Online Teaching & Technology Blog

Center for Online Learning, Research and Service @ Illinois Springfield

Category: Uncategorized

Blended Learning Resources

Blended Learning Toolkit from UCF

Blended Content and Assignments

Blended Interactions

Blended Course Implementation Checklist

Evaluation Framework for Blended Learning Courses

Implementation of a Blended Course

Evaluating Blended Learning: Bringing the Elements Together

EdX: Syllabus and Class Structure Guide for Blended Learning

Blended Learning Innovations: 10 Major Trends

iNACOL Blended Learning Teacher Competency Framework

HyFlex Model Resources

HyFlex Option for Instruction if Campuses Open This Fall

7 Things You Should Know About the HyFlex Course Model

Development Opportunities for Online, Blended & Remote Teaching

As you take a moment to reflect on your experiences teaching during the Spring 2020 semester, COLRS encourages faculty to discuss your teaching experiences and further develop your skills in teaching in an online or blended environment. Upcoming opportunities include: 

COLRS Workshops

Throughout the summer, COLRS will be offering workshops on Technology Tools for Remote Delivery, Blended Learning Best Practices, and HyFlex Teaching. Check the COLRS Workshop calendar for dates and Zoom connection links. These workshops are free and available to all UIS faculty and staff (full or part-time). 

Self-Paced Options

COLRS Building Digital Community Course on CanvasThis self-paced faculty development course meets the requirements of the Higher Learning Commission for required faculty training in online instruction​.  It consists of six modules: Foundations of Online Learning, Accessibility, Instructional Design, Learning Theories, Facilitating Online Learning, Putting it Together. This course is free and available to all UIS faculty and staff (full or part-time). COLRS Canvas Migration Resources on CanvasThis Canvas site is a central location for support, materials, and resources to help you migrate your course to Canvas.​ These resources are publicly available.

Illinois Online Network (ION) Course Options

ION offers several non-credit courses including Overview of Online Courses, Blended Learning Design & Instruction, Instructional Design, Student Assessment, and many more. See the ION schedule​ for all upcoming course offerings. These courses are free for UIS faculty and staff (use code DV412 during registration). 

For-Credit Course Offerings

UIS offers relevant for-credit courses.​ Please contact Human Resources for tuition reimbursement possibilities. 

EDL 515 – Online Teaching and Learning. ​This course will introduce students to online and blended teaching and learning. Major concepts and issues, research in the field, and emerging technologies are covered, as well as practical strategies for designing and teaching online, which students actually get to practice in the course.

EDL 555 – Foundation for Technology in the Curriculum​Basic technology skills and knowledge necessary for today’s education professionals. Computer operation, electronic communication, and computer applications with emphasis on the tools most applicable to the classroom setting. 

The Teacher-Scholar: Interdisciplinary Research on Remote Teaching

​​As emphasized as a value in the UIS Strategic Compass, the UIS community seeks to understand the world around us through the pursuit of scholarship that is challenging and significant.  In the past couple of weeks, COLRS has been approached by UIS faculty who would like to discuss research possibilities relating to the campus-wide transition to remote teaching. If you are interested in participating in an initial discussion ab​out potential project ideas, please e-mail colrs@uis.edu. In your e-mail, please share any immediate areas of interest that you would like to raise in the discussion. COLRS will coordinate the scheduling of a Zoom session in the upcoming weeks for those who show an interest.

Dealing with Slow Internet

As millions of people around the world shift to working from home, the unprecedented transformation of our behavior has put a large strain on internet infrastructure which can lead to slow internet speeds.

Here are some ideas to help us address this challenge:

The following companies are offering free or low-cost internet service during the crisis:

  1. Comcast, Charter, Cox, Google Fiber, Spring, Verizon, and T-Mobile will not disconnect anyone for the next 60 days. They participated in the “Keep Americans Connected” Pledge.
  2. Comcast is offering an Internet Essentials package for free for 60 days during the coronavirus outbreak.
  3. Charter Communication announced it will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a subscription. 

