can we look and sound our best in Zoom or video presentations? Scott Moomaw,
the multimedia specialist for COLRS, shares a few easy hints for making sure
your home video productions and Zoom meetings look as good as they possibly
the studio, it is easier to look and sound good. We have the equipment we need:
cameras, microphones, lighting, everything to make your presentation its best.
But we’re not in the studio right now. We’re all working remotely, trying to do
our best with our laptops and virtual conference rooms, but we can still do
many things to look our best.
be aware of your surroundings. Your background, in particular is important. If
you’re unsure about your background, go with something plain — a wall or tidy
bookcase. My basement office doubles as the kids’ playroom when I’m not here. I
hung a simple curtain rod as a backdrop to provide a bit more of a professional
aware of any harsh light sources. Never set yourself up with a window or other
bright light source right behind you. Use a desk lamp or another light source
to highlight yourself. You don’t want to be a silhouette to your viewers.
your camera position so that it’s looking at you straight on. You may need to
elevate your laptop for this to work, but an upward facing camera is an awkward
angle and can be distracting, even uncomfortable for the viewer.
there you go. It doesn’t take much to create a pretty drastic improvement in
how you come across to your audience.
Canvas is a web-based course management learning system that instructors can use to organize course content. Instructors can manage the content to provide students with supplemental materials in a blended course format or full-course activities organized in Modules for ease of student learning. Canvas contains a multitude of tools, such as collaborations, assignments, and pages for an online class. There are many tools such as the discussions, chat, Zoom, Kaltura video management, and peer reviews, which allow for increased communication and collaboration.
Canvas has a simple file upload process that requires no knowledge of HTML coding. UIS also has the Design Plus tool to enable faculty to create visually appealing and well organized courses to guide users through their coursework.
Canvas has an easy to navigate interface for students on the web and via a mobile app.
Canvas allows faculty members 24/7 access to their course for instructional updates and design.
Most often, infographics are presented as images. For
image-based infographics, the main concerns are alternative text and color
contrast. You may be familiar with alternative text, which describes the content
of an image to someone using a screen reader. For infographics, alt text
involves fully providing the information described by the graphic. Where this
should be included depends on where the infographic is being presented.
If it’s in a Word or PowerPoint document, you can right click on the image and choose Edit Alt Text (if you’re in 365 or 2019) or choose Format Picture and find the alt text box in the Layout and Properties tab of the Format menu (For Office 2016).
If you’re including the image as part of an email, and
you’re using Outlook, you can include alt text the same way, by right clicking
and choosing Edit Alt Text. If you aren’t using Outlook or another client that
allows for the inclusion of alt text when inserting images, you should include
the text alternative in the email itself, add a link to the alt text, or add it
as an attachment.
If you’re posting it on a webpage, you can include the alt
text in the image tag as seen below:
src="infographic.png" alt="description of the infographic's
When writing the alt text itself, describe in the logical
reading order of the graphic the data described by each element. The form of
the element may be omitted if it isn’t important to understanding the image.
For example, here is an infographic describing student
demographics at UIS and its alt text:
Example ALT Text:
Infographic, Snapshot of the UIS Student Body (Fall 2019): UIS has 4275 total students, 66.1 percent of which are onground students, and 33.9 percent are online students. 17.2 percent are transfer students, 62.5 percent are undergrad students, and 37.5 percent are graduate students. 30.9 percent live in college housing. 44.6 percent are part time students and 55.4 percent are full time students.
51.6 percent of students are female and 48.4 percent are male.
Residency: 76.6 percent of students are Illinois residents; 14.6 percent are Non-Illinois residents; and 8.7 percent are International students.
620 students are under 19.
662 students are aged 20 to 21.
827 students are aged 22 to 24.
715 students are aged 25 to 29.
515 students are aged 30 to 34.
366 students are aged 35 to 39.
359 students are aged 40 to 49.
193 students are aged 50 to 64.
18 students are 65 or older.
2611 students are White.
557 students are Black or African American.
373 students are Non Resident Alien.
348 students are Hispanic or Latino.
197 students are Asian.
134 students are Two or More Races.
47 students are unknown.
6 students are American Indian or Alaskan Native.
2 students are Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.
Here, none of the visual elements provided to make the image
more engaging to the eye are included, as they are superfluous and are not used
in a way to further convey the data expressed. Instead, the statistics are
simply described in text, with an effort to make the format they are read in
understandable to a listener. If any visual elements are important to the
understanding of the infographic, be sure to include those. An example might be
if one of the bars of the histogram was colored differently to highlight a
certain data value.
In terms of accuracy, try to provide the original statistics
if possible. I was able to include specific numbers for the charts at the
bottom of the graphic because I had access to the original data that formed
this document. If you don’t have such access, approximations are acceptable,
but note that you’re providing approximations rather than the actual values in
The colors used in your infographic should also have
significant contrast between them to ensure that sighted individuals with
visual impairments can still read the graphic. There are a number of tools that
allow you to check the contrast of a foreground and background color like this WCAG color contrast checker, or apply
filters to see what an image looks like with different forms of color blindness,
If the infographic is instead a document like a PDF or
PowerPoint that is made up of individual elements, there are other
considerations beyond those listed above. Primarily, the elements should read
in an order that is not confusing and complements the content.
