This spring, we ran our first faculty success stories about tech-driven approaches instructors tried during the pandemic, and hope to keep in the future. Here are the latest installments in the series:
Have a story to share? Email us a short explanation of your tech-driven approach: ReachLT@iu.edu.
Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry (200 student lecture course)
Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory (100 student corresponding lab)
Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory (upper level lab with 6-12 students)
How many times have you heard, "Well, this might be a stupid question, but..."? If students were already starting their questions like that, it made Meghan Porter think about how many questions they simply didn't ask at all because they were too self-conscious. That was her driving force in starting to use InScribe Q&A Community, a crowd-sourcing platform that moves questions from one-on-one and small group spaces to community spaces, and it became even more important once everything went online.
When you're talking about hundreds of students, the emails get overwhelming. Though many have to do with things you've already posted, you still have to reply. Students like InScribe because it's much faster than email, and they can search and get help on their timeline. I like it for providing assistance outside of what I would consider normal hours.
Student feedback underscores this point: "I never felt like I had a question that I couldn't get help for, especially with this as an option." "I liked that the professor could endorse answers and answer directly in real time. Usually in person classes you have to wait until the next lecture to ask a question or send an email." "I could see questions that other students asked that I would have never thought of -- I hope that more classes implement it even when we go back to in person."
One student also called out a benefit that Dr. Porter came to see as crucial: "Having an extra place to ask questions and get more information/connection with other students was really helpful in students feeling less isolated." Even in person before the pandemic, Dr. Porter sought to build community in large classes. But, as one of her colleagues pointed out, group chats – her students’ usual communications – are naturally exclusive.
"Not all 200 people are going to be in that group chat. And if you don't know somebody in the class, you might not get an invitation. So I really try to promote InScribe as a community for everyone, and establish from the beginning that the main goal of this is to build community and help everyone's learning."
In some ways, Porter also finds that it helps students build confidence that they are actually able to help each other, especially with content questions. It's low stakes and anonymous -- they're not answering for a quiz or points, and they don't have to worry about messing up something. However, she definitely makes sure to use the endorse feature, so students know she has seen the answer and thinks it is good. Occasionally, she'll provide a quick clarification, but her posts don't have to be as long or in depth since she is not starting from scratch with her answer.
Anonymous posting, which is optional but highly recommended by Porter, has been key to students being willing to both post and answer each other's questions. Porter notes that even when you allow students to post anonymously, you can still see who they are in case a discussion wasn't respectful or if students have questions specific to her feedback. (She hasn't had issues, but she creates a class contract at the outset to set a tone of respect and trust.)
Tips for other instructors:
Porter does note that in smaller classes like her six-person upper division class, InScribe doesn't take off in the same way. They already know each other, plus they see her regularly. But for large classes, it's beneficial for streamlining information, getting students out of the confines of email and group chats, and building connections. "I have a topic for whatever students are involved in to build community beyond the classroom, so we get to know each other better and not everything has to be serious. People can post about their clubs, activities, hobbies, interests ... or, you know, lighten things up a bit by sharing pictures of their pets or funny memes."
Courses in medical imaging technology (both anatomy and pathology)
Chris Rassel has always provided feedback at a distance, as she isn't physically present in clinic with the students whose work she is evaluating. That distance means she is constantly on the lookout for ways to create connections and be more collaborative. As even labs moved online during the pandemic, that sense of community became even more important: She didn't want to lose the discussions and interaction that are so central to student learning and skills development.
With VoiceThread, Rassel and her students can create, share, and comment on images, PowerPoint slides, videos, audio files, documents, and PDFs. This approach works well for students with varied learning styles, who prefer to learn from audio or video – and, admittedly, want something more conversational like social media. Over time, they gain a much clearer sense of how imaging should look, and as one student noted, really come to "enjoy looking at other students’ images and involving [everyone] in critiquing online."
Rassel's ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between assessing image quality and improving students' abilities to create high quality images. Most issues come down to things such as are they recognizing image artifacts? What are the technical settings? Where is the focus? How could the images be improved?
Each week, Rassel now has two or three students submit images they've taken, and share anonymously as a VoiceThread so other students can assess those images. She has a rubric set up, requiring students to give a minute or more of voice comments and use the writing tool for additional suggestions. Commenters don't know who submitted the images (so they're more forthright with their critiques), and they can only hear each other's responses after the assignment is due.
Learn how to build from meaningful student introduction videos to image critiques in VoiceThread using the Tech Recipes here.
I'm using alternative assessments and moving away from the "read this/test that" model to provide more meaningful feedback. Anytime I can go more of an activity route rather than a homework or quiz route, it makes things more interactive, and students are more engaged.
In addition to following the same rubric she established for her students, particularly labeling with the writing tool and circling noteworthy features, Rassel inserts questions into her (asynchronous) VoiceThread lectures. Students respond, she reacts to their comments, and it ultimately simulates the give-and-take of class discussion. She can also add links to videos and other resources related to the topic at hand.
Rassel, admittedly, would love for students to listen to other students' comments as well, but it's a bit of a catch-22: If they can hear other comments prior to their own, they basically all say the same things. But if they have to make their own comments first, they don't go back and listen to other comments. Her solution has been to draw attention to certain comments during grading, encouraging them to go back and listen to the comments about what they missed.
Tips for other instructors:
Moving forward, Rassel and colleagues are incorporating CN Post as another core learning technology. Instead of having students write papers, they can use CN Post's social media features to have them engage with other students around issues focused on civic engagement or diversity. Basically, they summarize an article or thought piece, then moderate a class discussion around it based on three thought-provoking, open-ended questions they've devised. The process helps challenge everyone's assumptions and draw out other viewpoints.
Rassel has also started having students work together to develop their own study guide with definitions of terms and related imaging characteristics. Her initial, end-of-semester attempt at the study guide didn't give students enough time, so she plans to use a Google Doc or Pressbook in the future to build something they can work on throughout the semester. In the long run, it could be helpful for them as future professionals too, especially with certain pathologies and diagnoses based on a patient's indications.
"I'm always trying to come up with different things to be more interesting and less daunting. And I'm trying to build experience beyond just, for instance, knowing what the disease pathology is. I want them to think about different age groups and what symptoms a patient might have. By having them do it in a more collaborative way, they pick up on different things and draw those connections."
The Journal of Teaching and Learning with Technology (JoTLT) published a special issue on transitioning teaching to remote and online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Authors of the issue's 41 articles present international perspectives and describe adaptations across a wide variety of disciplines.
Here is a selection of contributions from IU faculty and administrators, along with a short list of others that might be of interest. We've intentionally focused on authors who describe specific changes/strategies that they plan to keep beyond the pandemic.
Clark Barwick, IU Bloomington
Abstract: This essay details the process of transitioning an in-person, undergraduate honors seminar on the global coffee trade to an online course as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the course’s demand for physical proximity, specific challenges emerged involving course design and active learning. This essay considers the problem-solving process and ultimate strategies for remotely teaching, discussing, and experiencing the global coffee trade. Specifically, this essay examines how YouTube and Zoom became important pedagogical tools for reimagining experiential learning and creating meaningful human connections.
Keywords: coffee, coronavirus disease, COVID-19, online teaching, honors seminar, YouTube, Zoom
Viola Ardeni, University of California, Davis
Sarah Dallavalle, University of Chicago
Karolina Serafin, IU Bloomington
Abstract: In times when the humanities at large have suffered reductions in enrollments, the ability to build student communities has been seminal to the survival of many departments. Building student communities for language departments in particular includes planning conversation hours, movie nights, and cultural events aimed at attracting students and raising retention rates. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced departments across the country to modify not only their course formats but also the events offered outside of the regular teaching schedule. In this article, we discuss the shift that the Italian Language Program at IU Bloomington decided to apply to our community-building activities during and after the transition from in-person to an online mode of instruction.
To translate several events planned for the rest of the spring 2020 semester into an online environment, we had to resort to the extensive use of social media, such as Instagram and Facebook. Moreover, it was necessary to find creative ways to completely rethink our outreach efforts while still being relevant. Through a tight collaboration among language instructors, we invented and implemented a series of new activities (such as online bingo and cooking lessons) as well as translated those that were crucial for our program to exist and thrive into an online environment. A karaoke project that was originally intended to be the highlight of the academic year presented the greatest challenge in organization and modification; and yet, with creativity and an open-minded attitude, we managed to successfully finish the project with high student participation.
Keywords: Italian, community building, karaoke, social media, intercultural competence, online instruction
Anu Muhonen, University of Toronto
Elisa Räsänen, IU Bloomington
Abstract: We investigated practices and emerging themes in a Finnish-as-a-foreign-language course virtual chat that took place between two Finnish language classes in two North American universities. Because of the unforeseen COVID-19 outbreak in spring 2020, both universities were suddenly required to move all instruction online to prevent the spread of the virus through physical distancing. We describe and analyze differences in the class chat from before the pandemic to after the transition to remote learning. The main focus is on the COVID-19-related themes and topics the participants shared during the associated lockdown. In addition, we examine what kinds of collaborative activities are created while chatting outside the classroom.
Keywords: chatting, collaboration, foreign language learning, remote learning, blended learning
Jared Law-Penrose, IU Southeast
Abstract: The rapid spread of COVID-19 has radically reshaped the human resource (HR) management policies and practices in organizations of all sizes across the country. Additionally, COVID-19 has had a major impact on the way in which faculty members teach our classes. In this case study, I discuss the way in which I responded to these changes in the courses I teach related to HR. I start with a description of the way in which COVID-19 has impacted not only the course content, but also the pedagogical approach I use to engage students across my classes. I describe my attempt to foster trust despite the uncertainty associated with individual experiences related to COVID-19. I also explain the process for rapidly transitioning to a virtual classroom setting. I describe how I combined courses for instructional purposes and the way in which I pivoted the curriculum for each course. Specifically, I created time-relevant podcasts for students to use across different courses while maintaining distinct learning outcomes for each course. A sample podcast will be provided upon request for those interested.
Keywords: podcast, COVID-19, uncertainty, engagement, non-traditional students
Cheryl Moore-Beyioku, IU Kokomo
Abstract: The need to quickly transition from face-to-face teaching using engaging, content-based activities to a new, online platform in just two weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic made it necessary to try to migrate familiar activities that the students enjoyed into a virtual classroom. The activity that proved to be the most successful in maintaining a sense of community, engaging students, and reviewing content was playing Quizlet Live while in BreakoutRooms in Zoom.
Keywords: online teaching, gaming, pandemic, student participation, active learning, learner engagement, collaboration, educational technology, Distance Education
Tatiana Kolovou, IU Bloomington
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic threw a curve ball into everyone’s spring teaching schedule. But for those of us who were a week away from taking their students overseas, it was a game changer. How do you create make-up material for one and a half credit hours while staying true to the course objective of “understanding another culture through immersion and interaction?” My course (Business Culture of Greece) is a three-credit hour course which includes an in-classroom eight week component, followed by a weeklong trip in Athens during spring break. Faculty will discover how to incorporate activities that inform and engage students even when they cannot travel. Ideas shared can apply to domestic travel and are irrelevant to country-specific content.
This submission includes a list of activities faculty can use to replicate in-country experiences designed to meet learning outcomes -- activities such as expert question and answer discussions that normally occur face to face; meetings with local students of the same age to discuss current topics; watching a native language film and debriefing with a film expert; and a final presentation of their course project to their local business client that occurred on Zoom. Preparation discussion questions, student highlight quotes, and lessons learned will be used to help faculty plan for future courses.
Reflecting on what we've learned over the past year.
It's been 15 months since the pandemic forced thousands of IU faculty statewide to quickly transition to teaching online. Similarly, those of us in professional development had to quickly figure out the best ways to provide needed support—as well as determine what other types of resources would be needed in assisting faculty with this transition.
As we look forward to a fall semester that will have our campuses once again filled with students, faculty, and staff, the IU teaching and learning centers have been working with faculty to determine the types of professional development opportunities and resources that will be most beneficial as the university returns to more normal operations. We've also been trying to help with figuring out which tools and techniques to keep from the last couple of semesters of teaching completely in the online environment.
At IUPUI, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has worked with their faculty liaisons to determine what specific types of professional development and resources are needed to support faculty as they begin the transition back for the fall 2021 semester. Based on those conversations, the need for resources that faculty could quickly review on specific teaching or technology topics rose to the top of the list. This led the CTL staff to create the Quick Video Guides on Teaching and Technology resource that provides short video segments on a variety of teaching and technology topics. Thank you to all the teaching centers across IU, who contributed content from their webinars and other resources to help develop the guides.
The majority of the Quick Video Guides are in the 5-10 minute range and cover topics like Assessment of Student Learning, Canvas Modules & Assignments, Kaltura, and more. New videos are being added on a regular basis, as this new resource provides a way for faculty to quickly find a topic they are interested in and get the support they need. This resource is available to all faculty on all IU campuses, and the CTL is always open to suggestions on other topics of interest that can be created as a Quick Video Guide.
At IU Bloomington, the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) has sponsored faculty panels in STEM disciplines to explore what new teaching approaches instructors plan to carry back to their on-campus classes this fall. That program, along with a broad invitation to instructors to share what they are keeping for fall, has led to a video series that launched mid-June in the CITL blog.
This "What Will You Keep for Fall?" series highlights faculty members in short videos, sharing what challenges they encountered during remote teaching, the approaches they took to solve those problems, and how they see these innovations transitioning back to on-campus teaching in the fall. Topics include online office hours, more frequent low-stakes assessments, and approaches to build class community and sense of belonging. Through this series, the CITL hopes to both support faculty preparations for the fall semester and celebrate the outstanding work our community did over the past year to encourage student success.
