Upcoming Quality Matters Webinars – Free to Attend

qm-logoFaculty who are interested in learning more about the Quality Matters system of course design and the Quality Matters standards for online courses are encouraged to register for a free Quality Matters Success Stories webinar to view on their own.

Their webinar schedule is listed below. Seats are limited, register today!

What to Do When We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know: Lessons Learned from QM Rookies

It’s hard to know what to do when we don’t know what we don’t know about implementing and maintaining Quality Matters at our institutions. Join three QM rookies for this discussion on implementation and sustainability of QM at their respective institutions. The presenters will share innovative ways to implement and maintain QM through best practices and life lessons.

Date & Time Registration Link
Weds. May 10th, 12:00 PM (Central) https://www.qmprogram.org/qmresources/registration/index.cfm?sid=8977

The QM K-12 Rubric as a Course Development Roadmap

In this session we will explore strategies for applying the QM K-12 Rubric to the process of online course development. See how the development team at Michigan Virtual School used the QM K-12 Rubric and Annotations to increase course quality and development efficiency. First, we will present a process for developing institutional best practices by closely studying each Standard. Next, we will look at how to apply these practices to the development of course and lesson templates. Sample templates will be provided and participants will be encouraged to share their own best practices.

DATE & TIME REGISTRATION LINK
Wed. July 19th, 12:00 PM (Central) https://www.qmprogram.org/qmresources/registration/index.cfm?sid=9173

5 Ways to Make Your Online Classrooms More Interactive

Faculty Focus | Higher Ed Teaching & Learning

By: Amy Peterson

The convenience and flexibility of the online learning environment allows learners to develop new skills and further their education, regardless of where they live. However, for all of its benefits, online learning can sometimes feel isolating for students and faculty. The question is: how do you build a sense of community in your online courses? One approach involves cultivating more interaction—between you and your students and among the students themselves. Here are five practical tips for increasing the human connection in your online classrooms.

1. Integrate real-time interaction

college student sitting outside with laptopWhen online courses are completely asynchronous, there is often limited interaction between you and your students and class members with each other. Consider, for example, that real-time conversations don’t occur during a video lecture, when you post announcements, or when students post on a discussion board. That lag in response time kills the momentum of a back-and-forth discussion and can sometimes lead to misunderstandings.

Integrating opportunities for real-time interaction into your online course can help change that and develop a sense of community in a course. Consider how impromptu conversations outside the traditional classroom forge relationships, clarify ideas, and spark new insights. You can facilitate these interactions by setting up opportunities for class members to meet online synchronously both formally and informally. Using web conferencing applications, you can create a variety of synchronous interaction opportunities, such as office hours, small group discussions, whole class discussions, and study groups.

2. Get creative with discussion boards

Discussion boards have long been the communication staple for online courses, but there are ways you can make this experience more interactive for much wider and deeper participation. In a traditional classroom, it’s common for only a small percentage of students to participate in discussion. In an online environment, you can structure your discussions so that everyone contributes, plus they’ll have more time to consider what they want to say before responding. Class size helps determine how you organize discussions. In a larger class of, say, 100 students, you can set up smaller discussion groups of 20 or so people so that students can get to know their fellow classmates. You can also create even smaller groups (5-7 people) for more intimate interaction, and rotate these groups to expand interactions. This approach also works with smaller class sizes.

One technique that fosters richer dialogue is creating discussion prompts that are open ended, such as requiring students to provide examples or asking them to interpret a concept from a variety of perspectives. You could also set up student-facilitated discussion opportunities where students craft the discussion prompt and guide the ensuing dialogue.

3. Maximize engagement with non-task interaction

Non-task interactions are those exchanges that are not part of the direct learning, but help create a supportive learning community. You can facilitate these types of interactions by leveraging the social networking capabilities that are available in many learning management systems, such as chat and web conferencing. Using the group functionality, students can create special interest groups or study groups. If your LMS doesn’t have the functionality to support a social network, you can still create one with a private Facebook page or one of the many group messaging apps available, such as Telegram and Slack.

information overload computer keyOf important note, academic social networks require planning and ongoing maintenance. The value of the social network needs to be explicit before it will become a common destination. Many schools begin by asking students to create bios and add profile pictures, but these activities alone will not encourage students to keep coming back to the network. Techniques for transforming the social network into a destination include frequently updating content (on a weekly or if possible daily basis) and incorporating contributions to the social network into classes (e.g. using the social network tools for group work; asking students to post their discussion contributions into their social network feed).

4. Use multiple communication tools

You’re not alone in wanting to increase and enhance student engagement and interaction. For example, schools can create a program-wide social network that allows students to continue their relationships with other students from course to course. Within this private social network, the administrators and support staff can use direct messages, announcements, and live events to enhance student engagement in the program.

This sort of institutional support is not necessary, however, for your class to be interactive. In addition to external social networking tools, such as Facebook, Telegram, Slack, and WhatsApp, students can meet each other in real time on Skype and Google Hangouts. Preprogrammed communication, such as introductory videos, content presentation, and email, are still important components of online learning, but student interaction can take the learning further, faster.

5. Have a plan around the tool

A tech tool is only as good as you the way you use it from a pedagogical perspective. When you move a face-to-face course online, or create an online course from scratch, consider how interaction will support the learning goals in your course. By enhancing the opportunities for interaction in your online classrooms, you can take an already powerful learning opportunity to the next level for all of your students.

Amy Peterson is senior vice president of course design, development and academic research at Pearson. She has more than 15 years of experience developing online and hybrid courses and learning experiences for dozens of universities and colleges.

Authentic Assessments within Blackboard Learn Webinar

Assessing Learners: Authentic assessments within Blackboard Learn

Webinar Description: During this session, Misty Cobb, a Solutions Engineer at Blackboard, will share answers to frequently asked questions and best practices about creating authentic assessments within Blackboard Learn. Then, she, along with a few Blackboard users, will answer your questions about assessing learners live.

Presenter: Misty Cobb, Solutions Engineer, Blackboard
Location: Web Conferencing using Blackboard Collaborate
Date: 4/21/2014 12:00:00 PM (Central Time (US & Canada))
Capacity: 1000
Duration: 1 hour

View this webinar at the Downtown Campus M201A!

Click here to reserve your seat!

Creating Your Blackboard Course: A 3 Step Approach

Creating your Blackboard Course: 3 Step Approach Webinar

Webinar Description: Setting up a quality course in Blackboard Learn is as easy as 1, 2, 3!  In this webinar, we will discuss simple ways in which faculty can easily transform their empty Blackboard shells into a student-centered environment.  This process involves identifying your course tools, organizing the course menu, and standardizing your learning module format.

Presenter: Jessica Rosazza Williams, Distance Learning Specialist/Course Designer and Part-time Faculty, Central New Mexico Community College
Location: Web Conferencing using Blackboard Collaborate
Date: 4/07/2014 12:00:00 PM (Central Time (US & Canada))
Capacity: 1000
Duration: 1 hour

View this webinar at the Downtown Campus M201A!

Click here to reserve your seat!