The accessibility checker in Office programs is located under File > Info > Check for Issues > Check Accessibility. You can use this to see if there are other issues with the document than are listed here. When you select an issue, there is a description at the bottom of the pane of why the issue occurred and how to fix it.
In PowerPoint, you can see the reading order by opening the Selection Pane (Home > Arrange > Selection Pane). The elements will be read from the bottom to the top of the selection pane. Drag and drop elements within this pane to reorder the way they will read.
For elements like charts, that have data integrated, they will read the data in a tabular format, and don’t require special considerations. Text items should be added in a content block rather than a text box, because text boxes can sometimes have issues with not being read properly. To add more content blocks, open the Slide Master (View > Slide Master) copy a content block on the current layout, and paste it in for as many elements as you need to add.
You can then reapply the layout by choosing it from the Layout dropdown in the Home tab, and add your elements into the content blocks.
Graphical items should have alternate text that describes
their content, and if they’re decorative, you can check the “Mark as
Decorative” box in the alt text pane.
Checking accessibility in PDF is a little more complicated
than other filetypes. There are two tools that you may need to use to ensure an
accessible PDF. First, use the Accessibility Check option from the
Accessibility tool. The issues will be displayed in the left pane. You can
right click and choose Explain, and it will open the Adobe help page explaining
the error and how you might fix it.
If you get an issue for Untagged PDF, you need to run the Make Accessible wizard from the Action Center tool. Follow the dialog boxes to complete the wizard. When it asks for the document information, all of the fields are optional except for Title. It will ask if you would like to scan for form fields and the default option is to do so. Don’t choose this option; choose No, Skip this Step. You will likely have a point where it presents you with boxes to add alt text to any images it recognizes. I suggest just choosing Save and Close here, ensuring the reading order is correct, and then going back to alt text at the end by right clicking on one of the alt text issues and choosing Fix.
Similar to PowerPoint, reading order is the most important accessibility concern in PDFs. The easiest way to categorize elements and change their reading order is in the Order panel. You can right click on the left toolbar and choose Order if it isn’t shown already.
Here, each element will have a box around it labeled with a number in the order that they will read aloud to a screen reader. Each element is also listed in order in the left side pane. You can reorder elements within that pane. To regroup elements or change an element’s tag, open the menu at the top of the pane and choose “Show Reading Order Panel”.
This will open a dialog, and you will now be able to drag a box on the document to select elements. You can also click on an existing tagged element to select it as a whole. After you’ve selected what you want to tag, click the corresponding button in the dialog box. One thing to note is this will affect the layering order in the PDF, so an element that reads earlier will be above an element that reads later. If something is decorative and sitting in front of another element, you can tag it as background/artifact and adjust its visual ordering by using the Arrange options in the Edit PDF tool.
This is an example of an accessible PDF infographic. You can see the reading order given by the numbers next to each element. Most of this graphic was simply text, and so didn’t need special considerations beyond ensuring that they read in a logical manner. Each of the pictures has alt text, and the bars of the bar graph are also alt texted with their value, so the bar graph would read the label and then the corresponding value. Note that none of the decorative elements are included in the reading order because their presence is not necessary to understand the information presented.
Regular and substantive feedback on student work encourages academic growth and improvement. It is an important communication channel with your students. In the post below, we will discuss the general structure of grading and feedback in Canvas, as well as link to Canvas documentation on feedback and grading.
When you set up your Canvas Grades (Gradebook) and provide feedback to students, you will be working in three distinct areas of Canvas.
The Assignments area of the Canvas lists every graded item in Canvas — assignments, quizzes, and graded discussions. Assignment Groups organize assignments and are used for weighted grades, if required.
This area exactly reflects the Grades (Gradebook) columns.
The Grades (Gradebook) area of Canvas displays individual student grades, instructor feedback, and calculates total grades. The Grades (Gradebook) area has many features for entering, modifying and overriding grades, posting/hiding columns, calculating late work deductions, and messaging students based on grading criteria.
The SpeedGrader is the grading interface for online assignments, quizzes, and discussions. The SpeedGrader layout displays student work, any grading rubrics, and feedback options (including annotations, written, audio, or video feedback).
Students access instructor feedback entered in the SpeedGrader through their view of Grades.
Many faculty members have contacted us about how to “unpublish” courses from last semester to manage the courses that appear on their Canvas Dashboard screen.
Courses cannot be unpublished after students have submitted work, but you can customize which active courses you want to show in your Course list and Dashboard. Courses you want to show in the Courses menu are called favorite courses. You can favorite any active course that appears on the course list page.
When no courses are favorited, the courses list automatically
displays up to 20 courses alphabetically in the drop-down menu. However,
once you have selected at least one course as a favorite, only your
favorite courses will appear in the Courses list.
