Have you used Quickmarks when grading student work? It can save time – and lots of it – with its tools to save and reuse comments or other feedback that you might often provide when grading assignments.
Quickmarks is not currently available with Canvas, but we can reach out to the Canvas developers to request this feature at the following link:
Whether you’ve used this feature, would like to try this feature, or simply want to help your IL colleagues by making the request, your vote improves the chances of it being implemented.
With the end of the year and the holiday season approaching, many instructors will spend some time on vacation or out-of-the-office. If you’re planning on taking time off:
1) Inform Program Director Sarah Korpi [firstname.lastname@example.org] at least two weeks before your vacation.
2) Inform your students as soon as you know about your vacation. This gives them time to plan their course completion. An email to students along with a post in your course Newsfeed/Announcements is a great way to communicate this information with students.
On a related note, for a list of Federal Legal Holidays – days that the Division of Continuing Studies is closed, go to:
In recent years, MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, have become more popular and common. These online courses can each have tens of thousands of students enrolled. Since summer, 190 universities have announced or launched 600 free online courses in a wide variety of fields of study. A list of these courses, along with links to other lists of MOOCs, can be found here:
Some things to consider:
What is your own familiarity or experience with MOOCs?
What are the pros and cons of these kinds of courses?
Many of these courses have free and open access. Is there anything in these courses (content, layouts, ideas, etc) that we could incorporate in our own courses?
Are you looking for media – images, video, etc – to incorporate with your courses? Try Creative Commons:
From their website: “Creative Commons helps you legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world.” It’s not a search engine, but you can use it to search through things like Wikimedia Commons and various media repositories. Please note: they don’t guarantee that just because you found it through them, that you have the copyright permission to use it for your specific needs. However, you can generally look up information on the media that you find through Creative Commons and determine the copyright information from there.
Also, thanks so much to everyone who attended or assisted with ADEIL’s conference last week at Memorial Union in Madison! It was a great time to connect with colleagues from around the country and share ideas.