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March, 2011:

Tips on Teaching Classes Online

uw bothell students laptopThe following tips are excerpts  from Michelle Everson’s 10 Things I’ve Learned About Teaching Online article about teaching online. The full article is at http://www.elearnmag.org/subpage.cfm?section=best_practices&article=57-1

  1. Teaching online is a lot of work.
  2. Students appreciate regular communication and timely feedback on their progress.
  3. Many great tools exist but aren’t always necessary.
  4. Assignments and activities take more time online.
  5. Students need extrinsic motivation.
  6. Give deadlines.
  7. Online courses are not right for all students.
  8. Ask students what works and what doesn’t.
  9. Share ideas, collaborate, and commiserate about the online teaching experience.
  10. Teaching online can inform what you do in the classroom if you have opportunities to teach both online and classroom-based courses.

Feeling Generous? Donate Your First Generation iPad to a School in Need

The iPad 2 became available for purchase last week, and managed to sell out before the weekend was over. The device–a slimmer, lighter iPad with updated features (such as front and back-facing cameras)–was met with overwhelming excitement and response by the public. Even owners of the first generation iPad wish to upgrade to v.2, which prompts the question: “just what am I supposed to do with my first generation iPad?!?”

Well, Apple has teamed up with the nonprofit organization Teach For America in an effort to provide low-income schools with iPads. Since its release, the iPad has been praised as an incredible new learning tool for students of all ages. However, many public and low-income schools don’t have the funds to equip their classrooms with iPads at the moment.

So, Apple decided to provide an alternative to selling your iPad for the $300 or so it would make on eBay. If you bring in your first-generation device to any Apple store, they will take it and send it to a school that is teamed up with Teach For America.

Donating your old device is a great option for anyone who bought the first generation iPad, but can’t wait to get their hands on the newly-released iPad 2. The donation, GOOD reports, is also tax-deductible!


Helping Students Understand the Japan Crisis Through Technology

Edudemic has posted this list of over 100 online teaching resources to help students understand the crisis in Japan.

After a disaster such as this one, many questions arise–especially those from students who don’t have a prior understanding of geology, natural disasters, radiation or nuclear energy.

These aides cover a variety of topics associated with the crisis in Japan and are a useful supplement to lectures, lessons, and even individual understanding.

An Interesting Look at Purdue’s Mobile Apps

This weekend, Higher Ed Live interviewed Kyle Bowen, Purdue University’s informatics director. The interview centered around Studio by Purdue, a suite of three classroom-based mobile apps: Hotseat, Mixable, and DoubleTake. These apps are making interactions easier between the student and professor both in and out of the classroom.

Hotseat allows students to ask questions and make comments via their mobile device to their professor during an in-class lecture.

Mixable is a social networking-inspired tool, which allows students and professors to interact and manage assignments.

DoubleTake is an app that makes student video projects easier to create, manage, share and grade.

It will be interesting to see where these apps go and what they may inspire in future of classroom technology.

Click here to watch Higher Ed Live: Mobile Apps in the Classroom

**note: the interview itself doesn’t start until about the 7:40 mark.

The First Day of Class

For many instructors, the first day of class can be nerve-wracking. Carnegie Mellon University has published a good article highlighting the key objectives that instructors should cover on the first day. Excerpt:

The first class meeting should serve at least two basic purposes:

  • To clarify all reasonable questions students might have relative to the course objectives, as well as your expectations for their performance in class. As students leave the first meeting, they should believe in your competence to teach the course, be able to predict the nature of your instruction, and know what you will require of them.
  • To give you an understanding of who is taking your course and what their expectations are.

These two basic purposes expand into a set of eight concrete objectives:

  1. Orchestrate positive first impressions
  2. Introduce yourself effectively
  3. Clarify learning objectives and expectations
  4. Help students learn about each other
  5. Set the tone for the course
  6. Collect baseline data on students’ knowledge and motivation
  7. Whet students’ appetite for course content
  8. Inform students of course requirements

Read the full article at http://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/teach/firstday.html