Note: Courses are always listed alphabetically; you cannot reorder your courses manually.
In the blue Global Navigation on the left side of Canvas, click the Courses link , then click the All Courses link .
To favorite a course, click the star next to a course . Courses with filled stars show the course is a favorite .
In the Dashboard, any courses you have with an instructor role will
be listed first, followed by TA roles and any other custom
instructor-based roles. Your courses with student roles are listed last.
Note: When you favorite at least one course, the
Dashboard will only display favorited courses. Canvas will also continue
to automatically favorite new course enrollments.
View Unpublished Courses
Unpublished courses can be identified by a gray background  and
the Published column . You can favorite unpublished courses.
View Past Enrollments
Depending on course configuration, you may still be able to view
your past enrollments after courses have concluded. However, favorited
courses are not automatically removed as a favorite. If a past
enrollment course still shows as a favorite, users can unfavorite the
course by toggling the star icon.
Update ALL the home page links to the modules in your course. Edit the home page, highlight the module link and/or click on the linked image, click on the Links button > Choose Course Links > Modules > click on the module. the new link to your module. Save the page.
If you delete the links and insert them again, the button styling will be deleted. Each <a> will need a class style (class=”btn”) added to it again. The link should look be added is below. Canvas will insert all of the link, except the class.
To set a page as the “Front Page” of your course, go to the Page, click on the kebab menu for your selected home page option, and then choose “Use as Front page.” Next, go to the Home link in your course menu, click on the “Choose Home Page” button, and choose “Pages as Front Page.” Be sure to click “Save.”
You may delete the page and image(s) that you do not need for your course.
The images on Home Page Option 2 may not appear properly on people using the browser Safari (version 13. 1 or later).
Canvas, the preferred name will appear in place of the legal first name. In
Banner, both the legal first name and preferred first name will appear.
preferred first name may take several days to roll out to all systems.
Canvas New Feature Ideas allow all Canvas users to suggest ideas and
rate ideas for new and existing features and fixing bugs in Canvas.
Canvas use New Feature Ideas to prioritize work. They have some great
pages about starting idea conversations and the Canvas development process.
Who can start an idea?
Any registered user! Your UIS Canvas account allows you to create new ideas and rate or comment on existing ideas. Rating the is the “voting” mechanism that Canvas uses to measure support for an idea.
How do I rate a conversation?
Rating is how you demonstrate just how important an idea conversation is to you.
rate an idea conversation, click on the “Log in to participate” button
in the red banner at the top of the page. Click on the number of stars
you wish to rate it, with 1 being low and 5 being the highest
In Canvas’s New Quizzes tool, partial credit is not
available on Matching, Ordering, and Multiple Answer Questions. To adjust
student scores for these questions, you can use “fudge
points” in the Canvas SpeedGrader. You can also manually override the
grade, by entering the correct grade in the total points for the quiz.
Partial credit is given in the Canvas Classic Quizzes tool for these question types.
New quizzes in Canvas have a solid green spaceship logo. Classic quizzes have an outlined spaceship logo.
Canvas users, including UIS faculty and staff, can “vote up” new features and feature changes in Canvas.
Assignments that ask students to create video presentations can be excellent methods to assess synthesis of course materials or to present original research. Below you will find best practices for setting up student video presentation assignments in Canvas, including some instructions that you can copy and paste to include in your assignment instructions.
But, first, a word about what NOT to do.
Please do not create a Canvas assignment with a submission type of “online” and “Media Recordings” upload. This type of assignment will have the students upload video files directly to Canvas, which will quickly cause your course size to reach its storage limit. After your course meets its storage limit, you will not be able to upload any additional files to your course.
Best Practices for Student Video Submissions
Students have access to record and share videos through Kaltura Media, the UIS video creation and storage solution. Student video projects can be created in Kaltura Media or created else and uploaded to Kaltura Media. Students may share the videos by (1) submitting a URL (web link) to the video to a Canvas Assignment, (2) embedding their video in a text box, or (3) adding a link to the video or embedding the video in a Canvas Discussion.
Create a Canvas Assignment for Student Video Submission
Click on “Assignments” from the course navigation.
Note: All new videos uploaded to Kaltura automatically have captions requested. You do not need to request machine captions. However, the captions do not automatically show on your video. To show your captions, you will need to review and edit them, and then select the button that says Show on Player. See below for instructions.
Click on the My Media button to view all your videos uploaded to Kaltura Media.
Click on one of your videos to open it.
Click on Actions, and then Caption and Enrich.
Scroll down to locate the captions. Click on the Pencil icon to edit. The caption editor will show up in the browser next to your video so that you can view them simultaneously.
To edit, click in the text of the caption to make edits.
When you are finished reviewing and editing your captions, click on the Save button. This allows you to come back and finish editing later. At this point, your captions still do not show on your video.
To publish the captions and make them visible, click on the back button so that you viewing the video again.
Click Actions, and then Edit.
