UT Online

Archive for April, 2010

Backup Your Blackboard/WebCT Courses!

At the close of the Spring 10 semester, it is of paramount importance that you back-up your course and download a copy of it to your local drive for future reference. For detailed instructions regarding backing up and downloading your course please visit: http://www.utoledo.edu/dl/HTML/backup.htm and http://www.utoledo.edu/dl/HTML/download_backup.htm If you need assistance please call 419 530 8835 or email UTLV@utoledo.edu. LV staff will be glad to show you how to backup and download your course.

As the Summer term will start on May 17, you may want to restore a course from a previous backup if you do not want to build the course from scratch. Please follow the directions to restore (http://www.utoledo.edu/dl/HTML/restore.htm) and reset (http://www.utoledo.edu/dl/HTML/reset.htm) your course. If you need assistance please call 419 530 8835 or email UTLV@utoledo.edu, LV staff will be glad to show you how to restore your course.

As always, please give LV a call if you would like to enhance your online or blended/web-assisted course. If you would like to create multimedia components, interactive learning activities or discuss best practices of integrating technologies into your online courses please contact LV and we will make sure you are connected with an instructional designer who can help create an outstanding learning environment for your students.

About Learning Ventures

This is the first edition of our semi-monthly newsletter. Through this web-only publication, the staff of Learning Ventures will work with faculty and students to give information, stimulate ideas, and promote valuable discussions about teaching and learning at The University of Toledo. Learning Ventures is just two months old, but we already have plenty to do. 

Our mission:

“Learning Ventures provides leadership, knowledge, and expertise for a learner-centered community of teachers and scholars at the University of Toledo. Through the development of new approaches to “hybrid” modes of instruction using technologies that expand boundaries associated with traditional course-based learning, Learning Ventures is dedicated to promoting and sustaining a learning environment that can best prepare students for complex challenges. Learning Ventures will cultivate the development of “active learning” strategies, ongoing self-assessment in teaching, new instructional approaches and technologies, and widespread employment of educational strategies that enhance retention and outcomes.”

In the next issue, we will host a discussion of “hybrid learning.” This discussion will be linked to our blog (http://wordpress.utoledo.edu/learningventures) and our Epsilen page (http://www.epsilen.com/grp/UTLearningVenturesGroup) so that we can engage across disciplines and across colleges, and so that we at Learning Ventures can learn from students, faculty, and our constituents.

New Faculty Support Structure

The Instructional Designer’s role in the development of online and hybrid courses is crucial and will be even more important as we transition to more “hybrid” approaches. The Instructional Designer is an expert in the learning process. The ID brings together research, theory, and practice about the processes of teaching and learning in order to support the development of an instructional environment that effectively and efficiently supports the achievement of learning objectives.

In Learning Ventures, we have a staff of 7 very talented designers. Beginning in April, we are making some changes in the way their services are organized. Because they are so important to so many faculty, we want to make sure that these changes are understood and that we share an understanding about how to get help and how to create the best possible learning experience for our students. Because IDs spend so much time answering basic questions about computer use and solving minor or easily resolved issues for hundreds of faculty teaching thousands of courses, they do not have the time they would like to spend on course and program development in a sustained and creative way. Therefore…

Here is our new support structure: To get help or advice, contact our office via our chat window on our main page (utoledo.edu/dl), by email (utlv@utoledo.edu), telephone (419-530-8835), or by stopping by the 3rd floor of the Field House (use the elevator in the center of the building).

First Line: Student Helpers. Student helpers will be hired and trained to help with basic technical issues and problems. Through phone, chat, screen-sharing, and house calls, they will be able to solve many problems we encounter.

Second Line: A staff instructional designer who will be available to help faculty and students with technical questions and problems. The designer will empower faculty and students by showing them how to solve technical problems in their courses. The designer will be able to access courses and student information, and is appropriate in situations in which this kind of access is necessary.

Third Line: If neither the designated designer nor the student helper can resolve your issue, or if the problem or concern involves basic course design, you will work with a team of instructional designers or with the designer with whom you initially built the course to resolve the issue.

Our intention is to provide the best possible service to all faculty teaching with technology in online, face-to-face, and hybridized courses. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns (utlv@utoledo.edu).