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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The Many Hats of an Instructional Designer

In 2005,  now Emeritus Professor, Richard Schwier, Educational Technology and Design, USask and Dean Emeritus at the Faculty of Extension, U of A, Katy Campbell, along with two other authors, published a literature review of What Instructional Designer’s Do.

In this post we attempt to summarize and demystify some of those findings as they relate to the work of the Instructional Designers (ID) here at the Distance Education Unit. We’ve condensed the multitude of roles that an ID performs into 4 categories:

  1. Change agency
  2. Professional Development Facilitator/Coordinator
  3. Quality Assurance
  4. Project Coordinator

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Effective Feedback in Online Courses

Feedback is one of the most powerful ways in which instructors engage with their learners, and integral to the simple basis of formative assessment — i.e., provide opportunities for students to practice applying their skills and knowledge, give them feedback on how they’ve done, and then provide subsequent opportunities for them to show their enhanced performance and further their achievement. Because it can have such an impact on student learning, it’s valuable to consider how and where feedback is incorporated into your courses.

In this post, we’ll look at 3 broad approaches to providing feedback in an online course situation, and some tools that Canvas provides to enable effective feedback. I’ll also highlight some lesser-known Canvas tools, like leaving video comments on assignments or using the comment library to make giving feedback faster.

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Using the LMS to Support F2F Learning

If you’re going back into the classroom this fall after several terms of remote-only instruction, don’t abandon the LMS (i.e., the Learning Management System) just yet! LMSs like Canvas have a lot to offer for your face-to-face classes. Here are some ideas for how to enhance your F2F course using the LMS and some related online learning tools and strategies.

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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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Using Synchronous Sessions: Learning in Real-time

In discussing online learning broadly with faculty, instructors, students, staff, and the public, it becomes evident very quickly that there are as many different interpretations of what it means or can look like as there are people to talk about it with. In higher education in particular, it is quite common for online learning to seem like it is an asynchronous (anywhere anytime) setting. Live real-time classes have existed in a variety of formats over the decades, from classes broadcast over television and radio networks, to closed network screens, and now through the use of web conferencing tools such as Zoom and Webex. This post includes just a few ideas for using synchronous strategies in your online class as a first step.
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Feeling overwhelmed with the transition to remote learning?

In my position as an instructional designer I get to work with faculty across campus to design online courses.  Often in meetings our conversations will focus on uncertainties and well-being. Teaching online or remotely can be overwhelming. Our campus is a busy place and exhaustion is too often the norm. The training sessions, websites, emails, newsletters and ideas for transitioning to remote learning can feel heavy.  Here are just a few ideas to keep in mind as you focus on you’re the Fall 2020 semester. Continue reading “Feeling overwhelmed with the transition to remote learning?”

Remote Teaching with Video

Keeping your course fresh and interesting throughout the term can be challenging in an online environment. Especially if you’ve had to rush to prepare a remote teaching version of an otherwise live course. One of the many ways we can keep things interesting is with the use of video. Students will appreciate the opportunity to break-up their readings with some media.

Here’s a few creative ways you might use video in your remote or online class yet this term. Continue reading “Remote Teaching with Video”