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:
- Post how-to videos for the first week of class: "I have a Getting Started module with all the technologies, with different how-to videos related to them. And I do a walk-through process as well."
- Include questions in text boxes or the VoiceThread lecture itself, requiring students to leave a response: "Participation is a big part of my students' grades, so I use the questions to prove that they're actually listening to and engaging with the lectures."
- Have your rubric attached to the assignment before you set the VoiceThread: "If you don't, it won't let you add the rubric after. I've had to start over a few times as a result."
- Take advantage of VoiceThread classes: "The hardest thing for me was setup, so I had to watch a couple of their how-to videos and make some notes. And I also use that in my course to help students set up their accounts and that kind of thing."
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."