Through these resources, all of which are available to faculty on all IU campuses, the teaching centers are working to support our transition back to campus, and to help us all envision how the future of teaching and learning at IU can look even brighter than ever. New resources will also soon be available via the updated Teaching.IU website (currently under development).
Randy & Greg
This webinar series will give you quick introductions to the online courses available at no cost through IU Expand. In 30 to 60 minutes, you'll get examples of what to expect from a course and learn how to enroll.
Explore courses and register online.
Access recordings of previous webinars.
Learn how to create course content, from eye-catching graphics to narrated video.
This session will cover the basic functions and interface of Adobe Spark, and we'll discuss applications for both your use in creating content for your courses as well as ideas for incorporating Spark digital story assignments into your curriculum. We'll also discuss steps needed to make sure your graphics and videos created in Spark are accessible when using them in other tools like Canvas.
Learn more and register.
Learn how to use modules to organize your Canvas course.
Well-organized Canvas modules provide an effective checklist for both instructors and students to ensure all content is being covered. This webinar, offered by the IU campus teaching and learning centers, will provide a basic understanding of how to set up a Canvas course using Modules to organize your assignments, discussions, files, and more.
Learn more and register for the August 5th webinar.
Learn more and register for the August 18th webinar.
Learn how to use your smartphone, computer, and Premiere Rush to create course videos.
This session will cover the basics of using Premiere Rush and will provide examples and ideas about how Premiere Rush can be useful in your teaching. We'll also discuss steps needed to make sure videos you create are accessible to all learners. Premiere Rush can also be used to edit other video, such as screen captures or video lectures, and students have access to it, so they can use it for creative projects you might assign.
Learn more and register.
Learn about strategies and tools for collaborative projects.
Successful group projects require thought about group formation, the establishment of group norms, and access to the tools and strategies that groups need to be successful. In this webinar, participants will learn about and share strategies for creating, supporting, and evaluating effective and equitable group assignments. We will also discuss tools that can simplify various aspects of collaborative projects for both students and instructors.
Learn more and register.
Learn how to import some or all of your content from a previous course.
You have your shiny new Canvas courses for fall semester, but you don't want to start from scratch! Learn how make Canvas do the bulk of the work for you. We'll also talk about important things that you need to check and do after importing and before giving students access to the course.
In addition, we'll cover some basic beginning-of-the-semester tasks to get your class started on a welcoming note and help make the rest of the semester easier for both you and your students.
Learn more and register.
Save the date, and submit proposals between now and September 13.
Proposals are now being accepted for this year’s ATLT Symposium. The Symposium will be held Friday, November 5, 2021 on Zoom. All presentations will be virtual.
There are two presentation formats available:
Registration will open in August. For more information and to submit a proposal, visit the ATLT website.
"Fungus full of psychedelic drugs could cause Indiana Brood X cicadas' butts to fall off" (The Indianapolis Star)
"A fungus is pushing cicada sex into hyperdrive and leaving them dismembered" (NPR)
Students need information literacy skills more than ever, when even legitimate news items read like satirical headlines aimed at drawing clicks. The IU Libraries' Information Literacy Online Toolkit is a great starting place for instructors looking to help their students assess potential sources and be better informed. Jane Mason and Meg Meiman of IU Libraries developed the Toolkit in 2018 to help instructors at all IU campuses introduce students to evaluating and analyzing information they find online.
The Toolkit "is designed to start the conversation about information literacy," says Mason. It focuses on important concepts like credibility, reliability, authenticity, and authority. Available on the IU Libraries website, the Toolkit provides instructors with a way to introduce these principles into their courses through modules and video tutorials that integrate seamlessly into Canvas. Faculty can select the content they find most valuable for their students, and import it directly into their Canvas course.
Adam Smith is a senior lecturer in the Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior at IU and used the Information Literacy Online Toolkit extensively in his Spring 2020 class, Introduction to Animal Behavior. This course, new to Smith, was a general education course with around 75 students, mostly non-majors and freshmen. He said that, as a biology professor, he is used to reading and evaluating scholarly articles. His students, however, have significantly less experience. Smith used several of the modules from the Toolkit to gauge students' ability to find and decipher quality information.
Smith said that even if professors don't plan on integrating the modules into their Canvas courses, the Toolkit can be helpful in developing class curricula. "Even just browsing the toolkit as a professor and looking at the materials that are there helped me think about the things that students might not know. Everyone should review it to see what issues freshmen might have when developing any exercise that involves students finding information."
Students have reported other valuable new skills beyond determining credible information: sifting through databases to find information; combining credible resources and blending them into an argument; and the importance of using information in a credible way.
I learned the importance of fully explaining why I chose each source and the reasoning behind why the information is valuable to my research. I always assumed it was just the content of the source that was most important, but this [Toolkit] module helped me realize that the reasons behind my desire for that information have the potential to add another layer to my analysis.
Students need to have a baseline of information literacy as they move through college, said Smith, and the Toolkit was successful at ensuring that in his course. Smith is grateful for the Toolkit and the librarian support he received through the IU Bloomington Libraries Information Literacy Grant program, which he learned about through the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning at IU Bloomington. The program provides a stipend and pairs an instructor with a librarian who can help them use the Toolkit, develop exercises, and implement the modules in the most useful and beneficial way possible.
IU Bloomington Libraries plans to restart the Information Literacy Grant program in spring 2022. The announcement typically goes out the semester before the grant period. Interested instructors should look for a call for applications this fall. They can also express their interest in advance of the callout through email@example.com or their preferred librarian. The grants are awarded to instructor/librarian teams, so interested professors will need to team up with a librarian.
Ultimately, if your students want to find out if cicadas' butts are really falling off, and decipher other cryptic online information, this Toolkit will help them develop the critical thinking skills to decipher fact from fiction. And those are skills everyone needs these days.
The UITS Assistive Technology and Accessibility Centers (ATAC) help the IU community use technology to provide equal access and an inclusive environment. When students with disabilities request an accommodation, ATAC specialists are available to advise instructors on their course content, alternative media formats, and other potential learning tools like software and hardware.
Some instructors have taken a proactive approach and asked ATAC to consult on their course design from the outset to create more accessible courses for all their students, not solely those who request accommodations. Below ATAC consultants and collaborators share four examples of how these consultations work, along with resources you might find useful in your own courses.
Knowing that all students are able to complete a laboratory experience is very important to me. I want to make sure that all students, regardless of their learning needs, are able to enroll in my course.
Turn on Ally in your Canvas course
Ally, a Canvas plug-in powered by Blackboard, will help instructors ensure their content is more accessible for all students. Once activated, Ally will generate alternative formats for students to download, give instructors an accessibility score for their content, and provide tips on improving the accessibility of the Canvas course.
Beginning August 1, instructors can submit a request to have Ally turned on for their Canvas course using this opt-in form. To learn more about how Ally can help make course content more accessible, check out the Ally Instructor Quick-start guide and Ally Student Guide.
Questions? Contact the Assistive Technology and Accessibility Centers at firstname.lastname@example.org or (812) 856-4112.
Read John Ault's reflection
Read Destin Hubble's reflection
Read Sarah Herpst's reflection
Read Carrie Hansel's reflection
Want to learn more about creating accessible content? For starters, be sure to check out 7 core practices that benefit all students. And for guidance on a range of content types, from instructional materials to social media, visit Accessibility.IU.
From a professor's perspective: Stop spending so much time trying to find time.
It can be tiring sending emails back and forth with students or colleagues trying to find a mutually agreeable meeting time. When people ask me to let them know when I'm available for a meeting, the info I send them is often quickly out of date by the time they send the meeting invite. And though I have scheduled office hours for students, most student meetings occur outside of those set hours. I needed an easier way to plan meetings.
With the university's migration of all faculty and staff email to Exchange Online last spring, two tools are available now that solve my problems and allow me to more efficiently and effectively manage meetings: Microsoft Bookings and FindTime.
These tools are especially useful if you use Outlook at IU to manage your calendar (as I do), though they can be used even if you do not.
With Microsoft Bookings, you can create a self-service sign-up page where students or others can select time slots for meetings -- and when a meeting is made through Bookings, it is added automatically to your Outlook calendar. Unlike the Scheduler tool in Canvas, Bookings syncs with your Outlook calendar, so that times when you're busy won't be presented as options to those using the Bookings sign-up page.
In Bookings, you can specify certain times you want people to be able to book, and you can set the available durations of those meetings. You can also set it up with required lead time, preventing those using Bookings from setting up a last-minute appointment with you.
You might have used the Outlook Scheduling Assistant to see people's free/busy times when inviting other faculty and staff to meetings. But that only works for those who can use Exchange Online at IU (including faculty, staff and a few other groups). So, Bookings can be especially useful to provide a window into your availability for those who cannot use Exchange Online at IU, such as most students or those external to the university.
Bookings was made for businesses, so some of the settings might seem a little awkward in an academic environment when first setting up a booking calendar. Follow the instructions in this IU Knowledge Base article to learn more about Bookings and how it can be useful to faculty work at IU.
We're all used to filling out meeting polls. Though some use third-party meeting polls, at IU, we now have an easy-to-use tool from Microsoft that integrates with our Outlook calendars—Microsoft FindTime.
It functions like other meeting poll services, but with some additional features because of its native integration with Outlook calendars: When you're choosing date/time options to present in the meeting poll, FindTime will suggest times when you and other IU Outlook calendar users are available.
To use FindTime, you will first need to install it as an Add-In. Follow these instructions from Microsoft on how to do so. You can add it to Outlook for the web or add it to Outlook on your desktop.
You can create a new meeting poll from new email messages by clicking on the "New Meeting Poll" button when writing a message. You'll also see a "Reply with Meeting Poll" button when viewing messages, which will create a reply-all message with a link to a new meeting poll.
To access FindTime when using Outlook for the web, click on the three dots underneath the text formatting toolbar.
Setting up the poll is pretty intuitive, but referencing these instructions from Microsoft might help as you create your first meeting poll using FindTime. Once the poll is created, there will be a link in your email for recipients to click and vote for their preferred options.
This spring, advertising students in Bill Schwab's portfolio workshop competed for an Adobe Stock campaign to showcase their work on IU campuses across the state. (If you haven't heard, IU faculty, students and staff now have access to Adobe Stock, including more than 200 million photos, graphics, and illustrations.)
The plan was for Adobe to choose one campaign, but both teams ultimately won out in the end: The judges found it impossible to choose between them. This fall, IU will feature the students' work across a range of communication channels to raise awareness about Adobe at IU. In the meantime, this video highlights the competition and the approaches the two teams took.
Adobe has been a long-term partner with Indiana University and along the way we've always looked for new and important and unique ways that we can bring these tools to our students. As of November of 2020 Indiana University is a Creative Campus Pro Campus. What that did is that added Adobe Stock to the contract for all faculty, staff, and students. I was looking for a project that was meaty and interesting and compelling that my students could dive into so voila there we are the wonderful Adobe Stock project came to be. Good afternoon. Welcome to our final presentation on how to be exceptional with Adobe Stock at Indiana University. I think Indiana is probably the most innovative school that we do work with. They're always trying to get faculty and students involved. There's a bit more of an added incentive when they feel like they have people on the other end who are actually looking at their work, evaluating the work, giving them responses, um, that goes beyond the classroom. I love to see how excited they are about this. We thought that the best way to advertise to other students would be to focus on how Adobe, specifically Adobe Stock, makes you exceptional and helps you figure out how you can stand out. We took an approach where we tried to find, like, a key insight as to what do all these students relate to? [video clip: presenter speaking: “This one goes from an image being pixelated to [inaudible] beautiful Adobe Stock image at full resolution.”] and I think that's definitely pushed our campaign forward. [video clip: presenter speaking: “…and then the next one, we took the concept of um you know like a picture's worth a thousand words so we have a long description, transitions to the actual picture of the ocean.”] We were completely blown away um at the student work, um, the the tick-tock videos, the social media ads, the billboards, the artwork, the signage, what they were able to do with stock was incredible. What astounded me about this partnership with the media school and their students was the creative, unique ways that the students provided us with how to build a campaign for students the campaign was so creative and so different and unique and it extended our thoughts beyond what we normally do for promotions of of any type of campaign. What I’d really like the students to take away from this is is a sense of that they've had an authentic experience. They've got some sense of what it actually feels like to be an advertising professional versus a professional college student. This is probably the first time that in an advertising class at least for me that we've had a lot of direction from the client. It's nice to have some guidelines and it's nice to make a client happy. You don't really know what the advertising industry is going to be like when you actually walk into it so having this real experience, getting to work with Adobe and really having this team where you make this great campaign has given me the chance to see what it's going to be like in my future. It's just been incredible the work that the students have done. Just just innovation. I can't wait to see when we create the future. They were able to participate and get feedback from the leading professionals in the field on a variety of topics around social media, marketing, and and they actually were able to take that feedback and make their projects even stronger. That's the type of real world connections we want to create for our students at Indiana University.That's what I hope that they feel like they've achieved in this course, that they're ready, that they realize what they realize they have acquired some skills, and they have a sense of what they have ahead of them, and they feel like they have the confidence now to achieve those next set of goals.
Keep an eye out for the students’ work, coming to IU communication channels this fall. And be sure to check out Adobe Stock in the meantime!
Want to know how accessible your course is? Turn on Ally.
Ally, a Canvas plug-in powered by Blackboard, will help instructors ensure their content is more accessible. Once activated, Ally will generate alternative formats, and provide an accessibility score along with tips on improving.
