Tag: tips and tricks

Uncomplicating Alt-Text for Complex Images

Including alt-text on images is one of the most basic requirements for web accessibility. Alt-text is a brief description of the information conveyed by the image and allows blind and low-vision users to fully engage with all content on a web page. For simple images, writing alt-text is easy. An image of the Chicago skyline, for example, could have alt-text reading “The Chicago downtown skyline, which includes the Willis Tower and Hancock building, at sunrise.” Pretty straightforward, right? But in online education, not all images are so simple. When teaching courses on subjects such as global health, predictive analytics, or medical


Incorporating Current Events into Online Course Content

Because of Northwestern University’s quarter system, teaching the same course four times each year can start to feel repetitive! One way to keep your course up to date and interesting is to incorporate current events into your course content and facilitation. Current events can also be used to customize the course to each cohort’s interests and keep students up to date on the happenings in the field they want to work in. Below are four easy ways to incorporate current events into your online course. 1. Take advantage of the library’s E-Journal subscriptions. The library subscribes to 158,013 electronic journals!


Screencast Software: Using the Right Tool for the Job

Until recently, voice over Powerpoint has sufficed for home-based and low-budget creators when it comes to producing lecture videos, downloadable presentations, and animated demonstrations. The Microsoft software, while clunky, is familiar to most people, somewhat easy to use, and absolutely, positively, the wrong tool for the job.   Yes, you can add photos and upload videos to Powerpoint slides. You can add or record audio content onto slides. You can also insert animations to give the appearance of movement and flow. All these functions, while convenient, result in oversized output files, some of which are proprietary and which cannot be


Selecting a Video Style

What type of video should I make? If you arrived at this blog post hoping for a prescriptive answer to that question, you won’t find it here. Instead you will find a framework for including video in your online course, a framework to help you focus your course development efforts by narrowing the process of making a video down to three main sequences of events. Begin by identifying the need for a video solution The proliferation of video-enabled devices, as well as the tradition of capturing lecture for use in online courses, may have set up the expectation that you


Maximizing Your Synchronous Sessions – Part II: Agenda

In the School of Professional Studies, most students are busy adult professionals who have to carefully carve time out to focus on coursework. This post is part two of a series on how to make the most of synchronous time, or time when all students in the course and the instructor are online at the same time. Part I focused on technology: how to choose an appropriate web conferencing tool, provide connection information to students, and give students the opportunity to test the technology prior to the session. This post provides three strategies to assist you in planning a synchronous