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Archive for the ‘Innovation in Teaching’ Category

Dr. Perry Samson coming to UT to promote Lecture Tools

·      Are you interested in having your students be more active and engaged during your lectures?

·      Do you ever wish students asked more questions during your lectures?

·      Do you wish you knew what your students were thinking during class?

If so, you will likely be interested in learning more about a new product, LectureTools, that will beavailable for your use beginning Fall 2014!

Lecture Tools is a system similar to “clickers” that is designed to improve student engagement and attentiveness but includes expanded functionality. It allows instructors to import any existing slideshow and to enhance their presentation in a number of ways. Students can interact with the content by means of embedded multiple choice, open ended response and imagequestions. Students can also submit questions in real time that can be answered during the current class or at a later time. Students can take notes withinLectureTools for later reference and can even mark which slides they find confusing so that you know when they have questions. LectureTools contains a number of reporting features that will allow you to assess students’ participation after class, anonymously for the group or for individual students.

We are very pleased to announce that the developer of LectureTools, Dr. Perry Samson, will be here on Thursday, February 20. Dr. Samson is a Professor of Atmospheric Science at The University of Michigan. Dr. Samson will demonstrate the features of LectureTools and also share with you his personal story – why he developed LectureTools and how it has helped him enhance his own teaching in large group settings.

Lecture Tools is an application that has the potential to increase your interaction with students as well as students’ interaction with your content in classes of any size.

Please join us on February 20 at one of the following:

9-10 am in SU 2582
12-1 pm in COB 1210
3-4 pm in SU 2582

To register, please visit https://utdl.edu/DL_training/.


Call for Submissions: Blackboard Catalyst Awards

Every year, the Blackboard Catalyst Awards program recognizes outstanding professionals who push the boundaries of their educational programs and technology in order to deliver innovative and effective learning experiences to students. The Exemplary Course Program, one of six award categories, recognizes online and blended courses that demonstrate best practices in four major areas:

  • Course Design
  • Interaction & Collaboration
  • Assessment
  • Learner Support

Submitted courses are reviewed by a peer group of Blackboard clients using a rubric. Participants have reported that the experience has improved their course design and made them stronger course designers.

Visit Blackboard’s Catalyst Awards website for detailed information and important dates for the 2014 Exemplary Course Program

If you would like to submit your course, please contact our instructional designers for more information. Visit this link to view a sample submission form.

Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS)

The Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS) is a free weekly webinar series designed to help support and mentor faculty using Blackboard Learn. Harnessing its community of Blackboard users, BITS will share the top strategies and pedagogy for both increasing educator efficiency and improving learning outcomes. The program consists of weekly faculty training webinars that are taught by faculty and supported by Blackboard experts.

To register for one or more of the following sessions, visit:


  • Accessibility Matters! – Part Two
  • A Systematic Approach to Creating Accessible Video Content for Online Courses
  • BITS Office Hours: Course Design
  • Blackboard in the Flipped Classroom
  • Incorporating Gamification Into Your Curriculum
  • Maximize Engagement & Extend the Learning Experience with Social Learning
  • Organizing Your Course in Blackboard Learn
  • Setting Up Your Course in Blackboard Learn Without a Template
  • Strategies for Providing Effective Feedback to Students
  • Supporting the Seven Principles with Blackboard Learn
  • The Online Collaborative Experience

Join the Blackboard Exemplary Course Cohort (7/22 – 8/12)

Using the Blackboard Exemplary Course (ECP) Rubric as a guide, Blackboard’s Exemplary Course Cohort will provide theoretical concepts and practical tools for instructors to recognize, organize, and build online courses for both blended and online learners. Over the course of four weeks, ECP Directors and 2013 Exemplary Course Winners will expand upon each element of the rubric. This program is most beneficial to educators and designers who are new to online learning.

The cohort will not have weekly assignments, and there is no cost to participate. Live sessions will be held each Monday at 11 AM EDT and will run from July 22 until August 12. All sessions will be recorded and posted online.