360 degrees of summer fun
IU Kokomo's Cherie Dodd worked with DEPI's Todd Kirk and Jeannette Lehr to create an in depth look at 360 degree cameras and their potential uses in teaching. All workshop content is now available via a self-enroll Canvas course.
The Story of My Life in Stories
Acting Associate VP of Learning Technologies Julie Johnston and Google Design experts judged IU's first exclusive Adobe Creative Jam, naming Kelley's Spandita Sahoo the winner for The Story of My Life in Stories.
Mosaic releases five-year report highlighting impacts since October 2015
Originally launched to support faculty teaching in active learning classrooms, the Mosaic Initiative has successfully extended this support through the Fellows program, leading research, and international recognition.
IUPUI Collaboration Theatre wins European honors for best classroom space
For the second year in a row, IU has earned international recognition for its innovative use of technology in learning spaces. Inspired by classical amphitheater design, the Collaboration Theatre fosters collaboration and conversation.
LT's help with rapid online transition featured in EDUCAUSE 2021 Horizons Report
"Among the finest examples of these [portals/hubs] was Indiana University's faculty-facing Keep Teaching and its companion student-facing Keep Learning…, [whose] structure and content were borrowed by dozens of colleges and universities across the US and abroad."
IU names new associate vice president for Learning Technologies
Jay Gladden will join the Office of the Vice President for IT after serving in academic leadership roles at IUPUI.
Getting Started with IT Training webinars give you a quick introduction to online courses available at no cost through IU Expand. In just 30–90 minutes you'll see examples of what to expect from the course and learn how to enroll.
These webinars include introductions to productivity tools—like spreadsheets and word processing—as well as creating media using the Adobe Creative Cloud. Find a current schedule in Happenings, or check out recordings of previous webinars.
This fall, we put out a call asking faculty to tell us about new tech-driven approaches they tried in 2020 and want to keep, whether their future classes end up being online, in person, or a hybrid. Basically, these are success stories that came out of having to change their courses and/or teaching styles due to the pandemic, which ultimately led to some unexpected and revelatory results. Below are the first three stories, in what we hope will become an ongoing series.
Have a story to share? Email us a short explanation of your tech-driven approach: ReachLT@iu.edu.
Undergraduate network security course (juniors and seniors in computer science and informatics)
Apu Kapadia's long-term goal is to make his classes more interactive and active learning oriented. Before everything moved online due to the pandemic, most of his instruction was on the classroom whiteboard. He also used a lot of group discussions, having students report back and write on the board, and he had started using Top Hat to improve in-class interaction and better gauge student learning. To informally assess how students were doing, he would read the room: Based on facial expressions and eye contact, have I lost them?
Online, synchronous classes on Zoom led him to revisit Top Hat as a teaching tool. By the third week or so, none of his students had their cameras on, and it was like talking into a void. Top Hat made for a more dynamic learning environment—Kapadia could quickly assess whether to spend more or less time on a topic by taking advantage of Top Hat functionality like point-and-click diagrams, questions, and heat maps that illustrate confusion and understanding.
Learn how to do this using the Tech Recipe: Classroom Assessment Techniques with Top Hat and Zoom.
I could teach as I always did, and every few minutes I could see where the class was. And instead of students maybe tuning out on the other end, or doing other things, they had to keep answering questions and clicking on things. So it, in a way, forced students to be engaged. I mean they all, in theory, want to be engaged. But it's just tough over video. I've watched my own kids trying to learn online and there are just so many other distractions.
Kapadia is quick to note that Top Hat is not a magic tool. However, it does allow him to do more quick assessments and address points of confusion. He can glance at student posts in real time, make notes on interesting topics that come up, and quickly touch on two or three running themes. And, once you know how to use the platform, Kapadia thinks it's fairly quick to translate what you might have previously put on a PowerPoint slide into a more engaging activity.
Over time, Kapadia has refined these activities, thinking carefully about what he wants students to get out of each one and what might tell him whether they understood it or not. One thing he realized—possibly a bit late, as it came out in his evaluations—was that the way he was using Zoom breakout groups was neither fun nor effective as a replacement for in-class group activities. The majority of students weren't actually collaborating. One student complained about "being stuck in a group of mic shy people" and suggested helpful alternatives such as a more structured group discussion or assigning more stable groups. And, unlike with previous in-person classes, students were unmotivated to do a video-based asynchronous review.
But those were minor points compared to the overwhelmingly positive feedback he received from students. As one undergraduate put it, "He was very helpful and class time almost felt one–on–one even though there were 40 of us." Another student built on this sentiment, saying "I liked that class time was very flexible and the instructor took time to cover the curriculum as well as take questions about previous concepts."
Tips for other instructors:
One of the students actually commented to me in office hours that you're using Canvas much more effectively than many of my other classes, and I think it's because of seeing my kids struggle with Canvas and trying to think about how to improve the experience for students.
The other technologies he found indispensable were the iPad and Apple Pencil he convinced his department to buy for online teaching. He was able to screen share directly from the iPad, using OneNote to mimic the whiteboard and teach much like he did in the classroom. In fact, Kapadia now feels like he could teach from anywhere using his new online setup. And he's committed to remote office hours with his iPad for drawing and explaining things.
Learn how to do this using the Tech Recipe: Drawing during Zoom sessions.
While he'll carry forward much of what he's done in the online classroom, Kapadia does feel like one thing was lacking: "I feel like I missed out on the personal connection with the students. That's something I'll work on next time, maybe having everyone come to office hours two or three times in the semester, so I at least get to know some of them on a one-on-one basis." Even without that, his student evaluations praised him for being "kind, understanding, and technologically informed," noting that he clearly had their best interests in mind.
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100-level intro to tourism class (in person, but with some students online due to quarantine)
Heather Kennedy-Eden is always looking for ways to bring active and experiential learning into the classroom. Before the pandemic, she devised group activities and field trips to experience tourism, recognizing the importance of going and doing something that engaged all of the students' senses. Her measure of success was fairly straightforward: Was it a positive, memorable experience? (She allows that even less-than-ideal trips can make for excellent educational and bonding experiences—they learn as much from a bad tour as from a good one because it shows them what not to do!)
While she was able to continue teaching in person, with her students spread out in an auditorium, they were no longer able to get close together. And going somewhere was out of the question. However, thanks to funding from the KEY (Kokomo Experience and You) program—which normally would have supported class trips—Kennedy-Eden was able to try out a new idea. She ordered cardboard VR glasses for everyone, essentially spending $6/each for her students to travel the world.
Ultimately, her students were able to do something they never could have done previously. They took several tours in a single day: one indoor tour of Buckingham Palace, one outdoor tour of Paris including the Eiffel Tower, an aquatic tour of the underwater national park, and a once-in-a-lifetime tour of an Egyptian pyramid. With their cellphones and VR goggles (or laptops and Zoom for those who participated online), they bonded through these totally epic experiences. Even students who had been to some of these places in person were amazed at how real it felt.
Learn how to do this using the Tech Recipe: Using VR in the classroom.
It really just opens up the world to them so that they can realize there are other things out there that are different. And I'm not saying they're better or worse, but they're different and they're fun to experience. And VR gives you the richness of the experience too.
There were some interesting things that happened with each tour:
With the Buckingham Palace one, a student who had been there said, oh my gosh, this brings back so many memories that I had forgotten about because I hadn't been there in so long.
I had another student who got emotional on the Paris one because she had gone on a big trip to Paris and taken a similar tour. She said it just brought back so many good memories.
And the underwater tour was great because one student has a medical issue where she can't scuba dive, but she said I can do this and get up close to things I normally wouldn't like baby turtles.
A student's grandmother had been to the pyramids and seen the hieroglyphs. And he said, I know I'm standing in the same place because those are the same hieroglyphs I've seen all my life on her wall. I've always wanted to do this, and now I feel like I have.
It's not 100% the same, but it's about 70% the same. And most of my students want to go back in person someday. I think it pushes them a little bit to go out and experience life. It takes away some of the fear of getting out of their comfort zone.
Tips for other instructors:
Kennedy-Eden has found that virtual reality tours are available for almost any topic including STEM education, which yields options like a tour of what a cell does or a tour of a heart beating, or history and literature, where students could tour ancient ruins or authors' childhood homes. And she had a wide age range of people—from her students, to the media and marketing person who visited the class, to the Vice Chancellor—on both Apple and Android devices, and they all got the VR glasses to work without difficulty for the tours.
Besides, for her, the outcome is more than worth the effort of learning to do something new: "When students have memorable experiences like this with friends and classmates, they become our ambassadors. They feel more connected to each other and to the larger world."
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100-level introductory programming course & 400-level course with final, collaborative agile development project
Rob Elliott actively encourages what he calls "controlled chaos (hopefully controlled!)" in his classes. For him, the worst thing would be for him to stand and talk at his students for 75 minutes. Before the pandemic, most of his instruction featured very hands-on, whiteboard-intensive active learning. Classes also involved a lot of physical collaboration: five minutes group work, back together as a class, and so on. Through this highly interactive environment, Elliott wanted his students to grow increasingly comfortable asking questions and figuring things out together.
When classes moved online, he focused on continuing the community feel—particularly in the 100-level course, which was the bigger challenge. While they were already using an open source textbook and online coding platform (Codio), they also needed to get the hang of using meeting, messaging, and collaborative software. In the 400-level course, Elliott proceeded with final group projects but gave extra time, reduced reporting, and introduced a range of collaborative software tools (like Planner and Trello for project management) and communication options that were not email.
If this pandemic had happened six months later, the students were going to have to transition from working in an office to working at home, and still working with all their teammates and collaborating and sharing documents. So we turned it into a teachable moment.
Elliott used the extended spring break to develop resources that showed his students how to use the new software tools, although he didn't mandate which tools they chose for group work (just that they needed something to collaborate and communicate). However, he did create a Microsoft Team for each course, as a way for students to post questions and send him direct messages. Along with that, he added Teams channels for interacting with peers.
Learn how to do this using a series of Tech Recipes that build from setting up a Team to supporting group work.
While Elliott was able to continue using his Kaltura video library to cover certain course material, expanding on that required a digital whiteboard with persistent notes. As a self-described "scribbler," he needed something shareable during class Zoom sessions that he could re-open later to provide clarification as needed. OneNote, which he hadn't used previously, worked really well with a class notebook in Teams. Elliott could just pull out his iPad and Apple Pencil, and draw much like he had before.
Learn how to do this using the Tech Recipe: Sharing lecture materials.
He gauged success in the online space slightly differently as well: Are they communicating in Teams channels and sending direct messages? Is this successfully fostering collaboration like we had in the classroom? Are they asking each other questions on the discussion board instead of direct messaging me? Ultimately, it wasn't so much a technical challenge as it was a change in the style of communication.
We don't go to college to learn all the things we'll need to do in our jobs and careers. A large part of it is learning how to figure things out. And part of that is asking really good questions and not being ashamed to ask them. I can make things really accessible, but there's still a definite need for me to teach them to get out there.
Basically, Elliott is trying to nudge students toward being comfortable posting questions more publicly, and also toward asking better questions. Even when they prefer to work things out directly with him, they need to tell him what they tried, which error message they got when it didn't work, and some specifics from their source code. Taking the time to explain the available tools was also really helpful, but now he takes things a step further and creates group documents that are already shared with everybody and ready to go (which again saves time in the long run).
Tips for other instructors:
Elliott's students especially liked that he routinely took the time to check in on them, and tried to adjust expectations in light of some of them working 50 to 60 hours a week at grocery stores and delivery services:
"He knew when we were mentally taxed out, and the little things of being able to do an assignment during class as a group instead were much appreciated."
"Although this class had an online section before, he used different tools like OneNote, recorded videos, LucidChart, etc. to keep everyone engaged and provide an environment that promotes learning compared to just putting a PowerPoint up."
"The use of the class notebook was really helpful to follow along, and the videos in Kaltura media gallery were concise and informative which made going over the material very easy. Another little thing I liked was that each assignment link was a Google Docs file [that] opened in-browser."
At the end of these spring courses, Elliott also surveyed his students in an attempt to identify the tools they like best for particular tasks. Here are his initial findings listed in order of student preference:
He hopes to publish a more detailed look at these findings in the near future. (We'll report back when he does!) Note that email didn't make the cut, and students prefer solutions that work on mobile devices. Elliott also recommends reserving Zoom breakout rooms for real-time, problem-solving situations when students want to discuss issues they are having.
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This past year has required a lot of creativity and some major teaching shifts, and I'm really impressed by all that you've accomplished. We could—and probably will—fill multiple issues of the Connected Professor with stories about creative and innovative new ways you've found to keep your students engaged, interested, and successful in their studies.
This issue alone is full of examples of teaching and learning tools and techniques you've embraced to ensure your classes are as inclusive and effective as possible:
I should note that many of you have gone beyond the now-familiar key services like Canvas, Kaltura, and Zoom to explore the community-building possibilities of VoiceThread and Inscribe (Community Q&A). We very much look forward to telling those stories too.
Thank you for all you've done and continue to do. We know many of you have stretched beyond your comfort zone to use new tools and technologies. We also know that it's never about the tech for its own sake but about what it can do to help you teach your students and succeed. Definitely reach out to your campus teaching center if you need support—we're here for you!
Tell your students—it's our first ever speed dating with tech event designed especially for them!
Much like the faculty-focused events, this will be an opportunity to explore a range of potential tools and services, gaining exposure to a lot of resources in a short time (9 minutes a session):
For more details and the registration link, click here.