Beneath the preview of the video, click on the Captions tab.
Next to the English captions line, look for the button on the far right to “Show on Player.”
Once this button is clicked, your students will be able to turn captions on and off by using the CC button the video player.
Kaltura Media is the video management solution at UIS. Faculty and students may upload video from other sources (MS Lync, camcorders or phones) or record web cam and/or screen capture videos through Kaltura Personal Capture. A fantastic feature of Kaltura is the statistics for video use. It will tell you the percentage of your video that each student watch, how many times it was access, and the average view time. Across UIS, the average view time for a video is 7 minutes and 35 seconds, which is on the longer side of the recommended 5-7 minute length for video lectures.
Filter conversations by course or type (read, unread, starred)
View and reply to assignment submission comments
In the Inbox, you can send a message to one user or multiple users in a course. You course must be published to send messages to currently enrolled students. If students have not yet been added to your course, you can obtain a list of emails for your students in Self-Service and send a message through UIS Webmail.
How do I use Canvas Inbox?
If your recipient list contains more than 100 users, your message will automatically be sent as individual messages to each user. As the sender, you will also be included in the total recipient count.
Currently you cannot send a single message users in multiple courses. You would need to send one message for each course.
You can also send a message to yourself, but messages can only be viewed in the Sent messages folder.
You cannot send messages to users in concluded courses.
Open Canvas Inbox
Open Inbox by click on “Inbox” in the blue menu on the left side of the screen in Canvas.
Create a New Canvas Message
Click on the Compose button (a square icon with a pencil on top). A new Canvas Message box will appear.
Next to Course, click on the Select Course dropdown menu. If you click on Favorite Courses, you should see your currently active courses in the list.
In the “To” line, click on the Address Book graphic to select your recipients. You can select from
All in the course
Teachers (once you click on Teacher, you may select either All Teachers or specific teachers)
Students (once you click on Students, you may select either either All Students or specific students)
To finish your message enter a Subject, type your message, and click the blue Send button.
In order to prepare students for remote learning this fall, COLRS has create a short orientation module that can be imported into any UIS Canvas course site. The materials have been reviewed by UIS faculty and posted to Canvas Commons for easy inclusion in your course(s).
Search the Commons for “Remote Learning at UIS” and click on the green MODULE (for a version that will not hide navigation links in your course) or click on this direct link to the Remote Learning at UIS content. [Note: the blue course import that will appear during this search will hide your navigation links upon import. We apologize for the work that has caused some faculty. We have created this modules version to prevent that issue. The content is the same.]
Click on Import/Download on the right side of the screen.
Check the boxes for any courses into which you wish to import the module
Click “Import into Course.”
The materials are also accessible through the “More” menu in Canvas. Click on the “Remote Learning Orientation” to view the materials.
Guest accounts cannot be created for Canvas. All users must have a NetID to have access to UIS Canvas.
If an instructor or unit needs to provide access to a person who does not have a NetID, the unit may request an External Affiliate UIN and NetID.
An External Affiliate is typically a person who is not an employee, student, or faculty member that requires a UIN and NetID. This could be a visiting scholar, guest, etc. This is not to be confused with a person requiring only WiFi access, which can be provided by other methods. A new request for an External Affiliate status will typically pertain to three types of people
A person who has an active NetID on any campus, this implies a UIN has previously been assigned.
A person who previously had an active NetID and/or UIN on any campus, e.g. a graduate 10 years previous, who is now a guest instructor or vendor.
A person who has never had a relationship with any University of Illinois campus, a new UIN will be required.
A sponsor will have been assigned to assist the requester before this request is initiated. The sponsor must be a university employee that will assist in the submission of the new request and is the point of contact for any questions during the process. The employment status of of the sponsor will be validated at submission time.
Note: If you are adding multiple users at the same time, all users inherit the same role and section.
Add Existing Users
If Canvas finds an existing user, you can confirm the user before adding the user to the course .
user’s name displays in the page along with the user’s information you
used in the user search. Although Canvas may display additional search
columns, existing information in a user’s account will not be displayed.
When you are ready, click the Add Users button .
If Canvas did not find your intended user, you can click the Start Over button .
If you cannot locate a user, they may not yet have a Canvas Account. Please have the user log in to Canvas, which will automatically create their UIS Canvas account.
UIS has configured single sign-on (SSO) for our Zoom account, you need to use SSO to login on the web and with the Zoom client. Some meetings, like COLRS training workshops, will also require you to login with the SSO to access the Zoom session.
To access a Zoom session that requires you to be logged in with your UIS account:
Click on the link to join the Zoom session.
Your computer will prompt you to choose an application. Select zoom.us and click on Open Link. If nothing happens, click on the Download and Run Zoom link on the browser window.
Your desktop Zoom client will open.
Click Sign In with SSO.
Enter your company domain (uis). You can also click on I don’t know the company domain, then enter your UIS email address.
Click Continue. You will be redirected to the UIS single sign-on provider to sign in.