To register and learn more, visit: http://learn.blackboard.com/ecpcohort

Tech Blast: The Flipped Classroom

A lot of students go to class to hear a lecture about the topic for that day. But what do you think would happen if the students had to watch a lecture online before going to class, and then they spent class time on learning activities?

Please check out this video or continue reading for more information on flipped classrooms.

In traditional classes, students sit and listen to their instructors lecture about the topic of the day for nearly the entire class period. After the class period ends, students are then expected to work individually on homework assignments outside the class period. However, more often than not, students only retain a minimal amount of the lecture material, with students then having to “teach themselves” through their assigned homework. In traditional classrooms, technology is often seen as a distraction, with students on their phones texting and checking Facebook or playing games on their laptops, as students find other activities more appealing than listening to a lecture for over an hour.

Enter the flipped classroom, where technology is seen as a resource rather than as a distraction. Instead of spending hours completing homework assignments without any assistance or direction, students can read or watch online lectures at their own pace. Students can skip through what they already know, or revisit what they did not understand the first time. Students can formulate their own questions and take them to the classroom, which is now a collaborative learning environment.

In the classroom, students can apply what they learned from viewing online lectures, and can collaborate with other students on learning activities. With classroom time freed up, instructors can then use classroom time to assist students with questions and work individually with students at risk of falling behind. Course progress is then measured by active participation rather than static attendance. Students who miss a class period do not miss out on class lectures.

Please also visit the following links for more information on the flipped classroom.

Please share your experiences with flipped classrooms. Do you feel it is an effective teaching model or is just a passing fad? How would incorporating elements of the flipped classroom improve your teaching methods or encourage student learning? Please add your comments below or contact utlv@utoledo.edu if you are interested in using aspects of the flipped classroom in your classroom.

Welcome To Tech Blast!

Over the past 20 years, technology has transformed the learning environment, and educational technology is a trend that is here to stay.  Whether teaching fully online or in a blended or web-assisted environment, there are many technological tools that can greatly facilitate teaching, learning and student engagement.

Each session of TechBlast will detail one particular tool that instructors can use to improve their teaching methods.  Instructors are then welcome to share their comments and experiences in using technology in teaching.  Our eventual plan is to combine all of our articles and user feedback into a book that can serve as a single reference point for using technological tools in education.

As we go through each session, we welcome your comments and feedback.  Also if you have a specific tool or method you would like us to feature, please let us know.

“Social Media” & Teaching

A little holiday reminder that online learning (whether fully online or in a “blended” mode) is about engagement. This entry from “Online Universities Dot Com” is a nice list of some of the ways “social media” might be used to create a learning environment, to help students and faculty connect, and to prepare students for a networked working environment.

Learning Ventures supports multiple approaches to online learning and will help you select and use the tools you need. From UT’s investments in Echo 360 (Lecture Capture), Wimba (video chat and screen-sharing), Blackboard, (our Learning Management System), the Virtual Lab and Office Communicator, to free and publicly accessible tools online (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), LV’s outstanding instructional designers are ready to help you succeed in the online, blended, and face-to-face learning environments.

Ohio ‘Faculty Innovator Awards’

If you would like to be nominated or if you would like support for a nomination you intend to make, please contact Learning Ventures:

Nominations Sought for Third Year of Faculty Innovator Awards
Awards Given to Faculty Using Digital Learning Materials to Lower Student Costs, Advance Learning

COLUMBUS – Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut today announced the University System of Ohio is seeking nominations from students, faculty, and administrators for its 2011 “Faculty Innovator Awards.” These awards will recognize 10 faculty members and/or teams from Ohio’s public universities, regional campuses, community colleges, and adult career centers (see map) for work they have done to introduce digital course materials in the classroom that enrich learning and make college textbooks more affordable for their students.

