Teaching Tips (w/ a focus on technology)

The compiled teaching tips below are highlighted each week in the Center for Distance Learning’s teaching tips newlsetter. For comments on teaching tips, email Peggy Semingson (peggys@uta.edu) or Scott Massey (smassey@uta.edu).

Teaching Tips from weekly newsletter by the Center for Distance Education 

Tips below are written by Peggy Semingson, peggys@uta.edu, Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education

10/23/15

Teaching Tip: Weekly Overviews and Reminders for Students

Busy students appreciate email and Blackboard reminders about when assignments are due! Even if the same information is in the syllabus, it helps to send out a weekly email overview each Monday with tips and reminders for the course. Post your reminder emails in Blackboard Announcements, too.

Here are some more suggested items you can send in weekly emails to students:

  1. Remind students of what readings and assignments they should be doing that week.
  2. Provide brief bullet-point study tips and advice for doing well on major tasks, readings, and assignments.
  3. Provide links to any additional resources that will help support understanding of overarching concepts.
  4. Remind students to enter due dates into their mobile devices and/or print calendars.
  5. Use phrases like “friendly reminders” and “success tips” in the subject line of the email.
  6. Include a word of encouragement to students.

FINAL TIP: Save your weekly reminders and reuse/revise them in future semesters if you teach the same course again.

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

 

10/16/15

Teaching Tip: How Can I Engage My Students with Quality Content from YouTube?

Students can get burned out from reading text or being taught by lecture. Engage students by using YouTube videos in class and/or on Blackboard. Videos can provoke dialogue and help make connections to “real world” applications and problems.  Here are steps to getting started!

  1. Consider your course content and outcomes. Locate short YouTube clips (less than 5-6 minutes) to share in class or have students preview before class. Post the link(s) to Blackboard and email the video link to students. State a purpose for the video(s) and something specific for students to think about.
  1. For on-campus classes, you can weave the video into your class discussion and/or your lecture. You can also show a short and relevant clip during class for illustration or dialogue.
  1. For online or blended classes, students can discuss the video in small groups in the discussion board area on Blackboard or videos can be provided as additional content.
  1. Consider making your own video. Example: “Beginning Reading: Dialogue with Dr. Peggy Semingson and Dr. Jodi Tommerdahl”. https://youtu.be/qJA2qDcCFAc

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

 

10/30

Teaching Tip: Create an Avatar Version of Yourself

An avatar is a virtual or cartoon-like representation of yourself that has key features that look like you. There are apps where you can create an avatar version of yourself to use in Blackboard. Avatars can be used in lieu of a photo, or, in addition to a photo, to personalize your Blackboard space and to increase the “teacher presence” within a course. Try the free mobile app Bitmoji to get started! Here steps on how to make your own avatar:

  1.      Download the free mobile app Bitmoji (https://bitmoji.com/). Set up an account, create your personalized instructor avatar, and then use the many available themes to download the images of your avatar to your mobile device.
  2.      Upload the avatar as an image in various Blackboard spaces such as in conjunction with: Announcements, Course Content areas, Assignment areas, and with emails.
  3.      To make a cartoon version of yourself try the free app Sketch Master https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sketch-master-my-cartoon-photo/id547157012?mt=8.
  4.      For your PowerPoints or other presentation tools, insert an avatar image on the title slide and/or in the presentation slides, as appropriate.

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

 

11/6

Teaching Tip: Using your Mobile Device to Create Engaging Course Content

Professors are very busy people! With so many things to do, consider this #lifehack and time-saving tip of using your mobile device to create course content! Here are ways to use your smartphone to capture photos, audio, and video to email your students, post on Blackboard, or use in class!

  1. Use your phone to take a picture of yourself to post on Blackboard. You can use this for your Mentis profile picture, or syllabus picture. I also take pictures of landscapes and scenery around DFW to include in my course to make it look “local” for my online students to feel connected to the region. Examples: http://tinyurl.com/od6z8mu
  2. The video feature of your smartphone can used to record a short video to post to Blackboard or email to students. Examples: “reminder” videos (1-2 minutes) that nudge students along with assignments. You can also provide commentary on real world applications as they relate to your course content.
  3. Use the “voice memo” feature to record a short audio clip with reminders and tips for your students. Record a short memo or audio announcement, then email it to yourself.

Smartphones are great ways to save time in creating microcontent and microlearning opportunities! Students appreciate the outreach and effort!

