Recent Posts

Nine Week Assessment Alternatives

At Northwestern, our 10 week terms are already fast-paced. So what happens when the term is shortened by a week, and you have only nine weeks to accomplish your goals as an instructor? How do you decide which content to combine, alter, or even remove? This short guide will outline a few strategies you can consider to modify your course activities, assessment, and content to meet students’ needs within a constrained timeframe. Download a copy of the Nine Week Assessment Alternatives tip sheet. Pre-Work, Examples, and Best Practices What is pre-work? Pre-work is exactly what you think it is. It

Discussion Boards: Add Variety and Stir.

Why Use Discussion Boards? Discussion boards are a commonly-used strategy to encourage engagement in an online class. But how do you keep discussions fresh?  How might you add variety to the discussion boards in your class? We have 5 tips to share with you: 1. Ask students to end their initial response with a question for their peers. This approach opens up the discussion. When a student reads through the discussion board, there are a variety of questions/discussions to engage in, which creates a richer experience for everyone. The goal of this strategy is to help students consider more topics

Distance Learning Blog Re-launched

We’ve stepped away from this blog for a while, we admit it! Prior to the pandemic, our department, the Office of Distance Learning, had seen an increased workload as School of Professional Studies expanded its course and program offerings. With Northwestern’s move to exclusively online learning last spring, we found ourselves busier than ever supporting faculty in our own school and throughout the university. Now that things have more or less settled to a “new normal” (or, hopefully, just a “steady state for now”), we are ready to turn our attention back to this blog and re-engage in an exchange

Assessing OER for Accessibility

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are often praised for being more accessible than standard textbooks. In this context, accessibility often refers to low or no costs, or to how students can obtain the resource just by clicking a link. But accessibility also has another meaning: can disabled people access the resource? And in this sense, OERs are no better than the competition. According to UDL on Campus, a 2011 survey of OER textbooks found that nearly half the web-based textbooks (42%) had significant accessibility problems. And of the PDF textbooks, none were accessible to disabled users. This is a tremendous concern.

Register for TEACHx 2019!

It’s time for TEACHx 2019—Northwestern’s symposium celebrating teaching, learning and technology. This year the TEACHx theme is student-centered learning. Come learn with your peers as they share their experiences with changing up their teaching. The day bring together instructors, students, learning designers, and technology specialists to make connections and begin collaborations. Register now and learn more about this special day. SPS staff and teachers will be presenting, so please join us!