New and emerging tools are available for teaching and learning online, but how do you know whether those tools are right for your course? It is important to first look at the way that you want students to learn, and your teaching practices. But once you have established what you want to teach, and how, there are some amazing tools for getting it done!
Online, On-Ground, or Hybrid? Online Conferencing Offers Multiple Benefits
Posted on February 13, 2014 by Sarah Bleakney
Have you heard about online conferencing tools—such as Adobe Connect, BigBlueButton, Google Drive and Hangouts, and Skype—but aren’t sure if they’re worth incorporating for your class? As two articles make clear, whether your students are online, in the classroom, or both, online conferencing can offer a variety of benefits.
A recent article, “Why I Love Conferencing Online with My Traditional Classroom Students”, details some of the reasons to consider using online conferencing for classroom-based, on-ground students. Pushed to try online conferencing when she left town for an emergency, the writer soon discovered online conferencing offered a variety of unexpected benefits. These benefits include higher levels of student engagement and increased time management and flexibility. The article also details some challenges to be prepared for, such as technical issues – though any faced have not stopped the instructor from planning to incorporate online conferencing for future semesters.
And, of course, the benefits of online conferencing are not limited to on-ground classes – as the article “Interactive Web Conferencing Brings Big Benefits to the Online Classroom” outlines, these benefits can also be realized if your course is hybrid or online. These benefits include increased accessibility, participation, and interaction. The instructor also found that online conferences also promoted active learning. The article provides a number of helpful “tips for success” on getting started, managing, and troubleshooting online conferences.
And in fact, though the two articles present experiences with online conferencing from different perspectives (one on-ground and the other online/hybrid), the benefits they detail are not limited to one or the other. Whether you decide to purchase an Adobe Connect license, register for a Google or Skype account, or use the Sakai- or Canvas-based conferencing tool, BigBlueButton, online conferencing can offer multiple benefits to you and your students.
Why Facebook Groups? Or, Should the Real Question Be: Why Not?
Posted on October 22, 2013 by Sarah Bleakney
According to a recent study, undergraduates were found to use smartphones and other devices for non-class-related purposes an average of 11 times a day. As social media can often be the inspiration for students’ errant in-class clicking, instructors have long been wary of including use of such sites for classes. However, an article in Faculty Focus suggests why and how you might consider leveraging social media to support and encourage student engagement.
Over multiple semesters, the instructor experimented with using a Facebook Page and both open and closed Groups. Both approaches can offer benefits, and are well worth considering, though closed Groups allowed students to more freely contribute to online discussions (students were uncomfortable asking questions on a Facebook Page or open Group, as their contributions were more or less public).
This instructor used Facebook to answer her students’ questions and to post articles (and encourage them to do the same), blending seamlessly from that day’s class discussions and, over time, enriching in-class discussions and increasing the overall level of class participation. Although this article focuses on using Facebook Groups in a small, on-ground class, this approach has been used to good effect by Warrington College of Business Administration instructors in hybrid and fully online courses that range from small to large.
Judy Fisher Teaching with Technology Award
In memory of the contributions of Dr. Judy Fisher to our teaching and learning environment, and to ensure that we continue to improve upon our current progress, the College has set up the Judy Fisher Teaching with Technology Award. This award is given to the faculty member who has best exemplified teaching using technology over the past year. The Office of Teaching Excellence participates in identifying faculty who are using technology to engage students in interactive learning experiences based on sound pedagogical teaching and learning goals.
2012 Award Recipient
Dr. Dorothy McCawley Video: 2012 Judy Fisher Teaching with Technology Award | Press Release
- 2011 - Fiona Barnes: Video | Press Release
- 2010 - Craig Tapley: Video
- 2009 - Victoria Dickinson: Video
- 2008 - Dr. Sanford Berg and Dr. Subhajyoti Bandyopadhyay
Thoughts on Mobile Learning
Posted on November 1, 2012 by Tawnya Means
Attendees at Abilene Christian University’s Connected Summit 2011 share their thoughts and perspectives on where we are headed with mobile learning: