Course Enhancement Ideas
The Real You
There are several things you can do to allow students to get to know you a little better.
1. Create a Professional Portfolio
This portfolio can be a multi-page, PowerPoint Presentation or a multi-page Web site. If you do plan on creating a Web site, you may wish to buy your own domain and space instead of using your school's space just incase you change work environments.
2. Create Virtual Office Hours
Virtual Office Hours can be done by chat, by Web-phoning, by video conferencing or even by being logged in your e-mail at that time for immediate responses. This time allows students the chance to get in touch with you with an immediate response.
3. Weekly Podcast in the Announcement Area
This is a great way to provide group feedback and allow students to hear your personality and enthusiasm for teaching the course. It also is a fun way for you to preview the week's module.
1. Spruce Up Your Announcements
The Announcement Area doesn't have to be a place just for text announcements, it can contain graphics, widgets, podcasts and animations. Be creative as this is the area students will see first when logging in.
2. Create and Maintain a class Blog
A class blog is a great way to keep students updated on current events. You may wish to post weekly readings that students might comment on in their weekly summaries or in discussion.
3. Audio Lecture
Provide audio lectures by Podcast or by Web-conferencing software. You may wish to juxtapose your narration over a slideshow. This provides a change of pace compared to written lectures.
4. Guest Lecture/Interview
Have the guest shoot a short video of themselves, host a live chat with the group or a live Web-conference. This is much more engaging for the students than a guest participating in a discussion forum.
5. Virtual Field Trip
You can have students create their own virtual field trips of their area to share with students, have guest tour guides film virtual field trip or film one yourself.
6. Create a Wiki for a Class Collaboration
If it is applicable, it might be a good idea to set up a wiki, mind map or shared doc for students to collaborate on a research project.
7. Create Screencasts
It takes a few minutes to create a screen demonstration. Using an Open-Source product like Jing can help you to reach visual learners. A screencast can sometimes express more personality and explain a concept better than a series of written steps.
8. Social Lectures
Who said lectures have to be boring online? Providing your students with a visual lecture, chat and demonstration can be a fun an engaging way to get your topic across. If you don't have access to a product like Elluminate, you might want to try an open source version like WizIQ.
1. Build it in from the Beginning
What you do in your online course during the first few weeks sets the tone of the course. If you're going to build technology into your course, build it in from the beginning.
2. Build Connections
Create technology goals in each unit and build upon them in the next unit. Help students to see connections from one unit to the next.
3. Develop Engaging Lectures
Utilize technology to engage your students during a lecture. A lecture doesn't just have to be a written document in an online course. A lecture can be an audio Podcast, or a video vodcast or a screencast demonstration with your voice. There are plenty of ways to engage your students online! Get creative!
4. Get Students Involved
Have students create presentations that answer a series of questions, put together a gallery of images the represent a topic, or have them act out/verbally respond on a topic.
Implement an educational technology in your class.
Your first step is to decide what type of project you would like to build. You can start out with a short or lengthy project or work the technology into multiple projects in one class. Let's work on one project for now.
Project A: Inquiry-based Project
Instructor Directions: The instructor must develop the activity, directions and come up with a list of starting resources. Along with the Internet, the instructor introduces various Educational Technologies that will help the student organize and piece together their information. The activity directions may be introduced in a Web Quest format by the instructor with an introduction, tasks and specific directions.
Student Directions: The student can mind map in a tool like Mindmeister. They can create a doc to share with others and the instructor in Google docs. The final project can be a slideshow Presentation created with Google docs and can be shared with the class using Slideshare.
Project B: Collaborative Project
Instructor Directions: The instructor must develop a set of instructions for each member of the group. In most settings, group roles are already formed before a project is worked on. In order to reduce the time of students selecting their roles, the instructor can assign roles for them with equal amounts of work attributed.
Student Directions: Students could keep their project ideas held in a collaborative environment like a wiki at Wikispaces. They may wish to talk weekly through a site like Skype. They might bounce ideas back and force to one another during the week using Twitter. Their final projects might be a set of screencasts with audio using Jing that are broadcast to the class through their channel on YouTube.
2. Integrate Collaboration
Collaborative communication tools are a fun way to involve the entire class in a project or activity. If the entire class is too large, smaller groups can be formed and even rotated. Here are some tools that you may wish to use to increase collaboration and interaction:
1. Discussion Boards
3. Shared Docs (presentation, spreadsheet etc.)
4. Video Conferencing
5. Collaborative Mind mapping
3. Integrate Educational Technology
There are so many ways that you can integrate technology in your classroom. Don't just want to integrate any old technology. Instead, integrate technology with a purpose, one that fits into your style of teaching and compliments your lesson. Here is a lost of some of some ideas you might try:
1. Build a WebQuest or Treasure Hunt
While Web Quests are meant for building problem-based activities for high school and middle school students, they can be developed as complex as you want them to be. You don't have to call them a Web Quest, rather, just a multi-step activity. The Web Quest model (http://projects.edtech.sandi.net/staffdev/buildingblocks/p-index.htm) can be used to build a complex design (http://webquest.sdsu.edu/designpatterns/all.htm).
2. Build an E-book (or assign the students to build an E-book)
Web books are powerful tools that can involve little or no interactivity. You may wish to enhance the text with audio or hyperlinks. You can use multiple Web pages or PowerPoint to build your book. It can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be (http://www.salariya.com/web_books/pages/web_books.html).
4. Select a Project Submission
Project submissions can be as creative as you want them to be. Instead of having student write a basic report, why not have them develop a project using their strengths. It is often times best to offer a series of options for a final project, especially in Modular-designed courses. you may wish to combine a few of these options or allow the student to choose their own to develop a project. Usually it is best for students to also develop a culminating document on the topic as well. Here are some project examples:
1. Word document
2. Audio file
3. Flash animation
4. Web page
5. Mind mapping doc
6. Slide Presentation
5. Select a Feedback Method
Just because the project is submitted, doesn't mean the process should stop. You may wish to develop a method of feedback for you to give to your students, peer-to-peer feedback or self-evaluation. Here are some educational methods you may wish to explore:
1. Discussion Forum
2. Audio Feedback
3. Interactive Survey