Join colleagues to discuss care, equity, inclusion, and engagement in your classes and beyond.
A chance to collectively explore significant issues in higher education that will influence the future of learning
This year's Plater Institute builds on IU diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, aiming to create conversations around fostering antiracism and provide instructors with strategies to implement antiracist pedagogies.
The purpose of the institute is to:
Dr. Tambra Jackson, interim dean of the IU School of Education at IUPUI, will deliver the keynote address from 1:10 to 2pm ET.
Learn more and register here.
The conference is divided into concurrent sessions in the morning ($25 faculty-staff/$10 students) and Twitter Quick Hits (free) in the afternoon.
Our keynote speaker is Christine Harrington, Ph.D., author of Designing a Motivational Syllabus: Creating a Learning Path for Student Engagement, Student Success in College: Doing What Works!, and Dynamic Lecturing: Research-Based Strategies for Evidence-Based Practice.
Learn more and register here.
Join your colleagues in discovering ways to use games and play to enhance your students' learning experience.
The Teach, Play, Learn Conference will be held online at no cost. Registration is open now.
Learn more and register.
Dr. Parul Khurana has in the past assigned her students an end-of-semester project to create public service announcements relating to a scientific topic. Her students often ask if they can present it in a variety of ways. Can they create an infographic? Or a YouTube video? Or a moving animation?
Want to learn more about integrating creative software into your teaching? Reach out to colleagues who attended the Adobe Institute:
This might sound like a description of students in an arts or media course. But Khurana's students are enrolled in the senior capstone course in the biology program at IU East.
In the capstone course, Khurana has always expected students to create a presentation, often in the form of a PowerPoint and an accomplaying oral presentation. But recently, because of interest from her students, she has expanded the options they have in fulfilling the project requirements.
"We have a lot of pre-professional students who want to go into medicine and graduate school," said Khurana. "But a lot of them are very creative, especially when they draw diagrams or make presentations for cell biology and botany. Creativity increases their interest and willingness to do the project."
Besides fostering creativity, Khurana said she sees other benefits to the expanded options. First, in connection to principles of Universal Design for Learning, which emphasize creating multiple means by which students can engage with their learning:
"I knew if I just restricted them to the PowerPoint, it's going to just suppress their creativity, which is not what I wanted to do," she said. "Plus, if they're interested in this, they're going to be more interested in the project and actually give their full attention to it. I think that really matters."
Second, it teaches broader skills in digital literacy and digital communication, especially important for those who understand science and might be able to help explain it to lay audiences.
Communication is so important. If you're going to conduct scientific research and it's going to be useful for humans, you have to explain it to people who don't have the scientific background.
In fact, Khurana often relies on her own experience in explaining to students the value of creativity, digital literacy, and communication.
Before she became a biology professor, she grew up in a very creative household. She was always interested in drawing and painting, and her father introduced her to the world of photography. This led her to discovering Adobe Photoshop, which she eventually used in her career.
In graduate school, Khurana would incorporate her photography and visual design skills into her studies and research. She would take images from a microscope and put arrows and rectangles to point out areas of interest, or collect images from a video to create a montage, which led to creating very vivid, clear, and more audience-oriented presentations.
These communication and presentation techniques have helped her stand out in the scientific community, winning awards for her presentations at conferences and becoming an IU Bicentennial Professor.
It's this personal experience, in part, that informs Khurana's belief that being able to creatively and effectively communicate scientific information to audiences in a way that everyone can understand will make her students become better scientists. These skills are vital for others who go into science-adjacent fields, too. For example, she has students who have expressed interest in working for science museums or a career in scientific illustration.
"I think creativity will help there because a person with a science background could help create accurate illustrations and graphics or webpages, posters, or pamphlets for a museum," she said. "Visuals can help make complex concepts more engaging and easy to understand. There is so much science in the news and in social media right now, and I think that's creating more opportunities for students to go into these fields."
Digital literacy is a must-have today, especially when trying to combat scientific misinformation. It is also important for employability and success in various STEM fields. But Khurana knows that creating these opportunities in a course can be difficult when faculty are being asked to rely on new technology so much during the pandemic. However, she still encourages her colleagues to do this by starting small. For example, she suggests using a tool like Adobe Spark, which students can use to easily create web pages, videos, or graphics in a matter of minutes without being technical or visual design experts, or Adobe Premiere Rush, which can be used to quickly and easily edit video together.
The first thing I would tell faculty is, 'It's easy for you to learn as well. There are so many different creative ways that you can use it in your pedagogy, and it will positively impact student engagement and learning.'
IU is the first university to offer no-cost, enterprise-wide access to Adobe Creative Cloud Pro, including Adobe Stock (read the announcement here). And, as one of only 40 Adobe Creative Campuses worldwide, the IU community will benefit from special opportunities like webinars on Adobe Stock. For a wide variety of resources on getting started with Adobe at IU, be sure to visit adobe.iu.edu.
Successful interactions depend heavily on what we can see, hear, say, touch, learn, and remember. When done well, we can recognize more than just the barriers that people encounter. We also recognize the motivations that all people have in common.
—Microsoft Inclusive Design Toolkit
Three statistics highlight why creating inclusive course materials can be a challenge—and why it's best to focus on proactive design approaches that benefit all students:
As the Inclusive Design Toolkit goes on to clarify, instructors also need to consider related limitations like "situational impairments, activity limitations, and restrictions on participation." Examples of these limitations include everyday situations like a short-term injury, reading on a small screen, or working in a loud environment.
<div id="sevenSteps"> <h2>Create Inclusive Documents<br/> in 7 little steps </h2> <div id="ssList"> <div id="ssHeadings" class="step" style="background:#F6DCDC"> <div class="num" aria-hidden="true" style="background:#EBAAAB"><p>1</p></div> <div class="text"> <h3> <span class="visually-hidden">1. </span> Headings </h3> <p>Structure documents and web pages using built-in headings based on the organizational hierarchy of the document. </p> </div> <div class="img" style="background-image: url('imgs/image001.png')"> </div> </div> <div class="notes"> <h4>Notes:</h4> <p>Bonus! If I use headings then I can change font & size & what-not, and it will update all of them automatically! </p> </div> <div id="ssImages" class="step" style="background:#FFB7B7"> <div class="num" aria-hidden="true" style="background:#FF7070"><p>2</p></div> <div class="text"> <h3> <span class="visually-hidden">2. </span> Images </h3> <p> Describe the purpose or content conveyed by an image using alternative text, imagining what text you’d have used if not using the image. </p> </div> <div class="img" style="background-image: url('imgs/image002.png')"> </div> </div> <div class="notes"> <h4>Notes:</h4> <p>Screen readers need text to describe an image for those who can't see it<span class="visually-hidden">. </span> </p> </div> <div id="ssLinks" class="step" style="background:#FCF1DA"> <div class="num" aria-hidden="true" style="background:#F9E4B5"><p>3</p></div> <div class="text"> <h3> <span class="visually-hidden">3. </span> Links </h3> <p> Use link text that describes the link’s destination or function. Instead of “click here” or “read more” use “read more about Psychology 101”. </p> </div> <div class="img" style="background-image: url('imgs/image003.png')"> </div> </div> <div class="notes"> <h4>Notes:</h4> <p>Screen readers only hear the link text - "Click Here" is like asking someone to walk down a dark alley<span class="visually-hidden">. </span> </p> </div> <div id="ssColor" class="step" style="background:#B3FFED"> <div class="num" aria-hidden="true" style="background:#67FFDB"><p>4</p></div> <div class="text"> <h3> <span class="visually-hidden">4. </span> Color </h3> <p> Use text colors that strongly contrast with the background. Don’t use color as the only way to identify something. </p> </div> <div class="img" style="background-image: url('imgs/image004.png')"> </div> </div> <div class="notes"> <h4>Notes:</h4> <p>Strong contrast makes it easier on everyone's eyes<span class="visually-hidden">. </span> </p> </div> <div id="ssLists" class="step" style="background:#B7E4FF"> <div class="num" aria-hidden="true" style="background:#6FCAFF"><p>5</p></div> <div class="text"> <h3> <span class="visually-hidden">5. </span> Lists </h3> <p> Format numbered or bulleted lists using built-in list formats. </p> </div> <div class="img" style="background-image: url('imgs/image005.png')"> </div> </div> <div class="notes"> <h4>Notes:</h4> <p>Wow! By using built-in numbering, the computer will reorder things for me when I make changes. Thank you list-faeries! </p> </div> <div id="ssTables" class="step" style="background:#E4D5DE"> <div class="num" aria-hidden="true" style="background:#C8ACBE"><p>6</p></div> <div class="text"> <h3> <span class="visually-hidden">6. </span> Tables </h3> <p> Use the built-in table tool only for formatting tabular data (not for page layout), and include meaningful column and/or row headers to describe the data. </p> </div> <div class="img" style="background-image: url('imgs/image006.png')"> </div> </div> <div class="notes"> <h4>Notes:</h4> <p>Tables for data & the column tool for columns<span class="visually-hidden">. </span> </p> </div> <div id="ssAV" class="step" style="background:#EEECEA"> <div class="num" aria-hidden="true" style="background:#DDDAD6"><p>7</p></div> <div class="text"> <h3> <span class="visually-hidden">7. </span> Video/Audio </h3> <p> Ensure all videos are accurately captioned, and provide transcripts for audio-only files. </p> </div> <div class="img" style="background-image: url('imgs/image007.png')"> </div> </div> <div class="notes"> <h4>Notes:</h4> <p>"Monkey brains" instead of "Monday pains!?" What are the captioning robots claiming I said? </p> </div> </div> </div>
Would you like to download a copy for future use? Get a PDF version of the graphic here.
If materials aren't designed with accessibility in mind from the beginning, it can be stressful to remediate them all when a student with disabilities enrolls on short notice. If you need the Assistive Technology & Accessibility Centers (ATAC) or a vendor to remediate the materials for you, be prepared to send off the materials two or more weeks in advance. Think: No last-minute PowerPoints!
Want to know which criteria ATAC uses to evaluate course accessibility? Review their course accessibility checklist and feedback form (IU login required).
However, many publishers now maintain lists of their accessible titles (and some commit to at least a base level of accessibility for all their titles published since a certain date). By selecting accessible course texts and focusing on universal design from the outset, you'll have much less to do—and all of your students will benefit.
If the bored panda in the banner image up top reminds you of certain audience members—whether you're teaching a class, explaining a project, or making a presentation—then you might be in need of some more engaging visuals.
Fortunately, IU faculty, students and staff now have access to Adobe Stock, including more than 200 million photos, graphics, and illustrations. (IU is the first university to offer Adobe Stock to eligible users with access to Adobe Creative Cloud through its contract.)
For more on Adobe Stock at IU, visit the IU Knowledge Base. In the meantime, here are the KB instructions on getting started with Adobe Stock at IU:
If you have any issues with Adobe Stock, contact Support Center Tier 2 for assistance.
Career: Adobe Stock goes beyond visual imagery. If you're preparing to enter the job market, you can download professional Illustrator templates to set your resume apart from the competition.
Professional: Do you know (or are you) a talented photographer or graphic designer? Expand your portfolio by becoming an Adobe Stock contributor!
To get the most out of Adobe Stock, register for upcoming and on-demand Adobe Stock webinars here.
Zoom at IU now features automatic live transcription, which can help improve accessibility in Zoom meetings. The AI app behind the transcriptions is powered by Otter.AI using Ambient Voice Intelligence, which in part means you can train Otter to learn special terminology.
In addition, once the host enables auto-transcription, meeting participants can choose to hide the subtitles, to view a full transcript in a separate pane, or to modify the font size and display of the closed caption area.
A few more things to note:
The automatic captions provide benefits everyone can take advantage of: If you're in a noisy setting or otherwise struggling to follow a discussion, the transcript and captions can make all the difference.
Keep in mind that if you've received an accommodation request, the live transcription service in Zoom is not enough to ensure accessibility in a meeting (and it does not work in breakout rooms). For accommodation support, contact the Assistive Technology and Accessibility Center (ATAC).
A post from Dynamic Language highlights several ways captions and transcripts can improve learning:
IU eTexts initiative celebrates 10 years of saving students money
IU eTexts has evolved as a national leader in digital educational materials and saved students over $69 million off retail prices in the process.
Indiana University renews contract to provide Adobe software at no cost to all students, faculty, staff
IU makes history as first university to offer enterprise-wide Creative Cloud Pro, featuring stock photo service.
IU3D: Expanding access to cultural heritage by creating virtual spaces
The IU3D team uses a tool called Matterport to capture cultural heritage spaces in order to provide virtual access to the space and to preserve changing exhibits.
Remote teaching and learning means reviewing these cybersecurity tips
You don't need to be a technical expert to make the computer in your home office harder to hack.
Focused on teaching and learning with technology, the LT List is for IU instructors and those who support them—but anyone is welcome to join. Learn how to subscribe to the list here.
New edition of Teaching for Student Success
Build a foundation of teaching excellence that supports all your students through graduation.
Live transcripts, Scholars Book Fair, stat/math software, and more
Be sure to turn on the live transcript in Zoom for your next class or meeting, and take advantage of affordable content and no-cost stat/math software at IU.
Zoom Valentine 2021 (Nothing compares to you)
Revisiting our love letter to Zoom, complete with lyrics for a song of our times, "Nothing compares to Zoom."
Reimagining Engagement in Teaching and Learning
Access recordings from the FACET virtual conference, featuring authors of articles in the Journal of Teaching and Learning with Technology (JoTLT) special issue on transitioning teaching and learning during the pandemic.
