In Part 1 of this series, Web 2.0 Digital Tools Selection Criteria, I shared a method for evaluating digital learning tools that may find their way into our online courses. In this continuation entry, I will demonstrate the method in action by discussing tools which I evaluated as part of my course work for Introduction to Online Presentation Tools. If you missed the last entry and want a quick catch up, the premise of the Web 2.0 Digital Tools Selection Criteria is to quickly evaluate proposed learning tools by measuring their user-friendliness against a thorough checklist which tests for: Accessibility,
Designing and assessing group projects that promote meaningful learning experiences in positive collaborative environments. While students may groan at the prospect of performing group work, positive group experiences have been shown to contribute to student learning, retention, and overall program success. By working in collaborative groups, students can exercise a host of professional skills that can they can apply in the real world and reinforce knowledge and skills that are relevant to your coursework and curriculum. For Faculty, one benefit is being able to assign more complex, authentic problems than you could to individuals. This may introduce more unpredictability in
Each year, Northwestern’s Office of Change Management hosts the Best Practices Forum, a one-day conference in which a wide range of faculty and staff present their recent successes in order to provoke positive change across the university. The event promotes collaboration between departments, and Provost Daniel Linzer provided a great illustration of that in his opening address, calling Northwestern a “uni—one—versity.” Content Editor Christine Scherer and Learning Designer Krissy Wilson attended the 2016 Best Practices Forum as representatives for the School of Professional Studies Distance Learning group, and identified these Top 5 Best Practices for online course developers and instructors.
Northwestern Information Technology recently introduced Blue Jeans, a web conferencing platform that integrates with Canvas. Blue Jeans is now available in all Canvas sites at Northwestern. Faculty in the School of Professional Studies can choose to either use BlueJeans or Adobe Connect for web conferencing, based on the needs of their course. The graphic below provides an overview of the differences between the two platforms: Adobe Connect does not have single sign-on automatic Canvas integration, but it does feature audio and video conferencing, computer and phone audio connection, a customizable layout, whiteboard and polling options, and file sharing. Conferences can be
Mary Bart of FacultyFocus.com posted an article about effective online group work techniques. Many students in SPS programs are working professionals who regularly work in collaborative environments. Many businesses benefit from the use of online technology to work in teams both locally and at a distance. For students enrolled in fully online courses at SPS, most peer interaction is online and computer mediated. Designing group activities and assignments for this environment will help students spend more time completing the assignment and less time configuring a collaboration infrastructure. Below are excerpts from Mary’s article with annotations to contextualize it for SPS