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

 

11/13

Teaching Tip: Provide Sentence Prompts for Better Peer Feedback

Do your students work in pairs or small groups to provide peer feedback to each other? Peer feedback on work-in-progress is a great technique. One way to support students with providing substantive and thoughtful peer feedback, either in online courses or in face-to-face settings, is to provide suggested language prompts for them to use. Language prompts get students “jump started” in giving constructive and helpful feedback. Here are a few more tips:

  1. Let students know that the language prompts are suggestions that might help as they share ideas in partnerships or small groups.
  2. Post prompts in a designated area on Blackboard or display in class (e.g., on a PowerPoint slide in class and on a handout). Model these by providing a few examples of how the peer feedback could be done.
  3. Examples of peer feedback language prompts:
    1. “Strengths I see in your work include….”
    2. “An area you might consider strengthening is….”
    3. “Have you thoughts about doing ____ to strengthen your work?”

For a detailed infographic that draws on the RISE Model for meaningful feedback (reflect, inquire, suggest, elevate) see: http://www.risemodel.com/

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

 

Teaching Tip: Sharing your Thoughts with Students about the Required Textbooks

How does one encourage students to read the required textbook readings? A tip is to emphasize strongly to students how important the textbook readings are to their learning. One way is to write and also create a podcast memo about how vital the texts are to students’ understanding of course content.

  1. First, create a written memo that is about 1-2 paragraphs in length and post it to Blackboard Announcements and email it to students. An example memo is here: http://tinyurl.com/p8gm5nm
  2. Create a 2-5 minute podcast where you:
    1. Share an overview about each of the textbooks and why each is important.
    2. Provide suggested tips on reading the textbooks.
    3. Give encouragement to them as learners

An example of such an overview podcast is here: http://tinyurl.com/od8h2pw. I like using SoundCloud to host my podcasts. Upload up to three hours of streaming audio content for free.  I use my smartphone’s voice memo feature to record the podcast. Next, I email the recorded audio file to myself and then upload it to my SoundCloud channel. You can also upload it directly to Blackboard and email it to students along with the transcript.  Create an area in Blackboard called “Information about Textbooks” where you can post the recorded podcast and the transcript.

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

 

Teaching Tip: 11/20/15

Teaching Tip: Faculty-Focused YouTube Videos for Professional Development

Are you too busy to watch long videos about teaching? Improve your teaching with short teaching-focused YouTube videos! The University of Texas at Arlington’s Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence has a new YouTube channel with short videos that feature brief teaching tips, resources, and innovative faculty teaching practices. Check out the YouTube channel here: http://bit.ly/1Ngm1Gm

Recent featured videos include:

  1.     Engaging Students with Language Simulation: Interview with Dr. Jodi Tommerdahl https://youtu.be/jpoqfijuZZE
  2.     Engaging Students with Debate: Interview with Dr. Doug Klahr https://youtu.be/n-EA7H_VrZw
  3.     The Embedded Librarian in Your Course: ‘What, Why, and How’ with Gretchen Trkay https://youtu.be/k7RBsx2RxDE
  4.     Synchronous, Engaged Learning with Simulated Patients: Talking to Jenny Roye https://youtu.be/PlEtjOjQynU   
  5.     Why Does Technology Matter in Teaching? Four Educator Perspectives https://youtu.be/5QuaNLIqeZE

A faculty development blog focused on teaching and learning will launch in December! Email Peggy Semingson (peggys@uta.edu) if you are interested in guest blogging, either one-time or as a regular blogger. The focus of the blog will be on practical teaching tips as well as reflection on teaching and learning practices.

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

 

12/4/15

Teaching Tip: Sharing your Thoughts with Students about the Required Textbooks

Do your students read the required textbook readings? A tip is to emphasize strongly to students how important the textbook readings are to their learning. One way is to write and also create a podcast memo about how vital the texts are to students’ understanding of course content.

  1. Write a memo that is 2-4 paragraphs in length. An example is here: http://tinyurl.com/p8gm5nm
  2. Create a 3-5 minute podcast where you:
    1. Share an overview about each of the textbooks and why each is important to learning in the class and beyond.
    2. Provide specific tips on reading the textbooks.

An example of an overview podcast is here: http://tinyurl.com/od8h2pw. I use SoundCloud to stream my podcasts. You can upload up to three hours of streaming audio content for free on SoundCloud. MixCloud is free. Kaltura is built into Blackboard. I use my smartphone’s voice memo feature to record the podcast and email the recording to myself and upload it to my SoundCloud channel.

  1.               Create an area in Blackboard called “Information about Textbooks” to post the recorded podcast and the transcript. You can also email the information to students.

