UT Online

Archive for December, 2010

“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.

COIL “Blended Learning” Roundtable

Faculty from all colleges are invited to attend the “Blended Learning Roundtable.” The first meeting will be on January 5, 2010 in the Memorial Field House room 1910. Subsequent meetings will be held on Feb 9, March 2, and April 6. All meetings will be held at Noon.

The sessions will be devoted to the definition, implementation, and assessment of “blended learning.” Blended learning is distinct from “blended teaching”–it is not, for example, a “blend” of face-to-face and online modes of instruction. But then what exactly is blended learning? This series will be devoted to the discussion of learning-centeredness, the role of the instructor in “blended learning,” the use of “differentiated instruction,” and the role of technology in an emerging concept of blended learning that focuses exclusively on the needs of diverse learners.

Seating will be limited (at least in the first session), and priority will be given to faculty teaching ALS seminars and to faculty associated with COIL learning communities. Please RSVP to utlv@utoledo.edu.

Using Force Completion in Online Tests or Not

Blackboard 9.1 provides a test delivery option known as “Force Completion.”  Like many other security settings, there is a correlation between ease of accessibility and security.  The Force Completion option provides an added layer of security in that the student cannot access the test, close out of the test, and then reenter the test.  While the option forces students to submit the first attempt they start, students are not able to resume their test in the event that the student makes a user error or encounters a technical problem.  In this case, the student will receive an error message saying that the test is already in progress, and the student must contact the instructor to have his/her attempt reset.  Therefore, it is important to realize that each individual student will be taking their exams in different environments.  There is an endless variety of operating systems, web browsers, internet service providers, and connection types that may contribute to a student being kicked out of his/her test.  For example, a student could be taking a test from a laptop that is on a mobile broadband connection (from a cellular provider), and the laptop drops the signal, the student would then be kicked out and not be able to get back in. 

If an instructor is wishing to maximize test accessibility, then the use of “force completion” and other test presentation settings should be evaluated.  The instructor may want to consider delivering all the questions at once, and creating a test that does not use “force completion”.  If an instructor is concerned about academic honesty, then the instructor can use random blocks to pull questions from a large test bank, using Respondus LockDown Browser, or using proctored exams.

Teaching “Carnival”

Time to head over to the Chronicle and Prof. Hacker’s “Teaching Carnival” (a curated collection of links from around the web on a specific topic). Good stuff.