After signing in, you will be redirected back to the Zoom Desktop Client. Click Launch Zoom.
While we are scrambling to transition face-to-face courses to remote teaching, we’d like to remind everyone that perfection isn’t necessary.
In the spirit of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the
good, we offer the following ideas regarding assessments for your consideration.
Consider one consistent day and time each week
when work is due. Make an updated course calendar for students.
Be creative about assessment. Think about
assessing in ways that are appropriate for what you want students to learn. Do
you assessments match your higher-level learning objectives?
Instead of a big exam with 100 question,
consider breaking assessments into smaller chunks – quizzes or more focused
activities. Many smaller assessments are less stressful for students.
When you do give exams, provide longer windows during
which students can take the exam, rather than just during your normal class
time. For example, allow students 2 days to choose an hour to take a test. Allowing
a cushion of time for connectivity issues will make your life easier.
One of the principles of universal design for
learning is that what is good for one student is good for all. Captioning,
sharing lecture notes and presentations, and creating videos are good practices
that help your students with documented disabilities as well as everyone else
in your class.
Rely on those with experience and expertise –
the Remote Teaching Faculty Champions and COLRS/ITS staff are here to support
your transition. Have conversations and learn some strategies and tools to keep
learning going this semester.
While we are scrambling to transition face-to-face courses
to remote teaching, we’d like to remind everyone that perfection isn’t
In the spirit of not letting the perfect
be the enemy of the good, we offer the following ideas for your consideration.
is vital right now. You didn’t sign up for a mid-semester move to remote
teaching. Your students didn’t register for an online class. Students are looking
to you for guidance and support. Are you treating you students as you would
want to be treated in this situation?
do not have great internet connections. A large number are doing remote
learning on cell phones. Students may be experiencing loss of income, ill family
members, and stress about the uncertainty of this situation.
Let go of teaching your class as you always
have. Take a step back and think about your learning objectives. How can you accomplish your learning
objectives in this new situation?
Make the tools you have work to your advantage. Elaborate isn’t necessary.
Expecting all students to log into Zoom at a particular
time is a challenging requirement, at best. Record any live sessions (save recordings to your computer, rather
than the cloud; it gives you faster access to the recordings). Upload
recordings to Kaltura or YouTube and provide the links to the recordings for
students who could not attend. UIS has asked that all synchronous sessions to take place at normal class times to
avoid conflicts among classes for students.
Reconsider creating narrated PowerPoint or talking
head videos for three hours a week. Long videos take a lot of bandwidth. Consider short videos (5 minutes or
less). Post content in Word or PowerPoint files, too. Reserve synchronous Zoom
sessions for discussion and student questions.
Remember, perfection is not necessary. Communicate with
students. Simplify where possible. Ask for help when you need it.
From discussion boards in
Blackboard to group work, journaling, web conferences, and collaborative group
projects, we have many strategies to engage our students and keep our classroom
As announced on Monday, March 16, 2020, ITS has secured a UIS site license for Zoom, which means that all faculty, staff, and students will have access to this web conferencing platform. Zoom is a robust web conferencing platform for instructors and staff to engage with students and one another.
Zoom is integrated with Blackboard. Faculty can create, schedule, and launch Zoom sessions from within Blackboard, and students can easily join those sessions. Here is a quick video showing how to add the Zoom integration into your Blackboard courses.
Synchronous class meetings for remote teaching should be
held during normal on campus meeting times.
Zoom as a Classroom Tool
Zoom can be an excellent
platform for delivering lectures, holding class discussions, supporting group
work and class debates, and enabling student presentations.
Zoom Usability for Students with Slow or Intermittent
Zoom is designed to work on
multiple platforms (Mac and Windows, plus mobile devices). Zoom also compresses
audio and video feeds to make them work on slower internet connections. Below
are some strategies for providing support for students with slow, unreliable,
or intermittent internet access, or other circumstances that prevent joining a
synchronous session held during normal class meeting times. Being flexible and
forgiving will be key to helping all our students continuing their learning.
Remind students that they can call in to listen and
If they don’t have internet access, they are not excluded from class. Each Zoom
meeting will have a phone number and meeting ID that allows participants to
Upload all PowerPoint slides, shared resources, and
websites to Blackboard.
This can be helpful for students who are calling in. They can download and/or
print resources before the synchronous meeting time.
Record the session and post it to Kaltura or YouTube.
When the recording is uploaded, post it to your Blackboard course to provide alternative
viewing modes for students who cannot meet at the normal, scheduled class time.
Learn about Zoom
recordings and uploading
Provide a “muddiest point” discussion
forum for the synchronous session.
The Muddiest Point is a simple classroom assessment technique to help
assess where students are having difficulties. Ask each student to post a quick
response to the question: “What was the muddiest point in [synchronous meeting,
lecture, discussion, assignment, etc.]?” You might replace “muddiest” with “most
unclear” or “most confusing.” This technique also allows students who view the
recording later to participate with the rest of the class. Learn more about Classroom Assessment
Zoom Accessibility Considerations
If you have a student with accommodations
in your course, the UIS Office of Disability Services will continue working
with the student and all their instructors. Zoom
can support live captioning, if required.