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

 

12/11/15

Teaching Tip: Do-it-Yourself Professional Development with Video Tutorials on Lynda.com   

Do you want to learn free practical tips for your teaching, research, and your career at UTA? Check out the wide variety of videos available through Lynda.com! UT Arlington has a paid subscription to the Lynda.com video collection for faculty and staff. To login to the website 24 hours a day, go to: uta.edu/lynda and login with your NetID and password. The videos are broken up into smaller segments so you can flexibly listen and/or watch them. There are accompanying digital easy-to-read handouts. You can create a “playlist” of videos to watch later. Here are a few playlists that will support faculty and staff in a variety of areas. Log in to Lynda.com (uta.edu/lynda) first in order to access the playlists.

  1.     Playlist of videos on “Learning to Teach Online”: http://www.lynda.com/MyPlaylists?playlistId=6447031
  2.     Playlist on “Teaching On-Campus Classes”: http://www.lynda.com/MyPlaylists?playlistId=6447098
  3.     Playlist on “Mentoring Graduate Students”: http://www.lynda.com/MyPlaylists?playlistId=6447203
  4.     Playlist on “Increasing Productivity”: http://www.lynda.com/MyPlaylists?playlistId=6447218

Lynda.com is a convenient and free way to learn for faculty and staff at UTA! Videos can be viewed on a mobile device by using your mobile browser to access the URL. Another idea is to watch videos on a second monitor.

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington  

 

1/8 

Teaching Tip: Implement Blackboard Instant Messenger into your Courses

This semester, consider making use of Blackboard Instant Messenger (BBIM) within your courses for virtual office hours and assignments. Blackboard Instant Messenger is a separate download so encourage students to install it and make use of it to ask you questions. Adjust your settings so that BBIM opens when you login to your computer. Students can ask quick questions and get a quick response. Many students use virtual “chat” outside of school on mobile devices and social media and are familiar with it, so extending it to academic use is a familiar way to communicate. Consider creating an assignment where students login to BBIM at a designated time and engage in chat in small groups of 5-10 students.

The link to download and install BBIM is here: http://bit.ly/1OfXi01

A tutorial for students on how to install it is here. Send this link to your students several times: http://www.uta.edu/blackboard/students/bbim.php

This semseter, in my online literacy studies course, my undergraduate students will be involved in a virtual book club experience. They will gather in small groups on BBIM and discuss a book using a set of structured questions. Click the following link to see this assignment: http://bit.ly/1RyeToh  

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

 

1/15/16

Teaching Tip: Support your Students who are New to Online Learning or Blackboard

Do you have students new to online learning? Provide resources for to help students navigate the technology as well as learn skills for success in online learning! UTA has tutorials that can help students navigate Blackboard. Post these links and send via email: http://www.uta.edu/blackboard/students/.

A great slideshare to share with students on how to approach online learning is the following: “Quick Start Guide for Online Student Success” by Sidneyeve Matrix.  http://www.slideshare.net/SidneyEve/quick-start-guide-for-online-students

Increase professor communication in the first 1-2 weeks of the course. Do an email intervention by reaching out to students who have not participated yet in the course. Install Blackboard Instant Messenger to reach out to students. Let all students know you are available by Blackboard Instant Messenger for questions. Consider sending a  three-question short email to students to see which individual students need additional support. Students can reply to you individually. An example to send to students via email is below:

1) What is your experience with online learning?

2) What helps you learn as an online student?

3) What amount of support do you need with being an online learner?

Based on responses, you can provide additional supports in the course such as links to videos on how to navigate Blackboard, time management, etc.

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

 

1/24/16

Teaching Tip: Encourage Students to use their Mobile Devices and Smartphones for Learning

Our students are busy people and are often on the go. Encourage students to use apps and tools to enhance their learning. Some apps focus on digital flashcards and memorization tools. Other apps focus on storing work-in-progress in the “cloud”. A few recommended apps that you can mention to students for them to download and use include:

  1. Google Drive. Students can store their work on Google Drive and compose work in Google Doc so that they can work on it on a mobile device. They also can access it easier and have an extra backup. They can also upload PDF versions of articles, etc.
  2. Quizlet. This is a digital flashcard tool where students can create their own study tools and then review them as they have bits of time. This is better for courses with a lot of content to memorize.
  3. Polling tools for on-campus courses. Use a polling tool in class such as Poll Everywhere (https://www.polleverywhere.com/), Socrative (http://www.socrative.com/), or Kahoot! (https://getkahoot.com/) to engage studentts with quick quiz questions.

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

 

1/29/16

Teaching Tip: Professor-as-Blogger to Create Academic Content for Teaching and Knowledge Sharing.

Consider starting your own blog to share academic ideas and to model digital writing and knowledge-sharing with your students. Use a blogging platform such as WordPress, Blogger (Google), or Medium. Share your academic-focused ideas on your professional blog related to your subject area to share with students and/or those in your field. For instance, you can share subject-related links and new events with your added commentary to keep your blog posts timely, engaging, and relevant. This will also help you to draw attention to your own research and scholarship, thus enhancing your academic reach, a “win-win” for teaching and scholarship.