Those using Zoom web conferencing to connect with students, may find that Zoom uses significant bandwidth, especially for video calls. To address this concern:

  1. You and your students can connect to a Zoom meeting via telephone.
  2. You may choose to mute audio when not speaking and ask your students to do the same.
  3. You may choose to turn off your webcam unless necessary.
  4. Zoom has offered a set of instructions for those experiencing WIFI connection issues.
  5. Upload your Zoom recordings and other lectures to Kaltura or YouTube, rather than Box, for ease of streaming over slower connections.

Discipline-Specific Resources for Teaching Remotely

In response to COVID-19, the larger educational community has been active in curating virtual resources for educators needing to quickly convert on-ground courses to alternative formats. As COLRS discovers resources that may be useful, we will share them here in this blog post.

Humanities

Digital Humanities from MLA

Multiple Disciplines

Merlot Materials (can be filtered by discipline)

Math

Interactive Simulations for Science and Math

Sciences

A spreadsheet of online resources organized by science subject (curated at large)

Merlot Collection of Virtual Labs

A link to a document of online animations, videos, simulations, & demos (curated by Chemistry Professor at the University of Miami Ohio)

LabXchange Foundational Concepts and Techniques in Biotechnology

Interactive Simulations for Science and Math

Online Lab Toolkit (Office of Digital Learning at Penn State University)

Theatre

Digital Theatre+ Access Resources for Remote Learning

Teaching Theatre Online: A Shift in Pedagogy Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak

L.A. Theatre Works Offering 25 Audio Recordings of Stage Plays for Educators

Tips for Connecting to Campus

If you’re traveling out of town, or just need to connect to campus from home, we have some tips for keeping connected with ease. 

  1. Download and install the UIS VPN client from vpn.uis.edu.
    The university Virtual Private Network (VPN) is free for anyone with a NetID and enables individuals to secure their Internet connection back to the university while using public Wi-Fi such as coffee shops or at conferences. By using the VPN, you are securing yourself from misconfigurations on these public networks and malicious behavior by others on that same wireless network.
  2. Once you install VPN, be sure to set up your on-campus computer for remote access, too!
  3. Move the files you’re working on to Box for easy access from any location. Download Box Sync to make the process quick and easy. 

For additional help with the VPN client, remote desktop access, or Box, contact ITS.

How to Add Files to a Content Area in Blackboard

Files can be uploaded from a local drive or the course itself, and can be documents, spreadsheets, Powerpoints, etc.

  1. Choose the Course Area to which you would like to add a file and click on it. (For example, Course Materials.)
  2. Click Build Content.
  3. Choose Item from the drop down menu.
  4. Enter a name for the file and and explanatory text as desired.
  5. Under Attachments, click Browse in order to attach a file.
  6. Once the file is selected, you will see it listed under Attached files. You can add additional documents by clicking on Browse for more items.
  7. Select the Options as desired:
    • Select Permit Users to View this Content if you want students to see the file immediately once it is uploaded.
    • Optionally select dates and times the document will appear to students.
  8. Click Submit.

How to Email your Students through Blackboard

The email tool allows you to send email to other people in your course without launching a separate email program. You can send email to individual users or to groups of users.

Blackboard keeps no record of your email, whether you send or receive it. Any email you receive from Blackboard appears in your UIS email inbox. Keep a copy of important messages in case you need them at a later date.

You can send email to these users:

  • All Users: All users in your course
  • All Groups: All groups in your course
  • All Student Users: All students in your course
  • All Teaching Assistant Users: All teaching assistants in your course
  • All Instructor Users: All instructors in your course
  • Select Users: Select the users from a list
  • Select Groups: Select groups from a list

Note: Recipients of each email won’t see the email addresses of other recipients.

