Tag Archives: Communication

Your Survival Guide to Group Work Online

If you are an instructor for online courses, then this posting is for you. There are so many advantages to online courses that students enjoy, but one aspect of the course they may not particularly like is group work. Group work online can be a difficult and tedious task-one that many students may wish to avoid at all costs. But as instructors, you know that is not always possible and that group work can be an integral part of a good class. We have constructed an online group work “Survival Guide”, and would like to share a few tips and tricks for you to give your students next time they complete online group work!

  • Get to know one another: share interests and details about one another to create a sense of community and target individual strengths. Also share contact information and schedules and time zones to best decide when to schedule online meetings.
  • Appoint a leader for the group: Choose someone who will commit to keeping the group on track, oversee all work, facilitate decisions, keep the instructor up-to-date, etc.
  • Divide responsibilities: Make choices based on the strengths, interests, and backgrounds of each group member. Make sure each member clearly knows their responsbilities.
  • Discuss guidelines: This includes how you will communicate, how decisions will be made, timelines for completing the work and rules for missing milestones, how to deal with group members who don’t fully contribute, etc. Put these guidelines in writing so you can refer back to them when issues arise.
  • Commit to communication: Decide as a group how to communicate and how often the communications will take place. The group may find it helpful to have a weekly schedule for working on the project and communicating with each other. See below for some communication options.
  • Continuously review tasks and progress: Always keep up on deadlines and make sure others are staying on top of their tasks and responsibilities.

 

These tips are a great foundation for a successful online group project. Be sure to check out our post next week where we will discuss  free web tools we have found that make group work online a breeze!

The “5″ Series is Back-with Blogging!

A few months ago, we launched a “5 ways to use a…” series, giving you new and creative ideas to utilize some of the fantastic tools we have available for your use! To refresh your memory and keep you inspired, here is a “flashback” of…

5 ways you can use… a Blog!

The internet has started a new era of educational tools that have great capabilities to be an effective addition to your classroom.  One of the most versatile and useful tool is the blog. Blogs are a great way to communicate with students outside the classroom in an environment which is both easy to update and easy to navigate. Blogs lend themselves to be useful in various aspects of class including writing and journaling, collaboration, classroom management, and tutoring.  Here are 5 ideas to get you started:

  1. Promote collaboration and reflection among your students by posting a meaningful quotation, excerpt from a novel, or a news article, and ask them to reflect in writing and relate the piece to the material being covered in class.
  2. Blogs encourage participation in discussions, which can be particularly effective with shy students. Post a question weekly to your blog requiring students to respond and comment on their peers’ responses.
  3. Assign a project requiring students to create their own blog and use it as a portfolio of their work and career goals. The blog will become a valuable tool they can use to build connections and network.
  4. Easily incorporate sources from the “real world” such as news articles, videos, or websites to relate class material to the current events in the world.
  5. Try hosting a debate on your blog. Post a question or controversial topic and have students make their points and debate with one another. This encourages collaboration, discussion, and critical thinking.

UIS’ newly launched blog service, WordPress, is available for all faculty, staff and students for free. It is simple to navigate and update, and a great communication tool for educators and students alike. Checkout our WordPress Blogging Service informational page to start your blog today!

5 ways you can use…A Blog!

The internet has started a new era of educational tools that have great capabilities to be an effective addition to your classroom.  One of the most versatile and useful tool is the blog. Blogs are a great way to communicate with students outside the classroom in an environment which is both easy to update and easy to navigate. Blogs lend themselves to be useful in various aspects of class including writing and journaling, collaboration, classroom management, and tutoring.  Here are 5 ideas to get you started:

  1. Promote collaboration and reflection among your students by posting a meaningful quotation, excerpt from a novel, or a news article, and ask them to reflect in writing and relate the piece to the material being covered in class.
  2. Blogs encourage participation in discussions, which can be particularly effective with shy students. Post a question weekly to your blog requiring students to respond and comment on their peers’ responses.
  3. Assign a project requiring students to create their own blog and use it as a portfolio of their work and career goals. The blog will become a valuable tool they can use to build connections and network.
  4. Easily incorporate sources from the “real world” such as news articles, videos, or websites to relate class material to the current events in the world.
  5. Try hosting a debate on your blog. Post a question or controversial topic and have students make their points and debate with one another. This encourages collaboration, discussion, and critical thinking.

UIS’ newly launched blog service, WordPress, is available for all faculty, staff and students for free. It is simple to navigate and update, and a great communication tool for educators and students alike. Checkout our WordPress Blogging Service informational page to start your blog today!

Communication is the key to success!

We have all heard this at some point in almost any situation, but in college, good communication between educators and students really is essential. Not meeting face to face on a daily basis can be a disadvantage when it comes to students keeping up with assignments and current issues related to the class, and utilizing resources.

Students are always online. Most of them actually have the web at their fingertips at any given point of the day. For this reason, it is clear that the internet is one of the best forms of communication with college students. There are many ways to utilize the technology that is everywhere to easily communicate with your students and enrich their educational experience in your course. Here are a few examples of ways to keep your students updated on announcements, assignments, and current issues that you find relevant to class.

Blog!
Blogging is something we have all heard about, but most of us remain wary about it. I, myself, was one of those people until I started doing it, and realized it’s fun!

Blogging is a great way to establish consistent communication with your students. Post updates about current issues that are relevant to what is being discussed in class, and use incentives for your students to post back. It’s a great way for them to be involved in the class without actually being in class. Try Google’s free Blogger, or a blog meant to be used for educational purposes, like Edublog.

Wikis

Wikis are another great way to promote student involvement outside of the classroom. A wiki is basically a website where visitors can actually participate in creating and editing information. There are a variety of ways you, as educators, can incorporate this into your class; post and brainstorm different topics, give students a place to collaborate and share assignments and materials, assign each student a small part of a large, ongoing project, or create a student-published online resource center. Try the wiki feature in eDocs, Wikispaces or Wetpaint.

Twitter

Twitter may seem as though it has no purpose in a college classroom, but professors utilizing Twitter often have a good following by their students. Educators are able to share events as soon as they occur. Again, this is a great way to establish and maintain a connection outside of the classroom and keep students updated on issues relevant to class!

You will be surprised how much feedback and participation you receive from students when you prove yourself technically savvy and incorporate these tools into your class. I know I appreciate when a teacher of mine actively posts updates on their website or via other easily accessible forms of communication. If you have any questions or need any assistance incorporating these tools into your course, we would be happy to help!