Zoom Alchemy: Active Learning in the Virtual Classroom
Revisit this webinar recording to experience active learning in Zoom first-hand and leave with engagement activities you can immediately implement in your class.
Google at IU My Drive: Individual File Management Basics
Revisit this IT Training webinar recording to learn how to find, organize, edit, and share your files on My Drive.
Microsoft OneDrive at IU: Individual file management basics
Revisit this IT Training webinar recording to learn how to find, organize, edit, and share your files on OneDrive.
Jean Abshire felt unqualified to lead a far-reaching discussion on race, but saw the importance of doing something as the School of Social Sciences after George Floyd's killing. By bringing in colleagues like Melissa Fry, whose career took shape in response to the Rodney King verdict and aftermath, she was able to build a collaborative effort focused on producing meaningful change.
JA: Jean Abshire, associate professor of political science and international studies at IU Southeast.
MF: Melissa Fry, associate professor of sociology & director of the Applied Research and Education Center at IU Southeast.
AM: Adam Maksl, associate professor of journalism and media at IU Southeast & faculty fellow for eLearning design and innovation in UITS.
Jean Abshire's June 1st email to colleagues powerfully captured the intensity of the moment and the need for thoughtful conversation: We are the School of Social Sciences, and our society is convulsing in conflict and pain. This is our time. There's no one whose wheelhouse this is more than ours. It can't wait until fall. I've set up a Zoom room. If you're interested, come talk.
Nobody responded to her call to action following George Floyd's killing, and she began to wonder if she'd be sitting in that Zoom room alone. She raised it again in a faculty meeting. Colleague Melissa Fry noted that she thought they needed to do something—but, like others in the department, she wanted to make sure it wasn't just window dressing.
We need to ensure that whatever we do is about producing meaningful change within our institution, our systems, and our roles. But we can also provide resources to the community and to our students.
Here is a conversation about what they've accomplished thus far, aided by technology but largely driven by motivated people who gave up summer research time and pandemic course prep to develop something impactful. Adam Maksl, a colleague and faculty fellow for Learning Technologies, interviewed Abshire and Fry.
AM: How did the pandemic and this moment influence what you decided to do? Why integrate something based on technology, instead of something simpler like making resources available for people to incorporate in their classes?
JA: For me, just presenting resources was not going to be effective because I think too many faculty feel that race is too hard to talk about and don't feel confident enough—especially in a time when emotions are running high and managing the discussion may be even harder.
To me, it had to be something that was fully developed that faculty could just implement but hopefully do even more with. It was loaded into the First Year Seminar (FYS) in Canvas as a default after discussions with the FYS director, who thought most people would be open to it. If faculty were not going to do this module, they had to actively take the step of opting out.
MF: All of us are probably working more hours than we've ever worked before while trying to address this emergent need and outcry. The advantage of the technology is that experts on race built the module so that the people who aren't experts knew they could count on the material and curation. That is one of the beauties of this effort—bringing together contributions from psychology, criminology, sociology, political science, journalism, history.
If the module continues to be part of the FYS, all incoming students will go through it as part of their introduction to being part of this community, which is a great leverage point. It may not be a dramatic systemic change, but it says something about the tone of our campus, I think, or has the capacity to. But we need to do a number of these things.
AM: How did you decide where to start, knowing that you had a tight timeline (two weeks that happily turned into four)?
JA: We had the idea of doing a course and from that we were like, wait, we could do the First Year Seminar (FYS) module first and fastest and then build the course after that. It was a very collaborative effort on Zoom to figure out what components were most important. And we picked out the most critical streams that we could do quickly and approachably.
Incoming students with less than 26 credit hours—so all true freshmen and a few transfer students—are required to take the FYS. It's a combination of welcome to our campus and our family, and pretty intensive college survival skills and tools. But it's also a way to reach a large number of people at a time when hopefully they're open to getting new perspectives when their expectations of the college experience are still being formed.
From the get-go, as students enter IU Southeast (IUS), they're learning that being part of a diverse community – and being aware of and engaged in that diversity – is what it means to join our learning community. Coming into this community means addressing these issues and being self-aware and aware of the people around you and the value of that diversity to your education.
AM: What's in the module, and how did it come together?
MF: We have the introduction, "What is racism?," cognitive biases then microaggressions, how and why it matters (how racism is influencing people's lives), and a piece on being an ally. We close with "What kind of society do you want to live in?".
We're giving them a very brief overview of this important set of concepts and ideas. And then trying to get students to think about what kind of world they want to live in—we want to encourage them to use their time at IUS to build the community they want to be a part of.
AM: I think there are a lot of people who are having these conversations or are feeling like we need to do something. But there's this disconnectedness, right? We can't all congregate in our offices or walk down the hall and have that sort of moment when an idea comes up and we mobilize and get something done.
You all were able to use technology to try to replicate some of that energy and that purpose and that community building. Could you talk about what advice you might give to others who want to do something that has an impact? How do we do it in this moment especially?
JA: Realistically, given the moment and the demands on people's lives, not everybody could make every meeting. But we were able to share documents in Teams, and post notes and minutes from the meeting, while keeping track of our to-do list.
MF: People could get their notes in real-time and know that we were all looking at the same notes, but also we weren't flooding their inbox. Keeping the dialogue mostly in the posts within that channel is one of the huge benefits of Teams. If I can keep the dialogue on a project in one place, it is so much more effective and productive for not losing track of a thread.
All of our process and chatting was in Teams, but we shifted over to Canvas to build the module. And the chat function in Teams allowed last-minute problems to be resolved very quickly. But I also want to be careful not to think that technology means we can go to the moon and back either. While technology can facilitate these learning communities and social connections, there's also a big learning curve that adds to the cognitive load.
I don't think Teams or Canvas or Zoom would have made any difference in our initiative had we not had motivated people who cared and wanted to do it right. The technology makes things easier, but it's not going to override the necessity of people who care.
AM: What's next?
JA: I invited our head of equity and diversity to our first meeting. And his big takeaway message was, you know, it's great that you're here in June. Are you still going to be here in October and next April and next June? And I think that's a super important message because as a society we have a very short attention span. I still think we needed to do something fast, that we couldn't let things go on. But the idea of making sure that this extends into the semester, into next semester and beyond, is also a key thing.
We have several events planned throughout the academic year. We also have a class or two we'll come back to planning. Maybe we could use the Expand IU platform to do something similar to the FYS module but community-facing, so we could take it beyond our campus and give the communities some tools they can use.
MF: For me, because I do community-facing work, it's a fairly strong priority to try to create something that other people can access and use. I think it would be really good for us to build a module-driven kind of tool that could be used in that way. And that would incorporate the expertise we do have around campus because we have more than people would realize.
AM: What do you hope people will take away from reading this interview?
MF: I would love to see interdisciplinary groups of faculty tackling some key issues like climate change and the addictions epidemic. A great tool like this could be used in a lot of places within the curriculum, with expertise coming from different disciplines to provide a much fuller picture than when you just look at one discipline's approach.
We should use the learning from this (and other campuses should as well) to think about where we want to bring multiple voices to bear on a particular topic and create easy access to an interdisciplinary learning opportunity or module. All of us—faculty, students, and the broader public—would benefit. Even faculty benefit from the creation of these kinds of things in terms of having learning communities to tap into.
JA: I think that is important because there's obviously huge interplay across the disciplines and the story is really incomplete without these different perspectives being integrated.
By producing expert resources that faculty can rely on, this approach also helps share the burden of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts more widely rather than constantly calling on minoritized faculty who are already overburdened. Echoing Melissa's words, it's a way of building the community, society, and world we want to live in and share with others.
I've long been committed to creating opportunities for IU and its faculty to promote, nurture, and recognize excellence in teaching and learning within and across campuses, schools, and disciplines. This is precisely the vision of IU's Faculty Academy on Excellence in Teaching (FACET). FACET members, since the organization's inception in 1989, have a history of pedagogical innovation, commitment to studying and sharing best practices in teaching and learning, and embracing the notion that we teach and learn in community.
Through the years, FACET has been fortunate to have many collaborators across IU who believe in the pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning. Two more recent outcomes of these important collaborations include the Teaching for Student Success (TSS) self-enrolling course (available through expand.iu.edu) and the Teaching.IU website (teaching.iu.edu). I am proud to say that both resources are built by IU for IU.
TSS, featured in the winter 2020 issue of The Connected Professor, presents an evidence-based approach to teaching and learning. Step-by-step instructions and videos of how faculty apply strategies are central to the approach, and downloadable handouts and worksheets guide others through applying concepts to practice.
Faculty who complete TSS will design an entire course that applies evidence-based practices, while engaging with the modules on their own terms and reviewing pieces of content that are most helpful at a given moment.
TSS is an ongoing collaborative project. Currently, we are revising the course to build on the six teaching foundations modules with two new paths that will contain the same features as the original modules and have their own completion certificates:
We expect these paths to go live during the winter session. Faculty can proceed through the modules on their own at their own pace; however, each campus also will have a spring cohort facilitated by a TSS Faculty Fellow.
The original teaching.iu.edu launched in October 2017. President McRobbie in his 2017 State of the University address identified it as "a major step forward in gathering in one place and making readily available IU's many teaching resources." Like TSS, building the site was the result of university-wide collaboration, including UITS, FACET, and various academic stakeholders.
The redesigned site, with an anticipated fall 2021 release, will remain a portal to IU's many teaching resources; however, it will center much more directly on teaching strategies and the ingredients to carry out the strategies with excellence. Instructors and faculty development staff will have profiles and the ability to collect and share the strategies and tools they use to teach and help ensure student success in their courses.
I am excited that instructors and faculty development staff will be able to share their effective strategies with the IU community through teaching.iu.edu. Many of us collect these strategies and look for outlets to share. Submitted strategies will go through a review process, giving faculty another way to document teaching effectiveness, which could prove useful in annual reports and promotion dossiers. The redesigned teaching.iu.edu will make wide sharing of strategies in a customized, easy-to-navigate format.
The new Teaching.IU will showcase concise summaries of effective and/or innovative teaching practices (check out a sample here). These resources will present strategies and tactics that have already been implemented in a course, have improved students’ learning experiences, and are useful to colleagues.
Submit a strategy that’s worked for you. We’d love to hear from you.
I invite you to explore TSS and our first version of teaching.iu.edu. Join a TSS cohort or create a TSS discussion group on your campus. Share a teaching strategy for teaching.iu.edu or TSS and help IU attain and sustain the pervasive spread of teaching excellence.
What it is, what it is not, and how it can help you build needed flexibility into your courses
HyFlex Learning is being discussed more than ever as a potential solution to the challenges universities are facing today in delivering high-quality learning to students in multiple ways, yet it is hard to land on a common description of what it actually is in practice.
The panelists will help define the HyFlex approach, discuss how faculty can use it to build flexibility into their courses in a way that promotes student success and address some common myths that get in the way of being able to leverage the benefits of the approach.
Learn more and register at citl.indiana.edu
Join CEW&T and the IU Cinema for a virtual screening of CODED BIAS with a panel discussion.
CODED BIAS is a groundbreaking documentary feature on bias in artificial intelligence, and the women data scientists and mathematicians fighting to expose its threat to civil liberties and democracy.
Learn more and register at events.iu.edu
Feel like you're in a Zoom slump? Experience active learning in Zoom first-hand.
Class sessions on Zoom can be engaging and even invigorating, but it doesn't just happen on its own—it needs you. Experience active learning in Zoom first-hand and leave with engagement activities you can immediately implement in your class in this mash-up of Zoom features and IU's technology smorgasbord.
Learn more and register here for December 8 or here for January 13 (open to all campuses).
Explore potential tools and services, gaining important insights in a short time
You will have around 9 minutes to "speed date" (i.e., learn about) a specific tool or service before meeting your next "date." Each Zoom breakout room will introduce a resource of interest to a broad audience, including some unfamiliar ones. Matchmakers (presenters) include staff from across UITS Learning Technologies.
Check out the full list of topics and RSVP at https://go.iu.edu/3q3d
Pre-conference activities, keynote talks, breakout sessions, virtual networking opportunities, and maybe even some games
Don't miss out on the Virtual Statewide IT Conference 2021, which will take place January 20–22. Register now to receive updates on all conference events, including speakers, networking opportunities, and our Virtual Expo.
Got a kudo for a colleague? Submit it here.
Jeannette Lehr, from UITS Student Outreach, met (in VR, of course) with Professor Elizabeth Thill and University Library's Jenny Johnson and Ryan Knapp to discuss how teaching with VR is much more than a neat trick.
Dr. Elizabeth Thill has reiterated time and again to skeptics in her field that virtual reality has serious pedagogical applications. It's not just a fun way to get students interested; it is in fact integral to her curriculum. Thill uses VR in her courses on The Art and Archaeology of Rome, Myth and Reality in Classical Art, and Sex and Gender in the Ancient World, where she is able to demonstrate architectural and sculptural details of ancient artifacts in a way that is so effective, it's been game changing to her teaching.
About a year ago Dr. Thill met Jenny Johnson and Ryan Knapp while working on a project that involved 3D scans of ancient sculptures. Jenny Johnson is the head of digitization services for University Library and provides access to and preserves cultural heritage objects via 3D scanning. Thill was impressed with the beauty and quality of 3D scans of ancient objects, but she was not sure how they could be useful.
Then Ryan Knapp, technology services manager at University Library, showed Thill what the scans looked like in a high-quality VR headset. The ability to (virtually) move around and touch the artifacts impressed Thill. She was hooked, and she started using VR to teach her students about ancient artifacts. And so the journey began in fall 2019: Knapp placing the scans in VR and developing entire VR experiences, including ancient architectural buildings and environments in which to house the sculptures; Jenny facilitating the whole process; and Thill curating it all for her students.