  1. You can find the Blackboard email tool in these areas:
    • On the course menu, select Tools > Send Email.
    • On the Control Panel, select Course Tools > Send Email.
  2. On the Send Email page, select a link, such as All Users.
  3. For Select Users or Select Groups, select the recipients in the Available to Select box and select the right-pointing arrow to move them into the Selected box. Use the left-pointing arrow to move a user out of the recipient list. Select Invert Selection to select users whose names aren’t highlighted, and deselect users whose names are highlighted.

    Note: To select multiple users in a list on a Windows computer, press the Shift key and select the first and last users. To select users out of sequence, press the Ctrl key and select each user needed. On a Mac, press the Command key instead of the Ctrl key. You can also use the Select All function to send an email to all users.

  4. Type your Subject. Your message won’t be delivered without a subject.
  5. Type a Message.
  6. Select Attach a file to browse for a file from your computer. You can attach multiple files to your message.
  7. Select Submit.

This post contains content adapted from Blackboard Help.

The benefits of making content accessible for UDL and UX

I have a wonderful team of student workers who do remediation of documents and video captioning. Recently two examples of their angst as students, highlighted the benefits of thinking about user experience and universal design for learning by making content accessible.

One of my students has a second job, and at that job she is allowed to quietly do online homework. This means she can watch captioned videos only. For one class, she was required to watch around 20 hours of video, however it didn’t have captions, not even auto generated captions. For a student who has personally captioned several hundred hours of video, she was more than a little upset with her professor. She is just trying to make the most of her time, and do her assignments, not having captions impeded that.

Another student, sent me a message the other day that she could not highlight some text in a pdf to copy to her notes. She’s working on a paper and thought a few sentences from the required reading really nailed the point. I knew that the pdf had not had any accessibility work done, so I told her to download it, go through the first few steps of making it accessible, and then copy the required quote, which worked.

In both these cases the students don’t need the files to be accessible because they have a a physical, learning or cognitive disability. They are used to files working a certain way because they do this work at least 20 hours a week, and they are busy people. In their attempts to do their real work, as students, they were inhibited from learning. Yes, accessibility certainly benefits students who may have a hearing or visual impairment. However, if we make content accessible, universally design our classes for all learners, and think about the user experience it will benefit all our students.

Script it and forget it.

This is my 37th blog post, and my 8th on videos. I have talked about evidence based video lengths, correcting captions on YouTube videos you don’t control, audio descriptions, captioning, and getting a clean transcript from a caption file. Today I’d like to write about how to improve the overall quality of a video, and the answer is scripting.

I have worked on, and sat through many videos which are, to a certain extent, improv. This means that the creator sat down cold, and began recording all in one sitting. The video portion could have a talking head, or a PowerPoint, a screen recording, a drawing, or even show some sort of event or chemical reaction. In a video like this there could be a lot of filler words like um, ah, ok, a… Or perhaps there are interjections based on occurrences during the recording such as running out of ink, trying to find the proper tab for a function in the software, or yelling at someone in the house that the laundry is upstairs. For the student this can be distracting. And for those of us who don’t like hearing our own voices in a recording, it can make us cringe even more to hear, in our own voice, “someone let the dog out, um ah, where was I?”

An effective way to decrease these instances is to write a script for the video. Take the time to write down what you plan to say. Edit it a few times. And then read the script during the recording. Depending on your setup, you may want to print it out or have it displayed on an extra monitor. I recommend increasing the font size so it is easier to read as well. Doing this will decrease the ums, ahs, and oks. It cannot prevent a barking dog, but it can allow you to scrap the recording with the barking dog, and not worry about where you were to say what you meant to say. It will also give you an initial transcript of the video. Depending on how you are captioning your videos, you might also be able to upload the transcript and allow your video hosting platform to sync it.

View Your Class List

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.