The official system of record for your class list is the Enterprise Self-Service system. This is also the system where students register and drop courses and instructors enter midterm and final grades.
The following is from Constructivism and Online Education by Doolittle:
Constructivism is a theory of knowledge acquisition, not a theory of pedagogy; thus, the nexus of constructivism and online education is tentative, at best. Constructivism posits that knowledge acquisition occurs amid four assumptions:
Knowledge involves active cognizing by the individual.
Knowledge is adaptive, facilitating individual and social efficacy.
Knowledge is subjective and self-organized, not objective.
Knowledge acquisition involves both sociocultural and individual processes.
These four assumptions have led, indirectly, to eight primary pedagogical recommendations:
Learning should take place in authentic and real-world environments.
Learning should involve social negotiation and mediation.
Content and skills should be made relevant to the learner.
Content and skills should be understood within the framework of the learner’s prior knowledge.
Students should be assessed formatively, serving to inform future learning experiences.
Students should be encouraged to become self-regulatory, self-mediated, and self-aware.
Teachers serve primarily as guides and facilitators of learning, not instructors.
Teachers should provide for and encourage multiple perspectives and representations of content.
The question then arises, can an online medium support this pedagogy that is based on the constructivist assumptions?
Explore the new Adobe Slate and Voice iPad apps, which allow you to tell stories. Slate allows you to create scrolling stories from pictures and text. Voice helps you to create videos from text and images with background music and transitions. Beyond being attractive, these stories are mobile-friendly!
The apps are currently FREE to download. Slate is also available for use through a web browser on your desktop, though handout focuses on the iPad app only (they work in the same manner). You will need to create a free Adobe ID in order to use these tools.
Consider this tool for use in presenting course content and for student presentations. Topics included: navigating and building projects with the apps, importing photos, importing text, project privacy, making projects accessible, and including projects in Blackboard courses.
If the film you wish to show is not available in these collections, it may be available in the library’s film collection or available for purchase. The library can work with you to find obtain copyright clearance for the film.
You can also request that your students find a film at a local library or video store. Contact your Brookens Library Liaison for help teaching your students to use the WorldCat database to find films at their local library.
Free videos from the Web
YouTube and Ted.com are just two of many great sites for free video on the Web. The embed codes provided by sites like these make it easy to add the videos to Blackboard. The Library of Congress created a National Screening Room collection of American films from 1890 to 1999.
To embed a video player from Ted.com or YouTube.com in your Blackboard course site:
Copy the embed code from the video website.
Go to your Canvas course.
Edit the page in which you wish to add the video or create a new page.
Below the rich content editor (text box), click on the HTML button — “<>” — to view the code.
Remember that large files can take a long time to download if a student has dial up internet service. Please be careful not to upload videos directly into your Blackboard course. Always link from an outside source as stated above.
Videos should supplement content. Use videos to explain text book content more in depth, create examples of concepts, and extend the learning environment with outside curriculum resources.
Keeping abreast of current and future workforce trends provide insight and ideas for new and enhanced skill development options when updating or creating new academic course content. According to Deloitte Insight’s, The Future of Work article and video, the paradigm-shifting forces such as cognitive technologies and the open talent economy are reshaping the future workforce, driving many organizations to reconsider how they design jobs, organize work, and plan for future growth. Review the figure below for a quick comparison of changing workforce rules that need to be adopted for leading, organizing, motivating, managing, and engaging the 21st-century workforce.
The WCET Frontiers Blog featured Dr. Katie Linder, Oregon State University Ecampus, who discussed a national research project on student use of closed captions and transcriptions. The Oregon State University Ecampus Research unit and 3Play Media worked together to conduct a national study on student uses and perceptions of closed captions and transcriptions.
The important results show that while these resources are not yet widely available, many students, even those who may not need these resources as an accommodation, are able to use transcriptions and captions to increase their success.
Narrated lectures, when properly structured and brief, can be a good tool to deliver course content to your students.
Chunk Your Content
We recommend that you “chunk” your lectures into smaller manageable pieces no longer than 5-7 minutes. Chunking accomplishes three things for you. First, by breaking the lectures into brief topics, the likelihood of being able reuse a lecture in another course increases. Second, it is easier to update or re-record a single short video than a longer video. Third, it is easier for your students to find time to sit and concentrate for less than 10 minutes.
Write a Script
Remember to write a script for your lectures. It will help keep you from using verbal fillers and keep your videos brief, but more importantly, the script gives an alternative content piece to present to students who cannot hear your lecture and for visually impaired students. It is also very easy to create captions for your lecture by using the YouTube caption editor.
Use Images & Visual Explanations
Narrated PowerPoint lectures give you the opportunity to present your materials in a visual way, and can help you reach students who are visual learners. Try to include images that enhance your lecture. Replace text descriptions with visual representations of your topic — flow charts, graphs, diagrams, photographs, artwork, maps. Visuals will add value to your lecture and help to keep you from reading every word on your slide — something that students could easily do for themselves.
The Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a highly-interactive, publicly-available and media-rich online writing lab designed to help students make the transition to college-level writing. In 2014, the Excelsior OWL – ESL Writing Online Workshop (WOW) won the 2013 Distance Education Award by the National University Technology Network (NUTN).
The Excelsior OWL offers videos, interactive PDFs, video games, quizzes, Prezis
From the Excelsior OWL Home Page you can access all of the learning areas, as well as “Additional Resources” found in the header, and “Acknowledgements”, found in the footer.
Each learning area has its own landing page, with access to the content, as well as the “How to Use OWL” and “Additional Resources” pages. Depending on the learning area, there may be additional options available on the landing page.
Once inside a learning area, you will see the online writing lab menu on the left side of the screen. The active learning area is highlighted, at which point all of the topics for that learning area are displayed below it. Some of the topics have multiple sections.
For example, if the student has provided a weak thesis statement, you may provide a link to the Thesis section, or a specific section (such as Stating your Thesis) within the Thesis section.
Support student understanding of plagiarism
The Avoiding Plagiarism section of the OWL provides a thorough overview of the topic of plagiarism. With audio, video, and supporting documentation, students will develop a keen understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it. The pre-test and post-test provide a method for students to track their progress.
The New York Public Library’s digital collections are vast. In early January 2016, they added more than 180,000 of its public-domain holdings to the digital collection. Visitors will find maps, posters, manuscripts, sheet music, drawings, photographs, letters, ancient texts, all available as high-resolution downloads. “These changes are intended to facilitate sharing, research and reuse by scholars, artists, educators, technologists, publishers, and Internet users of all kinds,” the library says in a statement.
Documents range from literary manuscripts and sheet music to maps, atlases, and stereoscopic views. The library also notes that the documents include Farm Security Administration photographs, papers from Founding Fathers, WPA-era art by African-American artists, the 16th-century Handscrolls of the Tales of Genji, and illuminated manuscripts from the Medieval Ages and the Renaissance.
a comparison of 1911 street photos with 2015 Google Street View images
a trip planner based on a guide to where black visitors would be welcomed in the 1930s-1960s
A sampling of the newly-available high-res images from the NYPL:
A lithograph of New Orleans, by the artist Henry Lewis and the lithographer Arnz and Co., is among the more than 180,000 public domain items now available for high-resolution download from the New York Public Library.
The public domain release includes more than 40,000 stereoscopic views — like this one of female prospectors in 1898. B.W. Kilburn/New York Public Library
“Muhammad and Abu Bakr are feted by Umm Ma’badah’s tribe,” from a 16th-century illuminated manuscript depicting the life of the prophet Muhammad.
An early-20th century photo by Edwin Levick, “Uncle Sam, host. Immigrants being served a free meal at Ellis Island,” is part of the NYPL’s photography collection.
The NYPL’s digital holdings include the papers of notable Americans: letters from Walt Whitman, journals by Nathaniel Hawthorne, receipts from Alexander Hamilton – and George Washington’s recipe for “small beer.”
The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act) of 2002 is an amendment to the Copyright Act of 1976 that addresses online education. It is sometimes referred to as Section 110(2) of the copyright law.
Fair use is the right of the public to reproduce portions of a copyrighted work without permission for purposes such as scholarly criticism, parody, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.
Fair use resources:
Section 107 of the Copyright Act – lists the four factors that courts use when determining whether a use of a copyrighted work is fair use
Public domain works have expired copyrights or were never protected by copyright law. You do not need permission to use or copy public domain works. Examples include U.S. government works, laws, and work published in the U.S. prior to 1923.
Creative Commons (CC) licenses help creators of content retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work. Creative Commons licensing works with copyright, not in place of it, when you want to grant certain rights in your copyrighted work. All CC licenses require users to attribute the original creator of a work.
The United States government states “Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.” Source: Copyright in General by www.copyright.gov.
As an ongoing effort to ensure that Blackboard runs as quickly and as efficiently as possible, a Blackboard Archival Policy will go into effect July 1, 2015.
The Blackboard subcommittee (comprised of representatives from ITS, COLRS, and online coordinators) researched practices of other universities, consulted with the Registrar, and proposed a recommendation to the Academic Technology Committee as well as the Campus Senate. Both groups endorsed the policy.
Courses will be retained on Blackboard for 3 years, on a single server (http://bb.uis.edu), after which they will be purged. As of Fall 2015, the courses available in Blackboard will be Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Summer 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Summer 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, and Summer 2015. All older courses will be purged.
Moving forward, each semester the oldest courses will be deleted from Blackboard, keeping the course load at 3 years. Faculty will receive a reminder prior to the deletion.
Please be aware that there are options for retaining course content longer than three years. Instructions for each option are linked below.
