[WEBINAR] Creating a connection with students in online courses

 

Connecting with students in a fully online course

Innovations in Integrations Webinars

Connecting with students presents a unique challenge to fully online instructors. Join us for this next innovations in integrations webinar as Professor Rego shares best practices to overcome this obstacle by using the NBC Learn integration with Blackboard for a picture-perfect student engagement experience.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017, at 1:00 pm Central 
Presenter: Rodolfo Rego
Digital Instructor
Florida International University
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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.

Discouraging Cheating in Online Tests

In online courses, where a student completes a test off-campus without instructor supervision, online tests must be considered as open-book tests because students often have access to a wide variety of information resources. Furthermore, students with a mobile device would still be able to take pictures of the test questions as displayed on the computer monitor.

Although instructors may enable Respondus Lockdown Browser protections on a test in Blackboard to prevent students from printing a test, this software is meant to be used in proctored classroom environments only.

Faculty concerned about cheating in online testing are encouraged to consider these more effective countermeasures when creating their tests in Blackboard:

  • Create a large pool of test questions (100 or more) and design the test to pull random questions from the pool. That way, no two students will have the same test questions or questions in the same order.
  • When deploying a test to a course, select the “Set Timer” and “Auto-Submit” options to limit the amount of time students have to complete the test once opened. Once the test session reaches its end, the student’s test attempt will automatically submit itself.  This technique assumes that students who are prepared for the test will be able to complete it within the constraints of the timed session, but please remember to advise students of the time restraints so that they may plan accordingly.
  • To discourage students who have completed a test from sharing correct answers with classmates who have not taken the test, set the test’s feedback options to display only the student’s test score after submission.  After all students have been graded, you may edit the test’s Test Options to show students their submitted answers, correct answers, and feedback.
  • Update or add new test questions to your pools each time you teach the course so that your tests will be different each year. This is an important countermeasure to students sharing the test questions and answers that they recall from memory with new students.

To review how to build a test in Blackboard, watch the videos in this training playlist

Teaching Live Online: Wherever the Students Are!

Blackboard Inc.

Students and Educators everywhere are hungry to learn. Teaching and Learning online can seem simple. As we have observed and learned, without good professional development teachers struggle and students stumble with online learning. A good foundation for applying sound pedagogy in the online environment yields amazing results, engaged students and inspired teachers. by Blackboard Inc.

Published on Oct 26, 2015

Upcoming Webinars: Tips for Testing Website Accessibility, Creating Accessible Online Courses, & More

 

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Upcoming Webinars: Tips for Testing Website Accessibility, Creating Accessible Online Courses, & More
Over the next few months, we will be holding several webinars that will provide tips for creating accessible online content. You can register using the links below to learn about testing for website accessibility, creating accessible online course content, understanding closed captioning standards, implementing universal design, making lecture capture accessible, and developing workflows for closed captioning.
3Play Media | Upcoming Webinars
11 ½ Free Tools for Testing Website Accessibility11 ½ Free Tools for Testing Website Accessibility
Thursday, October 1, 1pm CT

In this webinar, David Berman, the #1 rated speaker on the topic of web accessibility standards as well as an international expert in the field, will share with you the best tools his team uses when auditing and testing websites and documents. Having an excellent test regimen is a crucial part of online accessibility, and David has found the best tools to fit your workflow, platforms, and competencies… so you don’t have to!
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10 Tips for Creating Accessible Online Course Content10 Tips for Creating Accessible Online Course Content
Thursday, October 8, 1pm CT

With recent lawsuits in higher education and updates to Section 508 on the horizon, it is more important than ever that online learning content be made accessible to students with disabilities. In this webinar, Janet Sylvia, Web Accessibility Group Leader and Web Accessibility Trainer, will provide you with 10 tips for making your online course material accessible.
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Understanding Closed Captioning Standards and GuidelinesUnderstanding Closed Captioning Standards and Guidelines
Thursday, October 22, 1pm CT

In this webinar, Jason Stark from the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) and Cindy Camp from Pepnet 2 will go over DCMP’s captioning guidelines and preferred techniques that will help you produce captions that are accurate, consistent, clear, readable, and equal.
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Implementing Universal and Inclusive Design for Online Learning AccessibilityImplementing Universal and Inclusive Design for Online Learning Accessibility
Thursday, November 5, 1pm CT

This webinar will discuss how the principles of universal and inclusive design can be applied to the online learning environment, with a particular focus on the accessibility of course content and materials.
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How to Implement Accessible Lecture CaptureHow to Implement Accessible Lecture Capture
Thursday, December 3, 1pm CT

In this webinar, Christopher Soran, the Interim eLearning Director at Tacoma Community College, along with Ari Bixhorn from Panopto and Lily Bond from 3Play Media, will discuss how you can implement accessible lecture capture at your university. Looking at Tacoma’s workflow, they will walk you through an efficient, cost-effective way to manage closed captioning for lecture capture at a university level.
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Quick Start to CaptioningQuick Start to Captioning
Thursday, December 10, 1pm CT

Watch this webinar to learn the basics of how to add closed captions to online video to make it fully accessible, searchable, and SEO-friendly. This webinar covers Section 508 and ADA accessibility compliance, creation of closed captions, explanation of caption formats and video player compatibility, as well as an overview of automated workflows and integration with lecture capture and video platforms.
Register Now >>