USask’s New ePortfolio Tool: Portfolium

What’s an ePortfolio?

An electronic portfolio/ePortfolio is a collection of student work that is useful for showing both the product and the process of learning – while the product demonstrates accountability to learning objectives and showcases the students’ developing skills, the process creates an ongoing workspace for self-reflective learning. As such, an ePortfolio can be a powerful tool for assessment as learning and also assessment of learning.

A portfolio shouldn’t be simply an archive of student work; instead, the real value is found in portfolios as living, dynamic presentations of learning, developing competencies, and intellectual and professional growth. Portfolios can be used at the course level — often as a replacement for a summative final exam — or might be used across a degree program to ensure that students are meeting important high-level competencies and curricular outcomes. Especially when integrated across a student’s entire degree program, an ePortfolio allows them to exit with a thoughtfully-compiled collection of their best work, a timeline of their growth and development as a learner, and a showcase of who they are as a professional and scholar in their field. Continue reading “USask’s New ePortfolio Tool: Portfolium”

Offline Activities in an Online Class

For many students, a completely online fall term will be a major change. Aside from the obvious challenges of getting comfortable with the learning technologies they’ll be presented in each of their classes, students will be challenged further with screen fatigue. Taking a full load of courses online is not a common strategy for most students and the amount of time they’ll be in front of their computers will undoubtedly be a little draining.

But does everything we design for an online course need to be online? The simple answer is no. Many of the online courses developed at the Distance Education Unit at the University of Saskatchewan include active learning opportunities away from the screen from observational data collection to kitchen supply science experiments to interviews and photo assignments there are many ways we can help get students offline and learning on their feet. Let’s look at a few things you might consider when designing your remote and online courses for this fall. Continue reading “Offline Activities in an Online Class”

How Much Should I Assign? Estimating Workload in Asynchronous Classes

Over nearly ten years of designing and developing online classes at different Higher Education Institutions in Canada, one question I have found consistently in all contexts is, “how much content should I include in my online class?” Now that we are looking at remote teaching in the fall, that question has become a lot more frequent, so let’s take a deeper look at the question and hopefully provide some useful resources. Continue reading “How Much Should I Assign? Estimating Workload in Asynchronous Classes”

Why Asynchronous Modules?

As you consider how to deliver your course remotely for the fall term you may be weighing the pros and cons of synchronous vs. asynchronous content. In this post we hope to persuade you towards a mostly asynchronous course design that will help ensure equitable access to materials and a more flexible environment for students to work with. After all, remote learning is not only new for faculty and instructors, but many of our students as well. Continue reading “Why Asynchronous Modules?”

The New LMS is here! The New LMS is here!

It’s official! USask is moving away from the Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) to Canvas by Instructure! But what’s the hubbub? Why did the University choose to make this change to the Learning Technology ecosystem? In the 10 years since Blackboard was first launched at USask, university teaching and learning has evolved, and so too has the learning technology marketplace. Institutional research, institutional priorities in learning and teaching, and feedback from faculty, instructors and students indicated that Blackboard was not meeting our needs. The decision to begin a review process was also prompted by our current contract with Blackboard being up for renewal. The version of Blackboard we are currently using was almost at the end of its life cycle, and replacement was necessary. You can visit the Learning Management System Renewal project pages for more details on how and why the LMS review took place at USask on your own time, but for now, let’s take a look at some of the major upgrades this LMS has to offer under the hood! Continue reading “The New LMS is here! The New LMS is here!”

Get up to speed fast with the new Canvas LMS

The new Learning Management System (LMS) is reason to celebrate. But transitioning to new learning technologies can also be a little daunting. Although DEU, GMCTL, and ICT will be working hard to develop professional learning plans that merge teaching and learning practices with technical skills, and will be designed to support a change in either or both within the new LMS, you may want to take some time on your own to orient yourself with the LMS update. USask training will take place throughout the summer for early adopters and into the fall and beyond for those transitioning for winter term. Keep an eye out on https://training.usask.ca/ for these and other opportunities as they come available.

In this post, however, the Instructional Design Team at the Distance Education Unit has curated a few resources from Canvas to get you familiar and even, up and running in Canvas, quickly and easily. Continue reading “Get up to speed fast with the new Canvas LMS”

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”