Many faculty already take advantage of GOLD courses, which serve as a template. GOLD courses are not taught from; they are merely a course shell where faculty can keep updated content that can easily be copied to live course as needed.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research completes research “conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women, promote public dialog, and strengthen families, communities, and societies” (source).
Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons, led a discussion of “eTextbooks and Open Educational Resources” to help University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) student leaders understand the local and global education opportunities when digital content, the internet and open licensing are combined. View the recording of Cable Green’s lecture.Movie Fifty Shades Darker (2017)
E-Reserves are a way of placing documents on hold and linking them in your course for your students to observe for a short period of time. These items can supplement your online instruction and can offer your students a plethera of information that can enhance their online learning experience.
SoftChalk is a tool to help enhance text-based lectures. It allows instructors to “chunk” their content into smaller pages, add images, flashcards, graded or self-test quizzes, and more. Learn more about SoftChalk.
Beginning in Fall 2014, faculty may reserve time in the COLRS Faculty Video Recording Studio to record lectures or interviews. The room is equipped with a high quality video camera, lighting, microphone, green screen, and a computer for editing videos with Camtasia Studio.
Whether it is to spot check for suspected plagiarism or submit an assignment for a student with computer problems, instructors may submit a student file to a Turnitin Assignment they have created in their Blackboard course site.
Go to the Blackboard course that contains the Turnitin Assignment.
Go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Turnitin Assignment.
Click on the assignment name.
Select the student’s name from the “Author” drop down list.
Enter a title for the paper.
Click on “Choose from this computer” button to upload the file, and the find and select the student’s paper.
Click the “Upload” button.
Next, you’ll see a preview of the file you submitted. If this is the correct document, click “Submit.”
Once the paper has been submitted, you will see the Turnitin Digital Receipt.
Click on “go to inbox” to see the listing of papers submitted for this Turnitin Assignment.
Sustaining Students: Retention Strategies in an Online Program
by Emily Boles, Barbara Cass, Carrie Levin, Raymond E. Schroeder, and Sharon McCurdy Smith
Published on Wednesday, December 15, 2010
With students spread across 47 states and a dozen countries, the University of Illinois at Springfield faces a significant challenge in promoting student persistence.
Program coordinators who know each student majoring in their online degree program keep in close touch with those students to assure that their learning and academic planning needs are met.
Online student peer mentors who model best student practices and serve as a liaison between students and faculty members provide effective support in selected classes.
These and other approaches have resulted in an online course completion rate that hovers just two to three percent below the on-campus completion rate, and the degree-completion rate among online students is equally strong.
“What a grand book! This is going to be a highly valuable resource for countless instructors and designers in online learning. “Adding TEC-VARIETY” is unique in that it combines the theoretical and pedagogical foundations of effective learning with 100 easy-to-implement activities that promote the engagement of online students in deep learning. These strategies can instantly breathe life into courses that fail to tap the enthusiasm and imagination of students. TEC-VARIETY has become a handbook for my design of engagement in online classes.”
Ray Schroeder, Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning and Founding Director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS), University of Illinois Springfield
Kaltura Media is a media management tool built into Canvas. Recordings made with Capture are automatically published to Kaltura. You may also upload videos you’ve created with other tools to Kaltura. Learn More about Kaltura and Personal Capture.
The UIS online supplemental evaluation system allows faculty to administer anonymous surveys to their students. Faculty choose up to ten questions from a bank of 64 questions. Students log into the supplemental evaluation site with their UIS NetID and take the survey. If the survey is administered prior to the last two weeks of the semester, instructors see the anonymous student feedback immediately. If the survey is administered during the final two weeks of the semester, faculty may see the feedback after grades are posted. View the full description of the supplemental evaluation system.
If your evaluation ends prior to the last two weeks of the semester, you may log in to see results immediately. If your evaluation ends during the last two weeks of the semester, you will be able to access the results after final grades are posted.
In the Faculty Focus article “How to Design Effective Online Group Work Activities,” Mary Bart writes that we should “design tasks that are truly collaborative, meaning the students will benefit more from doing the activity as a group than doing it alone.” Her articles goes on to quote Jean Mandernach:
“Too often we give students an activity and call it group work when in reality it’s something they could do on their own. Then we get frustrated when they don’t work together and just do the work on their own.”
The article recommends group work for assignments for which:
“There’s no right answer, such as debates, or research on controversial issues.”
“There are multiple perspectives, such as analyzing current events, cultural comparisons, or case studies.”
“There are too many resources for one person to evaluate, so a jigsaw puzzle approach is needed with each student responsible for one part.”
Be sure to check out the “Online Group Work Instructor Checklist” at the end of the article.
This video covers how to us the controls for Impatica lectures. It covers the especially important method for switching between Flash and HTML5 mode for viewing the lecture in different browsers. If you create narrated lectures using Impatica software, you may want to share this video with your students.
“Based upon proven research and informed by practical experience, this Blended Learning Toolkit will offer guidance, examples, professional development, and other resources to help you prepare your own blended learning courses and programs.”