Author: Kristina Wilson

Rubrics: Set Expectations and Save Time

Do you use rubrics to assess learning in your course? Rubrics may not seem like the most exciting part of designing your course, but they’re still worth the time to develop!  Photo from Pixabay Why Rubrics?  Set Expectations: Rubrics provide students with clear guidelines to an assignment’s desired outcome and can make grading more transparent. By providing a rubric to students before they begin an assignment, the instructor offers them a roadmap to success. Rubrics aid the students’ learning process and help them improve the quality of their work.   Equity: Rubrics allow you to assess complex learning criteria consistently and

Synchronous Coworking: A Practice for Asynchronous Online Courses

What is virtual synchronous coworking? Rising in popularity, it’s as simple as creating an online space to work together in real-time. In addition to my work as a Learning Designer in the School of Professional Studies at Northwestern, I’m a coworking streamer on Twitch! I’m excited to share some background behind the practice and how it may be implemented by instructors as a means of engagement for students in online courses.  What is Coworking?  Let’s start with a quick overview. As students pursue more online and blended coursework and more professionals choose work-from-home and hybrid options, they seek community and

Well, Hi! How to begin your course with a warm, welcoming tone.

Here’s a blog post just in time for the winter quarter… In an online course, first impressions matter. The first week of the term—and the few weeks before your course begins—may be the most critical as you welcome students to your course and begin building a learning community.  It is easy for this part of your course to be quiet and still. Since students haven’t started participating yet, you haven’t started chatting in the discussions or giving feedback on assignments. However, there’s no need to wait—you can get the conversation started early.  A warm welcome can help build excitement, establish

Prior Learning Assessment Strategies at the Course Level

Defining Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is an approach to Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) that allows institutions of higher learning to “evaluate and formally recognize learning that has occurred outside of the traditional academic environment. It is used to grant college credit, certification, or advanced standing toward further education or training.”  PLA strategies vary between different universities and colleges, but may include awarding credit for military and professional experiences, Course Match PLA Projects, exams such as College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) exams, professional licensures or certifications, and open-source learning opportunities such as MOOCs (massively open online courses). 

Applying Twitch Streamers’ Engagement Strategies to Synchronous Online Learning

Context  Early in 2022, a friend told me he was going to start streaming on Twitch and asked if I would join to watch and chat. I knew little about Twitch, an online community for streaming video gameplay, and as I considered his request I wondered if there could be a place for me in this space. Frankly, I don’t play video games, and at first glance, most streamers appeared to be men with a focus on fighting and shooting games.   However, I logged in to amusedly watch my friend play long-distance trucking and city-building games and, curious, found