Synchronous Session Hack: Use Your Phone as a Document Camera

There are times where a hand-drawn sketch, diagram, or solution might be the best way to illustrate something to your students, or walk with them through the steps of solving a new problem.  The ideal option for doing this in synchronous video sessions would be to connect a dedicated document camera to your computer, and switch the video feed. But, what if you don’t have access to one? This post will take you though a quick alternative “hack” in order to use your smart phone as a document camera.

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Share your Synchronous Success

We’re starting an interactive component to the DEU Digest this week and we need your great ideas to make it a success.

Share with us, and your fellow USask instructors, some of the best synchronous learning activities you used to engage students over this past year. Write a short description of your best synchronous learning activity ideas below and add your voice to the conversation. Then upvote the ideas that inspire you to try something new.

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Featured image by: Interactive Content CC BY via Flickr

Setting up Syndicated WordPress Blogs

If you are looking to facilitate writing in your courses that is more reflective, iterative, interactive, and media-rich than more traditional writing assignments (such as essays and papers), blogging can be an excellent way to go. Through the USask Sites platform, it is possible to get each student in your class set up with their own WordPress blog. This post will cover how to set these up for your students, and then arrange for syndication of student blogs into a central class blog roll.

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Hidden Gems – H5P

Scenario

Leslie Langham has taught most of their courses online at least twice now. They put in long days, evenings and weekends developing content for their courses – choosing readings, finding relevant videos and images, crafting assignments – and interacting with students providing feedback. Leslie feels confident in the courses they put together and deliver online, but also feels like a little something is missing. Sometimes students seem to miss the most important points made in the videos, or pick up on some key concepts but miss others.

In their face-to-face class, Leslie is used to using a student response system and other activities and technology to check for student understanding, but aside from using the Canvas Quiz tool, doesn’t know how else to support students by providing interactive opportunities to self-check their new understanding and practice their new skills. After consulting with an instructional designer they settled on incorporating some H5P activities into their online course.

Leslie now has a variety of interactive learning activities throughout the course, providing students timely, relevant, and specific feedback on key concepts automatically. This includes interactive videos where students can check their understanding as the video is playing, check the outcomes of their decisions with branching scenarios, test their knowledge with digital flashcards, analyze images with interactive elements, and more. All of these activities are presented right in the course content, allowing students to engage with it straight away rather than going away into some other platform requiring yet another login.

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Creating and Sharing H5P Activities from WordPress and Pressbooks

If you haven’t tried H5P yet, or don’t know much about it, you can read the article Hidden Gems – H5P for Interactive Content, which describes the tool generally and gives a pretty good overview of why you might use it. For more articles about H5P, check out our entire category of H5P related posts.

What this post will help you learn
  • how to create an interactive activity with H5P  using WordPress and Pressbooks.
  • upon creating your activity, how to embed that activity in another website, including Canvas.
Learning Technology Used
  • WordPress (USask Sites) – Authoring & Publishing
  • Pressbooks (OpenPress) – Authoring & Publishing
  • Canvas – Publishing


Continue reading “Creating and Sharing H5P Activities from WordPress and Pressbooks”

Creating and Sharing H5P Activity Without a Website

If you haven’t tried H5P yet, or don’t know much about it, you can read the article Hidden Gems – H5P for Interactive Content, which describes the tool generally and gives a pretty good overview of why you might use it. For more articles about H5P, check out our entire category of H5P related posts.

What this post will help you learn
  • how to create an interactive activity with H5P using the Lumi desktop application.
  • upon creating your activity, how to get that activity into your Canvas course.
Learning Technology Used
  • Lumi Education – Authoring & Exporting
  • Canvas – Publishing


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Hidden Gems – Multimedia Presentations with Microsoft Sway

Scenario

Jamie Jameson is teaching a combined 400/800 level course this term and the final project is a group presentation of their students’ work as a digital poster. In previous years Jamie’s assignment was often submitted as a PowerPoint presentation. This year they wanted to try something new, enabling students to create and curate multimedia into the presentation, as PowerPoint always made this feel clunky; as well as asking students to create something that is shareable not only in a remote learning context but is also easily shared with a broader audience.