“Every year, these awards provide the opportunity for us to not just recognize those faculty who have gone the extra mile in using technology to lower costs for students,” said Chancellor Fingerhut, “but to also educate and inspire other faculty to follow their lead and to take those innovations and bring them into more classrooms across the state.”

Created in 2009, the Faculty Innovator Awards are part of Ohio’s effort to stimulate the creation of affordable, innovative instructional materials for students throughout the University System of Ohio. Winning faculty have used digital content (video, simulations, e-texts and journals, visualizations, etc.) into their courses in a wide array of ways, all while lowering the out-of-pocket cost of course materials for students and enriching the classroom experience. The 2010 awardees were congratulated in Columbus by First Lady Frances Strickland and the Chancellor, recognized on the floor of the Ohio Senate, and also by House Speaker Armond Budish.

This year’s nomination form, as well as information about the winners and innovations from 2009 and 2010, are showcased at Ohio Textbook HQ, an open forum for textbook solutions and discussion.

Nominations for Ohio’s 2011 Faculty Innovator Awards must be received by the University System of Ohio no later than 12:00 p.m. on November 23, 2010.

For more information, visit http://OhioTextbookHQ.ning.com.

Student Observer Program

All faculty will soon receive a notice via email about the “Student Observer Program.” This program is designed to give faculty valuable feedback about the learning environment from a trained student observer. This year, we are expanding the program in some important ways. First, we are offering at the instructors’ request video observation in which the student and faculty member will be able to discuss classroom management and presence. And second, we are involving students in the observation of online instruction (exclusively online and web-assisted), with observations reflecting different approaches to pedagogy and engagement required online. More will arrive soon, but here is the text of the description of the program that will be in your mailbox accompanied by a form for requesting observation. Finally, if you know a student who would make an ideal candidate for participation in our program, please forward the students’ name and a brief recommendation to Jeff Jablonski (jeffrey.jablonski(at)utoledo.edu), the SOP Coordinator.

How the Student Observer Program Works

  • Instructors elect to participate by filling out a request form and returning it to Christine Keller, “Learning Ventures,” MS #129, FH 3005C.
  • All faculty (tenure-track, part-time, visiting faculty, lecturers) are eligible to participate in the Student Observer Program. Observers can work with any undergraduate course regardless of the mode of delivery (face-to-face, blended, exclusively online). For part-time faculty, the request for observation must be submitted and approved by the chair of the department.
  • A student observer is assigned according to the class schedule and the observer’s availability.
  • The student observer is given the name, campus office, campus telephone number, and e-mail address of the instructor and arranges for an initial visit. The instructor is also given the name, telephone number, and e-mail address of the student observer.
  • The instructor and student observer meet to get acquainted and clarify expectations. The instructor should provide a course syllabus and any login information for online resources. The observer should be enrolled in all course-related web services.
  • The student observer visits the instructor’s class, gathers the requested information and prepares feedback for the instructor. A minimum of 3 classroom visits is recommended (or three hours of online contact). All information gathered by the student observer is confidential. No information is provided to anyone else unless the instructor specifically authorizes it. (Please note, however, that all reports are reviewed by the Student Observer Program Coordinator to ensure quality control.)
  • The student observer meets with the instructor and discusses the observation. He/she also prepares a report of typically 2-3 pages for the professor. This report may be included in a dossier, but it is not required to be shared.

UT Blackboard and “EduTech” Support Group

Blackboard got you down? Been staring at your screen for two hours hoping the solution to your problem will suddenly appear? Want to use new technologies to make life easier? Join LV’s outstanding instructional designers for an informal lunchtime gathering for discussion of Blackboard and other technologies that can help promote learning.

When: Wednesday, September 29, 12-1:20
Where: Memorial Field House, Rm. 3070

Brown-bag lunch. Beverages provided. ALL faculty are welcome. Online faculty or faculty at a distance will be invited to join via web. Instructions will be posted on this site a day before the meeting. Search “support group” on this site to find instructions.