Recent Posts

USB Mic Comparison

Would you agree that bad audio can ruin a good video, presentation, or recording? Most certainly. A few months back, we identified tools for recording interview audio on the go. Today, we’ll listen to and compare five USB microphones, illustrate their uses in online instruction, and identify a few principles that will help us get the best results. Why can’t I use a headset microphone? For web conference purposes, a headset microphone will suffice, but not for much else. Reason being? Bit Depth and Sample Rate. Combined, Bit Depth and Sample Rate are the principles at play when digitally capturing


Best Practices for Synchronous Sessions

Introduction You’ve built engagement into every corner of your online course. You’ve got ways for students to interact with you, the instructor, through video and audio, assignment feedback, and discussion posts. Students interact with each other in large group discussions and small group projects. Don’t stop there! Even with a robust engagement strategy in place, some students in online programs may still feel disconnected from their instructors. One way to combat this is through the use of synchronous sessions. I know what you’re thinking. How will working students have the time to join a sync session every week? It is


Reimagining the 5 W’s: Online Course Quality and Alignment

  Introduction At Northwestern, we ascribe to extremely high educational quality standards, and this of course extends to the online courses and programs we design, implement, and maintain for graduate and undergraduate adult learners. But, what does a quality online course look like? How do we define and measure quality? Those are both tough questions that we regularly ask ourselves as we design and develop online courses. To answer these questions, let’s consider them through the lens of the Quality Matters (QM) standards. Quality Matters Standards and Alignment The Northwestern University Distance Learning department uses the QM Standards to ensure


TEACHx 2017 Reflections

Last month, many members of the Distance Learning team attended and presented at Northwestern’s annual TEACHx conference. The conference highlights innovative uses of technology in education, and with most presentations lasting from 15-30 minutes, there’s a lot to see and learn! Here’s a sample of some of the most memorable, insightful, and valuable things we experienced at TEACHx. Elizabeth Lemke Marcia Chatelain, the afternoon keynote speaker, was inspiring and refreshing, to say the least. In addition to the many sessions where faculty and staff shared innovative teaching and learning experiences, there is a conversation that should always be going on,


Best Practices for Communicating With Students in Online Classes

Introduction A recent SPS student satisfaction study asked students to identify ways their academic program could be enhanced. Numerous students suggested making improvements to instructor-student communication and engagement. I know what you’re thinking. Communication should be easy! With digital tools to connect students and instructors, shouldn’t this come naturally? Actually, communication with students in online classes needs to be frequent, intentional, and multifaceted. As an online instructor, you will need to actively combat distance and silence to make meaningful connections with your students. Read on to discover tools and strategies that can make the process easier. Make sure your contact