To Enter Grades in the Enterprise system:

  1. Go to the Enterprise Self-Service system.
  2. Click on UIS.
  3. Login with your UIS NetID and Password. This is the same information that you use to log into UIS Webmail.
  4. Click on the Faculty & Advisor Services tab across the top of the page.
  5. Then click on the Faculty Services link.
  6. Click on Class List – Summary to view your class roster in a condensed format.
  7. Select the desired Term from the drop down menu and click Submit.
  8. Select the desired CRN (course reference number) from the drop down menu and click Submit.
  9. To view a class list for another section that you are teaching, click on Select a Term & CRN or Select a CRN from the bottom of the page.

How to add an .srt captions file to media in Blackboard

To upload an .srt file in Blackboard, goto My Media.  Next to the video you would like to add captions to, click the greyed out pencil highlighted below with the red arrow.

Screenshot of My Media showing greyed pen to click to edit media

You will then be on a screen with 9 options below your video, one of them is captions.  Click captions

screenshot showing details through replace video in media edit screen

You will now see a blue button on the far left, “upload caption file”, click it.

screenshot showing upload captions button

Then a new box will pop up.  Browse for the file.  Select the language.  And give it a label.  If the language is English, “English” would be a good label.  Then click save.

screenshot showing upload a captions file

The digital world isn’t full of color for everyone

Recently I saw a post on Facebook with a blue circle, with a barely lighter blue rhino in it.  It equated intelligence with the ability to see the rhino.  It made me think of the need to keep color in mind in our instructional materials.  Around 8% of men and 1% of women of Northern European descent are color blind.  And the older we get the more difficulty we all have with certain color combinations.  So it is important to think about this for our students, if you like to use color in your documents or presentations.  Below are some known color combinations which are highly problematic.

  • Green & Red
  • Green & Brown
  • Blue & Purple
  • Green & Blue
  • Light Green & Yellow
  • Blue & Grey
  • Green & Grey
  • Green & Black

This website by Giacomo Mazzocato or by WebAIM can give you an online color checking tool.  The Paciello Group Website has a downloadable piece of software for Mac and PC which you might also find useful. If you use lots of color, please check the contrast.

Employability Skills Rubrics

If you’ve been trying to identify employability skills’ rubrics, check out the resources below.

  • Association of American Colleges and Universities  VALUE Rubrics  – Consists of the following sixteen rubrics:
    • Intellectual and Practical Skills:  inquiry and analysis, critical thinking, creative thinking, written communication, oral communication, reading, quantitative literacy, information literacy, teamwork, and problem-solving
    • Personal and Social Responsibility:  civic engagement, intercultural knowledge and competence, ethical reasoning, foundations and skills for lifelong learning, global learning
    • Integrative and Applied Learning: integrative learning
  • Emerging EdTech 21st Century Assessments Rubric -By creating assignments that earn high scores on this rubric, you can provide opportunities for students to develop and master the skills that are increasingly necessary to excel in today’s increasingly digital world while demonstrating acquisition of the required outcomes in many different types of courses.  Criteria categories include:
    • choice, flexibility, writing required, inquiry-based learning, real-world connection, collaboration, digital literacy, entrepreneurial skills, and mastery learning.
  • ConnectEd Studios Rubrics Bank – You’ll need to establish a free account to access the rubrics bank.  Sample rubrics you might be interested in include teamwork, group skills, and digital communication to name a few.

Promoting Learner Professionalism

The Leadership Development Center at York College conducted a national professionalism study, which identified key professionalism components spanning across industries and occupations.  In the 2015 report, respondents ranked seven responsible parties according to how responsible they felt each should be in developing professionalism in college graduates.  Students themselves were ranked number one and were followed by faculty ranking number two.  The report also describes the qualities of professionalism and unprofessionalism.   This list of qualities could be used for developing learner expectations for your course and allow various opportunities for practice in adopting professional attitudes and behaviors prior to graduation.  Adapt ideas from this learning activity to help your learners improve in professionalism behavior and attitudes.

Image of a bar graph ranking responsible parties for developing professionalism in college. The ranking for most responsible is students themselves, faculty, Career Development office, Parents, Employers, Other College Offices, Alumni.