Dr. Thill, Ryan Knapp, and Jenny Johnson discuss virtual reality in education with Jeannette Lehr while in a VR simulated Roman-inspired courtyard compiled by Knapp. Each participant was able to be present in the same virtual space from the comfort of their homes/offices, as a different color-coordinated pair of head and hand avatars. Knapp built the avatars from an open access Scan the World model of the famous Fonseca Bust that resides in the Musei Capitolini. With a nod to the IUPUI Jaguars, Knapp added jaguar spots to the hands.
Thill is able to pick up, rotate, and compare two theorized reconstructions of what the Etruscan Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus may have looked like while teaching a class on Roman Art and Archaeology.
Dr. Thill is able to rotate an artifact and point out its unique markings to students while teaching her class Myth and Reality in Classical Art.
Dr. Thill teaches excavation theory to students during her class Roman Art and Archaeology.
However, with the move online in spring 2020, Thill went back to using PowerPoint. It was then that she was able to see the stark difference between what had once been her preferred teaching tool, PowerPoint, and what has emerged as the best way to convey information about the ancient world: virtual reality. After a semester of settling for 2D presentations, Thill went back to teaching with VR for the fall semester of 2020. Even displaying the VR experience to her students in remote Zoom lectures far surpasses the old model.
"I thought students would be annoyed with glitches, but they mostly think it's funny," said Thill. They all laughed when she got trapped under the Athenian Acropolis. "I think they really enjoy the sense of cutting-edge technology."
A lot of instructors think that in order to use VR in their classes, every student would have to have a VR headset. But Thill suggests starting with demonstrating VR by having one quality $300 headset and projecting the display onto a screen for the class to see. Students don't have to put on the headset to have a quality learning experience. In addition, many students are visual learners and being able to see artifacts from different angles in VR, or to see a professor like Thill walk around a space, gives them a deeper understanding.
With VR, Thill can spend her valuable time preparing more substantive content for her lectures. Instead of being able to talk about only a couple of sculptures using 2D slides and lots of time describing them, she is able to pick up 16 different sculptures and raise them in the air for students to see from different angles. They get to see it all in-depth and much more efficiently in VR. It opens up so much more time for her to talk about the meaning behind the qualities of the architecture and artifacts—what it means that the building was structured in certain ways, and that's really the more important part.
Knapp and Johnson believe that this kind of opportunity will be expanded to more students when educators and administrators get the chance to try out high-quality headsets for themselves. Knapp and Johnson believe that when you see it for yourself, you can't ignore the potential. Thill feels the same way about buy-in for professionals in her field. "In classical studies, we're used to putting together tiny paper models of the Forum of Trajan and seeing which one looks stupider. Whereas Ryan can build me an entire Forum of Trajan in VR that I can walk through and test hypotheses," said Thill. Only time will tell when and if VR takes off in higher education, but if you ask Thill, now is a great time to start.
When asked about their favorite things about VR and their next steps in the medium, each of our VR experts had this to say:
Johnson said that seeing the student reactions to VR and inspiring them to pursue this technology is what impressed her most about this endeavor. "We may be changing future careers," she said.
For Johnson, an ideal future for this line of work is one where VR and 3D digitization are core services of academic libraries. She sees a long-lasting future for this kind of work and thinks it has the potential to be game-changing for many university library systems.
For Knapp, knowing that there are so many things to come that we haven't seen yet is the most exciting thing about VR. "In VR, you aren't bound by the limitations of the physical world," he said. People who wouldn't normally have the opportunity to go to Rome, or even Mars, will have the opportunity to do so in a realistic way.
Knapp's next steps will be creating multi-user virtual learning spaces where students and instructors can interact together in a simulated classroom environment. And then, taking it outside the classroom is after that. Knapp's ultimate goal is to build a realistic and immersive recreation of Ancient Rome so students can travel the streets, view the architecture, and learn what it was like to walk the streets of Rome.
VR is a democratized medium, and that is what Thill loves the most about VR. VR is a way to bring things and experiences to people who couldn't otherwise afford to experience them. Like other new technologies in the past, VR opens up options to more people. Thill really believes that VR is not just nifty; it's game changing. "We're talking about hard core research, hard core pedagogical advantages," Thill said. "You can do things in VR that you cannot do in real life."
For Thill, the next step will be a debate held in VR, in the Parthenon. She says students will be joining the virtual space this time. All of the technical details haven't been worked out yet, but Thill is excited to get students into VR to interact with the ancient world in an even more immersive way.
Thill cautions instructors who are new to VR not to try to create the more in-depth experiences, similar to what she's been doing, on their own. If you want to create customized experiences, you need someone like Johnson and Knapp to help you with the technology development aspect. Thill is thankful that IUPUI has staff in the position to do this kind of work with VR. Thill believes this work is worthy of professional support and she hopes all campuses will have VR developers on staff eventually. Knapp says that even if you don't teach from the IUPUI campus, "I would encourage instructors to talk with us. We're happy to work with them on finding different possible applications." They said once instructors come up with a need to ask for help.
Thill recommends going at VR with very specific pedagogical goals. Adjust your expectations. Especially in the beginning, you won't be able to have everything you want in VR, but you can do a lot.
Read more about Thill's work in VR in a piece written for IUPUI's The Campus Citizen, or experience a VR tour with Thill below.
This team's research has received very generous support from the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute and is now part of their Incubator Project with Dr. Jason Kelly. The student participation has been funded by the UL + CDS and the IUPUI Center for Research and Learning, now part of the IUPUI Division of Undergraduate Education. Dr. Thill, Ryan Knapp, and Jenny Johnson have generously offered to share their contact information with interested instructors. Feel free to contact them with questions:
Dr. Elizabeth Thill, Assistant Professor and Program Director of Classical Studies at IUPUI, email@example.com
Ryan Knapp, Technology Services Manager at IUPUI’s University Library, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Johnson, Head of Digitization Services at IUPUI’s University Library, email@example.com
Want to see Dr. Thill in virtual action? Check out Thill's VR tour of a reconstructed atrium-peristyle domus like those found in Pompeii, decorated with actual domestic paintings found in similar houses in Pompeii.
Not wanting to add to the burdens of our BIPOC colleagues, many of us have set out to better educate ourselves on how to be an anti-racist. The foundations of a DEI education have been well covered in other venues (like this CEW&T webinar by Dr. Nicki Washington), but where can we look for teaching and learning focused resources that touch on technology?
On the heels of the ATLT conference—which itself featured a great and highly relevant keynote session (log in to the ATLT Kaltura channel to watch a recording)—CTL's Jessica Alexander pulled together a selection of self-paced online resources and readings. We'd love to hear from you if you know of more.
IU Expand courses: Improving the Accessibility of your Canvas course and Creating an Accessible Syllabus using Microsoft Word
Accessible documents and Canvas course sites make information easier to find and use for students of all abilities. These self-paced courses will show you how to use accessibility checkers in Canvas and Microsoft Word to fix inaccessible content.
Center for Urban Education Syllabus Review Guide
Racial unrest has highlighted the institutional racism that people of color experience on a daily basis and the importance of educating ourselves in antiracist practices. As instructors, we have a responsibility to develop courses that are equitable and anti-racist, beginning with the syllabus. This syllabus review guide provides a framework for you to review your syllabi through a race-conscious lens to identify areas that can be leveraged to promote racial equity. You will need to create a free account to view the guide.
Inclusive Teaching Guide – Dewsbury and Brame (2019)
This evidence-based teaching guide emphasizes the importance of developing self-awareness and empathy for students prior to implementing inclusive teaching strategies. Additionally, the guide describes several practices for fostering an inclusive classroom climate and pedagogical choices, with summaries of articles to support these practices. An instructor checklist with actionable steps is also included, so you can readily incorporate these practices into your courses.
The Peralta Equity Rubric for Online Courses
If you're teaching a course that is hybrid or fully online, then you can use this rubric to self-assess your courses and make your students' online learning experiences more equitable. The rubric includes criteria for addressing students' access to technology and other types of support, addressing bias, increasing the visibility of the instructor's commitment to inclusion and equity, and universal design for learning.
Explore this Twitter thread to learn how Black academics navigate challenges and barriers concerning racism in academia.
Unpacking Teachers' Invisible Knapsacks: Social Identity and Privilege in Higher Education – Barnett (2013)
Pamela Barnett builds on Peggy McIntosh's article on white privilege to consider how other identities may impact the experiences of students and instructors in higher education. You can use the lists to consider the various privileges that you may hold and use that awareness to inform your pedagogy.
How to Respond to Coronavirus Racism
Since the start of the pandemic, there has been an increase in racism and xenophobia targeted to Asians and Asian Americans, including comments on our campuses and in our courses. It is critical that we effectively address these comments, so all of our students have a sense of belonging. This article describes a four-step process that you can use to speak up against bias, including specific phrases that you can use.
Thanks to the UITS Collaboration Technologies team, the IU Knowledge Base has practical, step-by-step instructions for creating a remote setup that's closer to what you might have had on campus—and doesn't necessarily require new devices. Below is just one example.
If you have a touch-enabled device like a tablet or touchscreen laptop, then you can take advantage of online whiteboard or collaboration tools to share freehand drawings and handwritten text (learn more here). But you can also share this content using an external webcam or even your smartphone camera. Here's how.
If you have a second external USB webcam, you can use it as a makeshift document camera:
If you do not have an external USB webcam, you can instead use your smartphone's camera as a document camera. You will need to join your Zoom meeting from both your computer and your phone.
For help sharing handwritten content in Zoom meetings, contact UITS Collaboration Technologies at firstname.lastname@example.org or (812) 856-2020.
If you've never seen one, a lightboard is basically a piece of plexiglass that has an LED strip attached to the edge of it: When you write on it, the text appears to glow in mid-air. The Lightboard setup lets you illustrate lessons with a diagram or explain a formula without blocking the written content with your body or turning your back to your students.
Alex Hollingsworth, an assistant professor at the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), built one himself and published the results on YouTube:
Want to do more with OBS than flip the camera image for your DIY lightboard? Collaboration Technologies’ Steve Egyhazi created a video that walks you through the basics, plus a special camera effect -- called the "circle crop" -- that will make you look like a pro.
Professional streamers and social media influencers use OBS to create TV-style transitions and effects for their online programming. The results you can achieve are only limited by your imagination, but the interface is daunting at first (so start by watching Steve's video).
Download OBS here.
Bonus download: Get the PNG graphic Steve used for the circle crop.
Hollingsworth co-hosts a podcast called the Hidden Curriculum, which explores issues important for professional success that are not typically taught in grad school. Inspired by podcast guest Emily Nix, he decided to try to make a lightboard as quickly and cheaply as he could.
He was able to create one in under 30 minutes for less than $150, with guidance from SPEA colleagues Coady Wing and Justin Ross. Purchase list (via Justin Ross):
Open Broadcast Studio (OBS), free software for video recording and live streaming with Windows or Mac, can be an important component of a home lightboard setup. OBS allows you to flip the camera image horizontally, so what you write on the plexiglass lightboard appears correctly (not backward) on the viewer's screen. Here's how:
Bonus: You can also modify the camera image's brightness, contrast, saturation, etc:
Submit a proposal for the 2021 E.C. Moore Symposium on Excellence in Teaching
Share your ideas and methods for creating better learning experiences, and network with others interested in doing the same
Submit a proposal for the 2021 Statewide Summit on Women & Tech
The Summit provides an opportunity to celebrate women & technology and to share, learn, engage with, and experience tech
Mosaic Initiative year-end round-up
Some of the ways we rethought campus spaces to answer the very real health challenges presented by this pandemic
Being proactive about Zoombombing turns into a group effort
Cybersecurity center and UITS take extra steps to protect IU students, faculty, and staff
Safety of in-person courses at Indiana University supported by new analysis
Data shows no evidence of increased COVID-19 risk with classes taught in person
From the LT list: New online teaching and learning resources
IU's teaching and learning centers have developed two new series to help with teaching online, in person, or a mix. And a new Pressbook, "Zoom to the Next Level: Active Learning in the Virtual Classroom," offers tips for keeping things fresh. Subscribe to the LT list for more like this.
Top Hat: Hybrid attendance feature
Top Hat now lets a student report whether they are attending class in person or online
Virtual access to STC computer labs
Even while your students are away from campus, they can continue to access specialized software and high-powered computing through IUanyWare
Ask the Expert: 5 tips for delivering your best 'elevator speech' about your research
Even simple-sounding questions can be tough to answer succinctly. IU experts like Tatiana Kolovou can help.
Mosaic Initiative celebrates its fifth anniversary
IU's active learning program is a model for higher education across the nation
Rob Lowden takes the helm
A Navy veteran with decades of tech leadership at IU, Lowden quickly finds his sea legs as new vice president for IT and chief information officer
New service helps researchers protect their data and comply with cybersecurity requirements
Going remote: IU releases findings from survey on spring 2020 eLearning
Four main recommendations will help faculty plan for continued remote instruction in face of COVID-19 pandemic
With the goal of providing actionable insights, the lab's preliminary findings lay out four main recommendations to guide future planning. Here we take things a step further, detailing strategies, resources, and support that can help you figure out what to do with these recommendations.
Learning goals lay out your expectations for students — what's vital in the course, what they should be able to do at the end of the course, and how to assess their progress along the way. But how do you make them clear?