Jamie considered continuing to use PowerPoint, but having students work in groups would sometimes result in multiple versions and led to confusion about which draft to present to the class. Sharing of the PowerPoints was also a problem. If PDFs were shared, the presentations felt static and lacked the multimedia elements that enhance the presentation. Visually rich presentations resulted in very large file sizes and could become increasingly difficulty to distribute, not to mention that viewing them on different devices could drastically alter the perception of the presentation. Jamie also considered asking their students to create a website, but concluded that their own comfort level with teaching their students the intricacies of web design could detract from the purpose of the assignment, the students’ research.

After consulting with an instructional designer about the project, Jamie settled on the final assignment submissions by way of Microsoft Sway. Their students created responsive Sway presentations of their research collaboratively online, presented it to the class, and they were also able to post their Sway projects to the class website.These presentations were brought to life with pull quotes, animations, student created video as well as YouTube videos, and images. Finally, students were able to include their work in the e-portfolio they assembled over the course of their program. Continue reading “Hidden Gems – Multimedia Presentations with Microsoft Sway”

Exporting and Printing Content from Canvas

If you have an online/remote Canvas course, especially one with a lot of text-based content, there are a number of reasons why a student may prefer to export your course to an e-reader to study offline, or even print as much of the course content as possible. Some students struggle to read from computer screens for extended periods of time. Others like to take lots of notes or highlight any text-based content they are learning from. Others might have poor internet connections, or be planning to travel to areas where they know their connectivity will be limited. Whatever the reason, giving students the option to Export the content from Canvas will improve the accessibility of your course! Continue reading “Exporting and Printing Content from Canvas”

Peer Review in Canvas: Tool Quirks & Workarounds

In working with instructors more closely this term on implementing peer review in their new Canvas courses, we are starting to get a better sense of what issues and errors are most likely to crop up, and how to manage those. At the same time, we are learning about the quirks of the Peer Review tool in Canvas (what it works well for, and what it does not) and some situations in which going another direction might be preferable. This post will cover what we’ve learned recently, and share some tips and resources for designing peer review activities in Canvas (either with or without using the dedicated “Peer Review” tool). Continue reading “Peer Review in Canvas: Tool Quirks & Workarounds”

7 Things You Should Know About Canvas Commons

This topic does not appear in the EDUCAUSE series, but we think the format is useful so have applied it here… see more from the 7 Things You Should Know about series for other Ed Tech related themes and tools at EDUCAUSE.

Scenario

Jamie Andarson is teaching an online introductory course next term using Canvas. They have prepared most of their syllabus, selected articles and other readings, and have most of the assignments outlined but not detailed. They are still looking to fill some gaps in their course, so they reach out to their education specialist to go over their course plan. Ezra Eban, the educationalist, suggests they search Canvas Commons to see if there are any Open Educational Resources – freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching – that would work for the course.

Jamie and Ezra find some rich content that fits nicely with the third week’s theme, an assignment that is actually very close to the one Jamie had in mind, but unfortunately no quizzes that would work for this course. Using the import from Commons feature, they copy the content into their course and place it within the week three module. Next, they imported the assignment and began editing it. They added details that were specific to the University of Saskatchewan, and also added a rubric for grading and feedback purposes. Finally, together they created some quizzes intended for practice for students prior to the midterms and final exam.

Ezra mentioned to Jamie that with Canvas Commons you can also submit your course materials for others to use. They consider the license on the original assignment, choose a new Creative Commons license for the updated assignment and share it back to Canvas Commons. They also look through the quizzes and decide on another Creative Commons license, and share it to Commons for the rest of their department to use. Continue reading “7 Things You Should Know About Canvas Commons”