Leadership Development Center, 2015 National Professionalism Study

The National Career Clusters Framework

The National Career Clusters Framework consists of 16 Career Clusters, represents more than 79 Career Pathways, and includes knowledge and skills statements.  Use the framework as an organizing tool for comprehensive understanding and to guide curriculum design with the purpose of bridging secondary and postsecondary curriculum.  A new proposed sustainability/green category is also available with Green/Sustainability Knowledge and Skill Statements and tools and references to aid in the instruction of the Green and Sustainability Standards.   As a reminder, Career Ready Practices should be applied throughout the continuum of learning.

The Illinois Career Clusters, Pathways and Programs of Study complements The National Career Clusters Framework and serves as a resource in understanding Illinois’ adoption of the National Career Cluster Framework.

Image of the Illinois Career Clusters Framework outlining the five CTE secondary areas, 16 career clusters and 79 career pathways.

Illinois Career Clusters Framework

ACT WorkKeys Competencies

Explore the ACT WorkKeys Assessment information developed to measure foundational hard and soft skills relevant to any occupation, at any level, and across industries.  Each assessment has characteristics and skills divided into seven levels of difficulty.  Use the information to explore ideas for developing or enhancing learning activities.

Relevant Categories:

  • Graphic Literacy – Use charts, graphs and diagrams for identifying what information is being presented and understanding how to use it.
  • Workplace Documents – Be creative and incorporate readings that reflect real workplace documents.  Learners can gather information from the documents to make job-related decisions and solve problems. Sample documents can include messages, emails, letters, directions, signs, bulletins, policies, websites, contracts, and regulations.
  • Business Writing – Assess learning activities in the context of workplace writing needs.  Content needs to be clear and free of distractions such as poor grammar, misspellings, and extraneous information. Explain to learners how careless errors may lead the reader (e.g. customer, supervisor etc.) to believe other errors may exist in terms of facts, resulting in the writer (or employee) losing credibility and trustworthiness.
  • Workplace Observation – Provide opportunities for learners to observe, follow, understand, and evaluate processes, demonstrations, and other workplace procedures.
  • Fit – Help learners identify interests and values compatible with a work environment conducive for job success.  
  • Talent – Develop activities to increase awareness of a student’s attitude or behavior, that if demonstrated in the workplace, could lead to disciplinary action or termination.  Provide opportunities for growth and feedback.

Degree Qualifications Profile

The Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) outlines a set of reference points for what students should know and be able to do upon completion of an associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees – in any field of study. The are five broad, interrelated categories of proficiencies which provide a profile of what degrees mean in terms of specific learning outcomes.

The DQP’s five categories of learning:

Image of the Degree Qualifications Profile outlining the Associate Bachelor's and Master's degree levels and the caregories of learning including specialized knowledge, broad and integrative knowledge, intellectual skills, applied and collaborative learning and civic and global learning.

  1. Specialized Knowledge
  2. Broad and Integrative Knowledge
  3. Intellectual Skills (analytic inquiry, use of information resources, engaging diverse perspectives, ethical reasoning, quantitative fluency and communicative fluency)
  4. Applied and Collaborative Learning
  5. Civic and Global Learning
Supplemental Resources:
  • Resource Kit (e.g. integrated learning frameworks, course-embedded assignments, assessment, rubrics, capstone portfolios etc.)
  • Assignment Library (browse and adapt assignments to your needs)
  • Implementation Resources
    • Tuning Impact Study: Developing Faculty Consensus to Strengthen Student Learning
    • Roadmap to Enhanced Student Learning, Implementing the DQP and Tuning
    • Tuning: A Guide for Creating Discipline Specific Frameworks to Foster Meaningful Change
    • DQP Impact Study: Framing and Connecting Initiatives to Strengthen Student Learning
    • Using the Degree Qualifications Profile
    • And more

 

NC-NET Employability Skills Resource Toolkit

The North Carolina Network for Excellence in Teaching developed an Employability Skills Resource Toolkit comprised of eight modules for faculty to use for integrating employability skills across the curriculum.  Use the modules to introduce a topic or adapt for course-specific content. Each module contains instructional materials with course lessons and learning objectives, questions for reflection and discussion, student handouts, assessment rubrics, facilitator notes and annotated presentation slides.