Note: Come dialogue and learn about technology-focused teaching at the Tuesday Tech Meetups hosted by the College of Education. All are welcome! We meet in Trimble Hall 111 each Tuesday from 12:00-1:00 pm. See the bottom half of the linked flyer: http://bit.ly/1PYvJsk

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

 

2/5/16

Teaching Tip: Save Time by Composing Emails in Google Docs using Voice Typing

Save significant time and increase productivity when you write emails to students or post announcements on Blackboard by composing your message in a Google Doc using Voice Typing!  Google Docs will also save your messages in case you want to recycle/resuse your messages in future semesters. Save time by clicking on Tools within your Google Doc and clicking the Voice Typing feature. Use a headset mic to speak your message and it will be transcribed using the speech recognition feature built in to Google Docs. There are also commands for punctuation. Click here for a brief tutorial.

Encourage your students to use the same tool to accelerate their writing productivity. Of course, proofreading is essential before sending your final message! Note: Voice Typing within Google Docs  can also be used for your own scholarly writing!

Note: Come dialogue and learn about technology-focused teaching at the Ed Tech Tuesday Meetups hosted by the College of Education. All are welcome! We meet in Trimble Hall 111 each Tuesday from 12:00-1:00 pm. See the bottom half of the linked flyer: http://bit.ly/1PYvJsk

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

 

2/12/16

Teaching Tip: Incorporating Social Media Related to Course Content

It’s likely your students engage with social media, however, they might not have considered how they can use it for learning and/or professional purposes. Strategically guide your students to social media content that connects directly with your course content.

  1. Encourage students to “like” or “follow” professional organizations related to their field of study and/or the course topic on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram.
  2. Students can follow specific Twitter hashtags that connect to your course.
  3. Encourage students who use Pinterest to create boards that relate to course content.
  4. Create a Twitter account where you only post professional content that students can follow if they wish.
  5. Encourage students to follow selected prominent thinkers and scholars in the discipline of study you are teaching on social media.  

Note: Come dialogue and learn about technology-focused teaching at the Ed Tech Tuesday Meetups hosted by the College of Education. All are welcome! We meet in Trimble Hall 111 each Tuesday from 12:00-1:00 pm. See: http://bit.ly/1PYvJsk

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

 

2/19

Teaching Tip: Supporting Students in Large Classes with Images/Visuals/Media

If you teach large classes, you need to provide information in a different way. In emails and on Blackboard, use lots of images like screenshots (include arrows) of what you want students to do. Include numbered steps and increase the amount of reminders you send about due dates. Avoid large blocks of text-only materials for students on Blackboard.

Whether you are teaching f2f, blended, or online, provide micropodcasts with tips, suggestions, content, commentary, and more with audio! You can record audio directly onto SoundCloud or within Blackboard using Kaltura! I use this all the time for online preservice literacy courses! Example: https://soundcloud.com/peggy-semingson/quick-podcast-suggestions-on

Note: Learn and dialogue about technology-focused teaching at Ed Tech Tuesday Meetups hosted by College of Education. All are welcome! We meet in Trimble Hall 111 each Tuesday from 12:00-1:00 pm or Join virtually by Zoom video-conference (desktop or mobile app) https://zoom.us/j/205189412. See: http://bit.ly/1PYvJsk Next topic (2/23): Mobile Learning and Microlearning.

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g

3/4/16

Teaching Tip: Connect to Students with Scheduled Webinars

Do you teach online or a blended setting? You can access Blackboard Collaborate, the webconferencing system within Blackboard to create virtual classroom experiences with your students! Create a Blackboard session to provide an orientation for your course. You can also set up several scheduled sessions, for example, every other week and invite students to attend. I require students to attend three webconferences within my online course. Blackboard Collaborate allows you to record it and then post a link to the recording. Tips for using Collaborate:

  1. Schedule sessions when most students can attend. Use a Doodle poll to provide possible times for attendance.
  2. Create a PowerPoint  for the sessions.
  3. Make use of interactive tools such as polling, the whiteboard, and the chat window to foster active learning during the session. Keep the session about 60-90 minutes in length with active learning every 5-7 minutes.

An upcoming CDE training on getting started with Blackboard Collaborate is on Friday, April 15 from 10:00 am-12:00 pm. Register here: Blackboard Web Conferencing Tool.    

–Peggy Semingson, Ph.D., peggys@uta.edu Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, The University of Texas at Arlington   YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcXN5J1i1Yli0Jh0jpswj7g