Be specific, measurable, and learner-centered (meaning focused on student actions, or what they should spend their time practicing and studying). Both course- and assignment-level learning goals should be outcomes-based, focusing on what students should be able to do afterward.
Learn more about developing clear learning goals. The Teaching for Student Success series also has a related module. To get there, enroll in the course if you haven't already, go to Modules and then to Module 1: Course Design, and explore the "What do I need to know about learning outcomes?" section.
73% of students agreed that it took more effort to complete their assigned work after the transition to remote instruction, and many reported high anxiety due to ballooning numbers of deadlines and assignments.
Most students responding to the study reported increases in coursework volume, and in the effort required to complete it, paired with a decrease in their understanding of the course's learning goals. In open-ended comments, there were also many references to "busy work."
On the Keep Teaching website, IU teaching center consultants recommend one assignment per week (posted and submitted via Canvas) that:
This kind of transparency will help students better understand your expectations and the purpose of specific coursework. Clear communication is critical — in your syllabus, assignments, and assessments. (In the following sections, Recommendations 2 and 3 provide suggestions about using excellent communication to ensure students get the interactivity and feedback they need.)
For a deeper dive, read Dr. Katie Linder's Blended Course Design Workbook (online at IUCAT) — featured in this issue's Food for Thought column — or her book on High-Impact Practices in Online Education.
During the spring period of remote instruction, instructors became the primary lifeline between IU and its students. However, 67% of instructors agreed that they felt disconnected from their students, and 74% of students agreed that they'd lost touch with the Indiana University community.
As the instructor, you set the tone of communication for the entire class, both in-person and online. Communicating regularly and meaningfully makes the difference between an engaged and a disengaged student. Listening is also essential to creating an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding, so you know when your students are confused, overwhelmed — or happily learning!
The Keep Teaching website recommends several ways to open lines of communication between yourself, the in-person students, and the online students at the start of each class session — along with suggested ways to be more present outside of regularly scheduled class periods. Check in regularly with your students to find out what kinds of activities work best for them and how you can improve.
For additional ideas, check out Keep Teaching's strategies for communication and building community:
Canvas Announcements can provide timely reminders — and also help recap, reinforce, and clarify essential ideas from class activities and discussions. They can also help you be more present for your students, increasing their engagement.
Canvas Discussions can help you meaningfully engage with students, guiding them toward the most important aspects of course content. Referring to specific discussion threads and their authors during class can help underscore the value and utility of these discussions.
Also, if you post all assignments and deadlines in Canvas (even when an assignment is completed outside Canvas), your students can make use of the Canvas To-Do list or Boost to stay organized and manage their time effectively.
To make things even more transparent, consider creating a single page of all assignment due dates for the course, and post it prominently within your Canvas course site.
You could tell the instructors who really cared and tried their best to make sure students were learning the material despite all that was going on. The evident care of those few instructors, going out of their way to maintain clarity, [was] truly helpful and appreciated.
When students noted that discussions were a primary aspect of their classwork (without distinction of whether these were synchronous or asynchronous), they also reported increased success and better outcomes. However, only 33% of students reported that such discussions were a primary aspect of their classes after the transition to remote instruction.
To facilitate community, improve engagement, and reduce isolation, it's also essential to provide more opportunities for students to interact with each other. Activities that encourage interaction with peers can help students construct meaning from the course content. As one student responded in the survey, "With online learning, I wasn't able to benefit from other students asking questions during class and creating discussion, which always helped me to understand the material better."
On the Keep Teaching website, IU teaching center consultants recommend using all of the tools at your disposal to get students engaging with one another synchronously and asynchronously. Here are four fundamental approaches to maximizing student-to-student interaction:
For additional ideas, check out Keep Teaching's strategies for interactivity and student collaboration (which touch on topics like facilitating group work, discussions in Zoom, and peer review).
Approaching things from a student's perspective, Keep Learning offers a range of tips for online learning. Emphasizing communication with instructors, these practical tips are framed as strategies for success, for self-care, and for staying connected even in times of isolation.
90% of instructors agreed with the statement, "I created my own instructional materials," and 68.13% agreed with the statement, "I was willing to freely share the materials I created with others." However, only 29% agreed with the statement, "I asked others to share their instructional materials with me."
As one instructor noted in their open-ended comments, "I might have benefitted from a repository of successful online assignments and activities that help monitor student engagement and understanding, especially if the repository was discipline-specific. It might have been easier to adapt colleagues' assignments (that they were willing to share) to my own course, instead of feeling like each of us was trying to reinvent the wheel."
To reframe the student-focused statement from the previous recommendation: To facilitate community, improve engagement, and reduce isolation, it's also important to provide more opportunities for instructors to interact with each other. Collaboration with colleagues could become one of the main ways in which course content is meaningfully constructed by faculty, especially during times of transition when a coordinated approach might help mitigate increased responsibilities.
To this end, a group of IU faculty has created a Teaching Online Community of Practice — for details, contact Adam Maksl, IU faculty fellow for eLearning Design & Innovation. Also consider joining the Higher Ed Learning Collective, an effort spearheaded by IU's Erika Biga Lee. Your campus teaching center can also be an excellent resource for engaging with colleagues, both on your own campus and across the entire university.
Learn more about finding, curating, and delivering others' content on Keep Teaching — and be sure to make use of the Canvas Commons at IU for finding relevant course material from other instructors and sharing your materials like courses, assignments, modules, discussions, pages, and quizzes. Also, if you've done more online teaching, sharing your materials on a departmental Canvas site could go a long way toward helping colleagues figure out how to construct their courses.
Teaching during a pandemic can limit many of your usual, informal avenues of communication. Each week, make sure course content aligns with clear learning goals, create opportunities to interact with your students, and encourage them to engage with one another and find ways to collaborate (and possibly commiserate) with colleagues, so you have the support you need.
For Julie Johnston and the Learning Spaces team, the past few months have all come to seem like a rollercoaster ride, but they're ready to support teaching and learning this fall — no matter what form it takes.
For many years, I have participated in emergency management exercises to ensure we are ready for any type of situation that comes our way. If any of those practice scenarios had ever included what our university is currently facing, my response would have been "we won't ever have to deal with this."
If anyone would have described the rollercoaster ride we've all been on — moving to fully online instruction, then to a variety of in-person and online approaches, while anticipating new challenges — I would not have believed them. It's all come to seem like the ups and downs of a series of things we thought we'd never do.
On March 30, IU conducted 7,946 online meetings/webinars. Nearly 28,000 participants connected online that day for 800,501 meeting minutes.
Back in March when we quickly pivoted online, we led the support of Zoom and Kaltura (lecture capture). We were nervous but excited, almost like we were launching a new startup company as we watched the numbers of users and sessions rise that first day after spring break.
We also launched Remote Desktop in the Student Technology Centers, so students could access the entire suite of specialized software (including discipline-specific collections like the IUPUI engineering build) through IUanyWare. We will continue building on this service to support distance and eLearning well into the future.
The IU Classroom Database has grown from 500 or 600 entries to over 3,500 space records — including details like what kind of webcam or sound system is installed, as well as the social distancing capacity of the space.
When spring semester ended, we knew we couldn't rest easy. For well over 15 years, our Learning Spaces team has used a sophisticated classroom database (classrooms.iu.edu) to capture pertinent data on the classrooms we support. Over the years, we entertained the idea of offering this as the main repository for all spaces on every IU campus, but felt that the task was too monumental.
Due to the pandemic, the university needed to identify learning spaces on all campuses, and asked us to coordinate the effort. While we truly never believed it was possible, we have now reached over 3,500 records of spaces across IU's campuses (including departmental, residential, auxiliary, and general classrooms). This is an incredible opportunity for us to provide all campuses with detailed information on their many learning spaces.
All IU campuses collaborated on a large volume order of audio/visual packages for classroom upgrades, including 500+ webcams and 700+ USB doc cams.
Meanwhile, we anxiously waited for the announcement about IU's plans for fall 2020. The Learning Spaces team also installs and supports the technology in most general inventory spaces, and we knew we'd need to act quickly … but toward what end? We began by first determining which technology is needed to teach a course where some students are in the classroom, and others are online.
We knew we'd be placing a sizable equipment order at a time of limited inventories and high demand. We felt victorious in placing an early large-scale order until we sent a call-out out to all departments to determine their needs, which well exceeded the order we had placed. With the mantra of "stay calm and pivot," we navigated an uncertain landscape to place another large-scale order, so departments and regional campuses also had the equipment necessary to ensure instructors could initiate Zoom calls, share content, and scale out audio to their online students.
At IU Bloomington alone, the Learning Spaces team identified 21 auxiliary spaces, including in the IU Auditorium and Indiana Memorial Union, for classroom use.
But the story doesn't stop here. Because of the social distancing guidelines, the university needed to create new learning spaces in defined auxiliary spaces (now found in our new database). Once those spaces were identified, we jumped in to install sufficient technology for a quality experience for the instructor, onsite students, and online students. After receiving a variety of questions related to classroom technology, we also created a video modeling best practices (featured in this issue's "How to tech" column).
Needless to say, all of this has been a challenge, but I am completely astounded by the professionalism of my team. I cannot believe their ability to overcome insurmountable odds and meet goals I would have never thought attainable. With every new challenge, they rose to the occasion, stayed calm, and triumphed.
Even when the rollercoaster presented an unexpected drop, we knew we had enough momentum to rise to the challenge. We now have an extensive classroom database and an improved classroom support structure, which includes online chat and remote desktop assistance for our instructor stations. We are ready to support teaching and learning this fall — no matter what form it takes.
Most faculty have never personally met the amazing Learning Spaces team who work behind the scenes to make great spaces ready for great teaching. We care about the success of each and every class held at Indiana University. And we won't let a national pandemic stop us from supporting you and your students.
Want to keep up with IU-wide events focused on teaching and learning with technology?
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LT list messages include featured learning technologies and pilots, news and updates on various apps and tools, and upcoming events and opportunities.
Get guidance from KeepTeaching.IU
Teaching is different now, but we're here to support you along the way. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives and how we communicate with and connect to our students.
Check in with your campus teaching and learning center
The centers provide consultations on IU pedagogical and instructional technologies. They're also the best-connected when it comes to knowing what's going on across campus.
Online Essentials webinars provide core information about putting courses online and are at the heart of the Teaching Online Preparation Series.
Learn more and explore specialty webinars at https://citl.indiana.edu/fall2020/index.html#tops
A three-part workshop series to assist IU faculty and staff with working towards making all areas of the university inclusive and equitable spaces.
For more, including the Inclusive Campus Environment Toolkit, visit diversity.iu.edu.
Webinars to help you prepare for your individual file migration and using your new file storage service.
Ready to unpack after the big move? Where are your boxes and how can you see what's in them? Plus share the contents? Watch this recording after your individual files have been migrated to your OneDrive account from Box at IU to learn how to find, organize, edit, and share your files.
Ready to unpack after the big move? Where are your boxes and how can you see what's in them? Plus share the contents? Watch this recording after your individual files have been moved to your My Drive account from Box at IU to learn how to find, organize, edit, and share your files on My Drive.
Join the Center of Excellence for Women & Technology and the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research for our annual talk.
September 24, noon–1 p.m. ET
Hear from Barbara Simons, board chair of Verified Voting, a member of the Board of Advisors of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (appointed by Sen. Reid and reappointed by Sen. Schumer), and the co-author of the book, "Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count?." She has been a leader in technology policy issues for more than 40 years and co-authored numerous reports and studies on how to improve our voting systems.
For more details, visit https://events.iu.edu/cewit/view/event/event_id/133716
Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) Indiana hosts timely talks from colleagues from around the state.
Impacting Inclusivity: How a certificate changed a campus
September 28, 12:30–1:30 p.m. ET
Elizabeth Osika & Mona Kheiry, Marian University
The data showed there were issues. A change was needed. But how do you get everyone to understand their role in building an inclusive community? To get people talking about uncomfortable issues? At Marian University, this was accomplished through an idea at a lunchroom table and a stack of certificates. This session will explain how this simple concept grew to something which is changing the entire campus culture.
More details at https://events.iu.edu/iukctla/view/event/event_id/108634
October 26, 12:30–1:30 p.m. ET
Christian Rogers, IUPUI
Learner experience design (LX) is a method of pedagogical development that takes into consideration the student at each step of the process. I will be presenting an overview of the method as well as discuss a recent workshop where faculty utilized the first steps of LX to interview students, develop empathy maps, and reframe an assignment in their course.
More details at https://events.iu.edu/iukctla/view/event/event_id/108635
If you'll be teaching both in-class and remote students simultaneously, or if you need a recording for students who can't attend in person, this video can help.
Key recommendations from the video ensure remote participants feel more connected:
For more details, visit the IU Knowledge Base: Recommendations for using technology in classrooms during fall 2020
Want to know what will be available in your classroom before you step into it? The Classroom Database provides details about the technology in your classroom as well as a support contact.
If possible, touch base with the support contact to discuss how you plan to use the classroom technology and what you can expect from them when you need help. And don't hesitate to create a cheat sheet on how to use the tech in the room, so you have a quick reference on hand.
If you need help preparing to teach — no matter whether you'll be doing so online, in person, or both — be sure to reach out to your campus teaching center. The Keep Teaching website also has a decision tree to help you find the resources and inspiration you need for this fall.
Below is an excerpt from the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning's extensive support resources for fall 2020. Many thanks to them for letting us reprint it in the Connected Professor. For the full list, visit their website.