Module Topics:

  1. Interpersonal Skills and Teamwork
  2. Communications
  3. Integrity and Professionalism
  4. Problem Solving and Decision Making
  5. Initiative and Dependability
  6. Information Processing
  7. Adaptability and Lifelong Learning
  8. Entrepreneurship

The Rigor Relevance Framework

The Rigor Relevance Framework was developed by the International Center for Leadership in Education to examine curriculum, instruction, and assessment along the two dimensions of higher standards and student achievement.  The tool can be used for both instruction and assessment.

  • The Knowledge Taxonomy (y-axis) based on Bloom’s Taxonomy
    • Six level – thinking continuum
  • Application Model  (x-axis), developed by Bill Daggett
    • Five level –  knowledge continuum
    • Includes using knowledge to solve complex, real-world problems and create projects, designs, and other works for use in real-world situations.
  • Supplemental Resource: Handbook with Instructional Activities Checklist

Image of the Rigor Relevance Framework with y-axis prepresenting the Knowledge Taxonomy based on Bloom's Taxonomy and the x-axis representing Bill Daggett's Application Model.

The Rigor Relevance Framework, International Center for Leadership in Education

Last Access Date in Blackboard Not Accurate

As of January 2017, the “Last Access” Column in Blackboard’s Grade Center and Performance Dashboard is not accurately reflecting student activity.

In the example below, all the students have posted to the discussion board and two have submitted quizzes, yet only two of the students have a date in the “Last Access column in the Grade Center or Performance Dashboard.

Screen capture of Grade Center with inaccurate "last access" dates.

ITS cannot install the update to fix this issue until after the Spring 2017 semester ends. Thus, for reporting the date of last attendance for students earning a grade of F, faculty will need to run a report to get accurate dates for last student access.

Retrieving Accurate Student Course Access Data

You can retrieve accurate data on your students’ course access by running the Course Activity Overview report.

In your course, go to Control Panel and click on Evaluation > Course Reports. Select the report you wish to run:

  • Course Activity Overview – gives you 2 graphs. One shows the hours of aggregated user activity by day. The second shows the number of hours each student has spent in the course; if you click on the bar for any student, it will show you the hours the student spends in the course each day and the time spent in the activities in the course.
  • Overall Summary of User Activity – gives you charts with summary data for all students on areas of access and time of day access, plus a table with the individual number of times students accessed the course each day.

View specific instructions on running course reports.

About Unavailable Tests and Surveys

You manage availability to students when a test or survey is deployed on in a content area of your course (e.g., Course Materials or Assignments), by click on the “item options” button Blackboard editi item button on the Test Options or Survey Options page.

Unavailable and deleted tests and surveys differ in the following ways:

  • Unavailable tests and surveys deployed in a content area do not appear to students. When Edit Mode is ON, instructors and course builders can see unavailable tests.
    • You can limit test and survey availability to a specific time period with the Display After and Display Until dates and times. If the link to a test or survey is available, but neither date is set, it is immediately and always available.
  • If you delete a test or survey from a content area in your course, it is removed from that location. You can deploy it again as needed. You can deploy each test and survey in one location only.
  • If you delete a test or survey from the tests or surveys tool pages, it is permanently deleted from your course. This is irreversible. You can access the tests and surveys tools in the Course Tools section of the Control Panel.

Accessing Moodle at UIS

UIS maintains an instance of Moodle for faculty and staff use at https://uistraining1.uis.edu/login/index.php

If you have a UIS NetID, you may access the Moodle site by click on the “Continue” button on the right side of the Moodle home page.

If you are a guest user of the Moodle system, your UIS contact will send you instructions for accessing the site.