Drawing and Whiteboarding Tools for Synchronous Online Teaching

During synchronous online teaching sessions, there are many reasons why you may wish to draw or sketch out an idea with students visually, or use a “digital whiteboard” tool to collaborate and organize thoughts during brainstorming or live discussions. You might want your class as a whole, or smaller groups within it, to build meaning with complex ideas by creating mind maps or other visual organizers. You might want students to share ideas, or media from around the web, on a collaborative bulletin board filled with “sticky notes” and hyperlinks. You also may just find it easier to communicate certain ideas, or guide students through a process, by drawing something out “by hand” — an approach that mimics many tried-and-true teaching approaches based on chalkboards in the classroom.

In this post, I’ll cover a number of digital whiteboard, drawing, or sketching tools that you might consider incorporating into your next synchronous teaching session.

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Designing Learning Activities using Canvas Collaborations

One of the tools ICT has integrated into Canvas to help students collaborate with peers is accessible through the Collaborations link in the course navigation menu. From here, both Students and Instructors have the ability to create collaborative Word Docs, Excel Spreadsheets, or PowerPoint Presentations between members of the class.

In this post we’ll provide you with a few examples of how you might design a few different learning activities and assessments that make use of this tool integration to promote social and collaborative meaning making in your class. Continue reading “Designing Learning Activities using Canvas Collaborations”

Office 365 and Canvas

There are a number of Office 365 integrations that can be built into the learning activities in your Canvas course, making it easier for you and your students to generate, share, and collaborate in Office 365 files, and for students to access their OneDrive cloud storage. This post will discuss how those integrations fit into our current LMS arrangement, and share a handful of links and ideas to get you started on building learning activities that take advantage of Office 365.

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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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Made with Padlet

 

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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