IU Online Faculty Starter Kit
If you want to learn best practices and practical steps for designing and delivering online courses, the IU Online Faculty Starter Kit is for you. This free, self-paced tutorial, available through IU Expand (on Canvas), includes 17 modules designed to orient instructors to teaching online at IU. The kit is also a repository for resources on best practices for designing and delivering online courses that you can return to any time. (Note: You can probably skip over the first module, which focuses on larger administrative aspects about proposing/developing online courses at IU.)
Teaching for Student Success Course
Teaching for Student Success: An Evidence-Based Approach is an online course that provides a framework for teaching and learning grounded in empirical research. Whether you're a new instructor or have been teaching for years, teach face-to-face, hybrid, or online, these modules will help you articulate your own teaching philosophy and better serve your students, regardless of discipline. While not specifically about online education, TSS provides solid course development advice that is very applicable to online instruction. You can go through the course on your own or join a cohort facilitated by the CITL.
Quality Matters Resources
QM is a framework for guiding the development of high-quality online courses, and a review/certification process that ensures quality. Even if you don't go through the whole QM process, some of their resources provide good guidelines for creating quality online courses (and online components in blended situations):
The following books provide excellent, concrete approaches to developing and teaching courses in both online and blended environments. They are available in electronic format from the IU Libraries' IUCAT.
The Online Teaching Survival Guide—Boettcher & Conrad (2016)
Boettcher & Conrad present a comprehensive and user-friendly guide for anyone teaching online. The book covers core principles of learning and teaching online, specific tips and strategies to teach effectively in this space, and a section on reflection and planning to increase your skill as an online instructor. In addition to these divisions, Part 2 on specific tips has four categories organized chronologically: beginning, early middle, late middle, and end. The chapter on discussion boards is particularly helpful. Read online at IUCAT
Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes—Darby (2019)
Inspired by James Lang's (2016) Small Teaching, Flower Darby provides readers with small, strategic changes that can make a significant impact on student learning in the online space. Readers will learn about applying the backward design process to online courses, how to build community within the course, and strategies for motivating students in this space. Read online at IUCAT
eService Learning: Creating Experiential Learning and Civic Engagement through Online and Hybrid Courses—Strait & Nordyke (2015)
Are you figuring out how you teach your community-engaged learning (service-learning) virtually? This book is a useful tool to help you consider what community engagement can look like when interaction may be remote. Read online at IUCAT
Flipped Learning: A Guide for Higher Education Faculty—Talbert (2017)
Talbert's seven-step process for "flipping" a classroom not only provides a simple breakdown for transitioning face-to-face content to an online format but also addresses the most significant concerns and questions that arise when teaching in partial or fully online environments. This research-based approach to organizing and implementing content guides you through making the most of an online space through considering a range of topics including cognitive load, multimedia learning, and self-regulated learning. Read online at IUCAT
The Blended Course Design Workbook: A Practical Guide—Linder (2017)
This text is a workbook designed to guide readers through creating a blended course from start to finish. Whether you have a new prep or are transitioning a face-to-face course to an online format, this workbook is your friend, particularly in this time of unknown modality for fall. Linder begins by providing definitions of course modality based on the percentage of content delivered online—blended 30-79% and online 80% or more. Read online at IUCAT
This is the second in a series of blog posts by Tracey Birdwell exploring issues surrounding what she's been thinking of as the "pandemic classroom." Her idea of the pandemic classroom is one informed by wearing masks, social distancing, fewer students, adjustments in teaching, and a potential sense of anxiety for instructors and students alike. Many thanks to Tracey for letting us reprint it here.
Reconsidering support for fall
Since I began working for the Mosaic Initiative in 2015, I've focused on helping instructors develop and implement active learning approaches for any Indiana University classroom. In today's blog, I want to share reflective worksheets that I've used to direct and scaffold instructor thinking about the intersections of space and pedagogy in activity design. Then I want to share a revised version of those worksheets, newly amended, that I've re-envisioned to begin to address our fall 2020 circumstances.
Previous support: analyzing your spaces for active learning
To help instructors recognize how classroom space influences their approaches to student engagement, I've used this handout (Mosaic Active Learning Activity Planner Worksheets _ July 2020) to guide instructors in 1) thinking through activity design and classroom tools analysis and 2) identifying the connections between them. My primary goal for this approach has been to help faculty figure out how to transfer activities from one classroom to another (while making small adjustments for differences in classroom features) by encouraging them to:
Screenshot of the Mosaic Active Learning Activity Planner Worksheets - July 2020
Re-adjusted for fall 2020
Most often used in a faculty workshop scenario, these worksheets have successfully supported instructors in past semesters. However, considering our new, highly variable, circumstances for fall 2020, I've re-conceived my previous approach. As you can see, the new worksheets look a bit different: Mosaic Teaching in the Pandemic Classroom Worksheets _ July 2020
I've asked instructors to identify where they and their students are located. Some instructors will find themselves with students both in the classroom and online. Having students in a classroom while others are online, whether or not the instructor is in the same classroom creates significant logistical changes that require consideration.
I've asked instructors to consider what a fully online version of their activity might look like. It's reasonable to imagine that universities might have to go online again at some point during the fall. So, I've added a step in the revised activity planner that asks instructors to consider a fully digital environment for their active learning approaches.
What's the same?
The core idea remains the same: identify the ways that your learning environment, tools, and ability to interact influences how successfully you implement active learning. Identify what new circumstances and challenges you might encounter. Then make small changes to your original plans to address your unique situation for the semester.
At the end of the fall semester, I will revise the amended worksheets for the spring. Until then, instructors can download and use these handouts to help them think about teaching this fall.
Faculty developers can use the handouts as a starting point for developing their versions for their institutions, instructors, and unique fall circumstances. For example, the Center for Teaching and Learning at IUPUI has created its version: IUPUI_CTL_Enagaging Students in a Physically Distanced Classroom—Activity Planner 2020
How about you, faculty developers? What approaches, tools, or worksheets are you using to support your faculty this fall? What adjustments are you making to your efforts to help faculty approach active learning next semester?
Did we mention it's a Pressbook?
Each week is broken down into five short invitations to mold your Canvas course: You'll have one for each day of the work week, and most take only 10 or less minutes to complete. At the end of the month, you'll be on your way to a better Canvas experience for you and your students.
Here's a look at what to expect:
Ready to get started? Check out the Pressbook.
Teaching is different now, but we're here to support you along the way. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives and how we communicate with and connect to our students.
Find practical strategies here.
Gina Londino's biggest advice for teaching online: Communicate the amount of time you're expecting students to spend on the material. Be very clear and upfront that you're expecting them to spend an hour watching a video, and another hour reading material and answering questions. This is very helpful for students, so they can manage their time effectively and know what they should be working on.
As Londino notes, a 100-level class for non-science majors should be basic and fun—students should be learning something new, without the stress of figuring out how to make the timing work. Many of these lab classes are just shy of three hours long and meet once a week, which can lead to scheduling conflicts. Having an asynchronous, online version means students can pick up a two-credit class for the general education requirement, and complete the work whenever it fits with their schedules.
I really wanted to do an online version of my forensic science lab course. The biggest thing about it was I wanted to have the same experiments and learning outcomes as the face-to-face course. It's not a new class; it's just a different version of the same class.
With that in mind, Londino's online forensics course is set up as a series of modules. Students start with the basics of how forensic science defines evidence (e.g., different kinds of crime scene evidence). They move on to impression evidence like fingerprints, tracks, and footwear. Then comes biological, chemistry-related, and trace evidence. Everything sits in Canvas, so they can work through recordings and course content at their own pace.
Students complete both virtual and hands-on experiments as part of each module. Some are physical labs they do using kits at home, some are experiments Londino records herself doing for students to comment on, and others revolve around virtual walk-throughs or images they evaluate. With the help of Instructional Technologist Maggie Ricci, she took 360-degree pictures of the Indiana State Police Crime Lab and Department of Toxicology Lab, which she used along with still pictures (close-ups of instrumentation) to develop tours in Google Tour Creator. Londino even went so far as taking the 360-degree camera home to capture a fictitious crime scene in her family room.
Embedded Quick Checks and H5P activities encourage students to engage with course materials like the tours, asking them to consider different scenarios and determine the best methods to use in each one. Londino says Quick Check is one of her favorite tools in Canvas. She uses quick checks a lot because they get students to read the material or watch the videos she posts, and then answer questions right there. She can be sure they're doing the work, and they can review as often as needed. H5P, a way to create and share HTML5 content, adds interactive elements that draw students' attention, and highlight key concepts.
In the face-to-face version of the course, students often work in groups or in pairs. In the online version, Londino relies on Canvas discussions for social interaction. For example, she'll post a news clip about 23 and Me genetic testing being used to solve crimes, then ask students to share their opinions about whether it should be used that way. She also plans to add Canvas chat or another discussion forum for questions, as a way of encouraging and sharing those kinds of exchanges.
Reflecting on her first experience teaching a lab course online, Londino has a few pieces of advice for those who are new to teaching online (and particularly those who want to include a lab):
Londino is finding that her online approaches make sense face-to-face too. Accessibility, in the broadest sense, is key. Some students may need alternative formats like tactile versions of evidence that tends to be visual. Many students struggle with text-heavy manuals and get more out of video explanations. And most students prefer to have everything at hand in a digital format like an eText or Pressbook. Ultimately, teaching online brings out issues that are less pronounced in person, so thinking through accessibility for online teaching can actually make face-to-face classes better and fairer, too.
The accessibility of learning materials is often a topic reserved for serving students with disabilities. But there are simple ways you can increase engagement and satisfaction for all students by providing accessible, universally designed materials. Here are Brian Richwine's top tips:
A PDF’s fixed-layout means the reader often must choose between the unappealing experience of either a view that is too small to read comfortably or the experience of repeatedly adjusting the zoom and scrolling side-to-side.
When students have more choices for how they can consume instructional content, they also gain more flexibility in settings for studying. Consider how the PDFs appear when viewed on a smartphone.
When supplying a PDF, consider providing the content in a more flexible format like a web page or Canvas module, or as well. Just adding a link to an article’s original web page along with the PDF can provide a better experience—many journals offer multiple formats, including a responsive web view.
Here is how the same paper looks to smartphone users on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website. The included table of contents provides a quick overview of the content and navigation of the document.
Other formats that work well on mobile devices include Pressbooks, IU Blogs, and content authored in Canvas (see How can I use Canvas on my mobile device as a student?).
Hundreds of studies explore how Video Captions Benefit Everyone (Gernsbacher 2015) – by increasing students’ attention, comprehension, and retention of information delivered in video lectures.
Do you use Kaltura to have your course videos captioned? If so, consider providing a link to the videos in Kaltura MediaSpace. The video player inside of Kaltura’s MediaSpace includes the Kaltura Interactive Transcription Widget, which lets students view and search a video’s text transcript, quickly navigating to any desired subject in your videos. Student engagement with your online videos will increase once they learn how easy it is to find and review particular topics.
You can also create a channel inside of MediaSpace to make it easier for students to find all of a course’s video content.
Hopefully, the above ideas have piqued your interest in how universally designed course materials can boost student engagement and satisfaction in your courses. The best part is that you neither have to be an accessibility expert, nor spend days making significant changes.
And it is not just the students that will benefit. The techniques for creating documents with accessibility in mind can save document authors time too. Here are a few resources that can show you how to make a difference with as little as one hour of investment:
Are you worried about a performance gap between online and face-to-face classroom learning? Looking for ways to engage and motivate online learners, while minimizing the effect situational and personal barriers have on their success? The following books discuss how to use the UDL framework and guidelines to support student persistence, satisfaction, and retention in online courses:
Prefer to watch a video? Watch Thomas Tobin speak at the University of West Georgia on UDL as a Secret Retention Tool (6 video segments, 10-15 minutes each).
Want to keep up with IU-wide events focused on teaching and learning with technology?
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LT list messages include featured learning technologies and pilots, news and updates on various apps and tools, and upcoming events and opportunities.
Keep an eye on Teaching.IU
Teaching.IU connects instructors to university-wide resources and communities of educators across IU. The site gathers and curates a wide range of teaching resources, available to all instructors.
Check-in with your campus teaching and learning center
The centers provide consultations on IU pedagogical and instructional technologies. They're also the best-connected when it comes to knowing what's going on across campus.
This webinar series will give you quick introductions to the online courses available at no cost through IU Expand. In 30 minutes or less, you'll get examples of what to expect from a course and learn how to enroll.
Explore courses and register online.
Access recordings of previous webinars.
Faculty members John Arthos, Vivian Halloran, Shabnam Kavousian, Erika Lee and Kalani Craig will share how they are using Zoom, both synchronously and asynchronously, in their teaching.
Panelists will share how they
Panelists will discuss their strategies in the first part of the session. The rest of the time will be devoted to answering questions from the audience. Audience members will also be encouraged to share their strategies as well.
Register online to participate in the discussion.
In this Teaching with Technology Showcase, you'll learn how Jacob Farmer changed his traditional lecture sessions into more digestible chunks for his students using short, engaging videos and Kaltura quizzing.
Join this webinar to:
Jointly planned and sponsored by the teaching and learning centers across all Indiana University campuses, the Teaching with Technology Faculty Showcase webinar series is designed to inform and inspire. Each session features IU faculty who are using technology to increase student engagement and improve learning outcomes. During the first 20-30 minutes of these one-hour sessions, the presenter(s) will describe and illustrate how they use specific technologies to achieve instructional goals. The remaining time will be used for more in-depth exploration of the featured technologies. Instructors of all ranks from all IU campuses are welcome to participate in Teaching with Technology Faculty Showcase (TTFS) webinars.
RSVP for this webinar online.