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LT Newsletter Spring 2012

ePortfolio Resources at UW Bothell

As we approach the end of the academic year, students across programs are gathering and reflecting on their curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular work; they are thinking about their futures and possible paths to take to achieve their goals; and they are writing essays that provide coherent narratives of their personal, academic, and professional trajectories. In other words, students are working on electronic portfolios (eportfolios).

All first-year students in CUSP complete an eportfolio as a culminating project for their first year experiences. Tasked with reflecting on at least three artifacts of their own learning, like papers, projects, presentations, and artworks, CUSP students write an evidence-based narrative essay to show where they have been, where they are now, and where they are going, in terms of their academic and professional goals.

Students in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (SIAS) produce degree portfolios in which they demonstrate their achievement of the SIAS learning goals. Started in the first major-level course, BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry, and completed in BIS 499, the Capstone Portfolio course, the eportfolio works as a tool for student learning as well as an instrument for programmatic assessment.

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Journaling in Blackboard: Reflect On And Deepen Learning

Journaling can be a powerful tool for students to reflect on their learning. Journals can be used to:

  • “record the development of ideas and insights and / or those of a group in a given context and can include concepts, ideas and main points from experience and theory
  • reflect upon the subject content and personal experiences as a means to increase understanding
  • analyze one’s own learning in and for self-development.” (from the Study and Learning Center at RMIT University)

Blackboard now offers a journaling tool which will allow students to create their own reflective journals. The most important thing to note about this tool is that creating one journal for an assignment will automatically create a private journal for every student. You do not need to create a separate journal for each student! The essential steps to create a journal are:

  1. Select Journals from the course tools menu in the control panel.
  2.  Create a journal keeping in mind that this will automatically create a journal for every student. So choose a journal name that reflects the assignment.
  3. In journal settings, decide if you want students to have the ability to delete their entries and your comments. All journals are private, so other students won’t be able to comment on another student’s entry.
  4. If you select the option to grade the journal, a grade column will automatically be added to the grade center

Once the journal has been created, each student’s entry will be displayed in a box on the right side of the journal. You can also comment on students’ postings if you want.

You can find more information about using journals in Blackboard including several videos at the Learning Technologies Journal page.

 

 

Students Like Short, Compelling Tegrity Videos, According To Athens State Professor

At the Tegrity Conference held in Seattle, April 18-20, Jeff Johnson, Assistant Professor of Management at Athens State University, presented on course surveys that had been done on his campus which captured student feedback on best and worst practices for producing a Tegrity video. These videos were primarily done by instructors outside of a class period, recorded in an office or at home. Here are the main findings of those surveys.

  • 96% of students surveyed slightly to strongly agreed that lecture capture enhanced learning
  • 93% of students surveyed slightly to strongly agreed that they wished that all courses used Tegrity.
  • Over 90% said that it was easy to use and that they were satisfied with it.
  • Students had a mixed reaction whether a faculty face should be in a recording, though they did note that an instructor needs to be careful of the background if he/she does record his/her face.

The majority of students recommended that videos be no longer than 30 minutes. Other tips included:

  • Don’t read slides
  • Act like you enjoy the subject
  • Be clear and conversational; don’t talk too fast
  • Avoid audio problems by doing a short recording to see if it’s loud enough. Getting a better microphone can help.
  • Make PowerPoint slides and visuals available outside of recordings so students can print it out.
  • Use charts, graphs, and visuals
  • Avoid outside distractions while recording like cell phones going off

Students also said that it was really helpful if faculty listed in a syllabus if classes were to be recorded.

Get Organized With Free Web Tools!

I always find it surprising how few students know about and actively use web tools that, quite frankly, make everything much easier. In this post, I’ll point out some web tools that I use on a regular basis. For this quarter, I’ll specifically focus on tools that allow students to get organized with assignments, scheduling and class notes.

For students, balancing work, school and life outside of both can be a difficult task. Sometimes you need a little extra help organizing, collaborating, or studying. Currently, there are more web tools out there than ever before—many of them free and created specifically to give students this kind of help. I always find it surprising how few students know about and actively use web tools that, quite frankly, make everything much easier.

In this post, I’ll point out some web tools that I use on a regular basis. For this quarter, I’ll specifically focus on tools that allow students to get organized with assignments, scheduling and class notes. Keep an eye out in upcoming quarters for more free web tools for students!

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DML Update for Spring 2012

The Digital Media Lab (UW2-121) has all the software to make your dreams come true (well not really, but it has enough to make a dang good visual storytelling project)… Don’t know how to use any of this software? Don’t worry, we have you covered. The DML offers one-on-one student support for anyone of any skill level.

The Digital Media Lab (UW2- 121) is the place to be this spring!

Whether you are looking to expand your graphic design skills or brush up on film-making skills, the DML has you covered. For some inspiration, check out these cool student projects done Winter quarter:

Visual Storytelling: Turning Research into Art.

Do your assignments lack a certain panache? Bars and pie charts not getting your message across? Want to relay information in a dramatic eye-catching way? Visual storytelling is a fantastic way to pass on large amounts of information.

What is visual storytelling? Visual storytelling ranges from the cave art of yesteryears to major graphic design projects much like those pictured above. It uses video, imagery, sound and writing to tell a story or relay a message; often using aesthetics in thought-provoking ways. Here is my favorite definition of visual storytelling from the EICAR International Film and Television School in Paris; “Visual Storytelling: Communicating visually in forms that can be read or looked upon. In cinema a story is most visual when ideas and emotions are expressed through performance and aesthetics as opposed to dialogue.”

Who is the audience? Let’s face it, most Americans don’t have enough time to read the important fine print in the latest Facebook terms of agreement update, let alone a paper on how to save the dwindling tuna population. Visual Storytellers often make use of our limited time and attention spans for the purpose of catching our momentary glance. They only have a few seconds to engage their audiences by making images fun and engaging to look at (admit it, I bet you looked at the tuna charts). They then hope to keep the audience around for a few more seconds by relaying important factoids and information, most of which is incredibly fulfilling to readers.

For students, visual storytelling can be used in conjunction with research and policy papers; think of the surprised look on your professor’s face when you go above and beyond by putting your research into practice! For example, writing a paper on the U.S. deficit? Why not make a poster or pamphlet with stacks of cash representing where the money goes (for a greater effect, use an object like the Empire State Building in comparison to give it greater oomph! “Can you believe we spent two Empire State Buildings on blank last year?!?”)? Next, add some facts on spending and address common misconceptions with a few small sentences. You might just make the rest of the class envious of your awesomeness.

When is it appropriate? Visual storytelling is always appropriate, though it can have a tendency to be really shocking or graphic. This does not mean you should not use it; sometimes the shock factor can lead people to discover the reality of your message. Use your best judgment. If it is for kindergartners, you might not want to use pictures of scary monsters.

The Digital Media Lab (UW2-121) has all the software to make your dreams come true (well not really, but it has enough to make a dang good visual storytelling project). Even if you have limited skills as an artist, the DML, Library and Learning Technologies websites have a number of links to websites that offer free use images, video and audio (also known as Creative Commons-licensed content).

The DML also has software, such as Photoshop (photo editing), ProTools (audio production), Final Cut Pro (video production), InDesign (publishing) and Illustrator (graphic design) for students interested in creating visual representations of their research. Don’t know how to use any of this software? Don’t worry, we have you covered. The DML offers one-on-one student support for anyone of any skill level.

Check out the DML Calendar for open lab hours: http://tinyurl.com/6p76jp4

Have an awesome Spring Quarter!