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Archive for the ‘Teaching & Learning Tips’ Category

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

Instructions for uploading your syllabus to Blackboard for public viewing

Save your syllabus in .pdf or word format on your desktop or other place where you can find it later.

Go to Blackboard:  https://blackboard.utdl.edu.

Sign in with your utad name and password.

You should see a list of your courses on the right.

Click on the title of your Fall 2012 course.

Click “Public Area” on the left.

Click “Build Content” and then “File” on the drop down menu.

Next to “Find File” click “Browse My Computer”.

Locate your syllabus file and choose it.

Enter the course number and name in the “Name” field.

Be sure that “yes” is chosen next to “Permit Users to View this Content”.

Click the “Submit” button.

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.



Friday, February 24, 2012
9:00am – 4:00pm
Carlson Library, Room 1025

Lunch will be provided. (Please let us know if you have special dietary needs when you register.)

Workshop Description

Are you interested in designing your online/blended courses to maximize student learning and success? If so, this workshop is for you.

Quality Matters (QM) is designed to improve the quality of online and blended courses by establishing a peer-reviewed quality assurance review process. You will become familiar with the Quality Matters standards and participate in a practice peer course review of an online course using the review tools. Participants in this hands-on workshop will be other online/blended instructors from both The University of Toledo and the surrounding area. After successfully completing this workshop, you will be eligible to move into the Online Peer Reviewer Certification. In addition, you will gain practical ideas to improve your own courses using the QM Standards.

Upon Completion of this QM training workshop, you will be able to:

  • Describe the underlying principles of the Quality Matters Project
  • Use the QM Rubric to evaluate and improve your own online/blended course design
  • Apply the Peer Course Review Rubric
  • Decide if you wish to participate as a QM peer reviewer

Registration Information:

  • Registration is free for all UT faculty and you can register online at https://www.utdl.edu/DL_training/ (bottom of the training schedule page)
  • Only 15 seats are reserved for UT faculty, so please register early—registrations will be accepted in the order in which they are received. Once the 15 reserved seats are filled, additional registrants will be automatically placed on a waiting list.
  • Registration/cancellation deadline is Friday, February 10, 2012.
  • Please note that any cancellations must be received before 5 PM on February 10, 2012. All “no-shows” on the day of the workshop will be charged a $200 fee if cancelations are not made prior to this deadline. 

Sharing students’ files to the class

Some instructors have required students to submit and share work using the Messages tool.  However, the Messages tool allows users to attach only one file at a time, and can create organizational challenges for students.  Additionally, large file attachments sent to all course users increases the overall file size of a course, which can impede system backups.  Therefore, instructors should encourage students to share work in other ways.

One alternative to using the Messages tool would be to use a Discussion forum.  In a forum, students can attach files to a discussion post, or copy their assignment into the post itself.  This method allows students to submit their assignment in one place, thus making it easy for everyone to view the work.  This solution can also be used for peer review and critique, as classmates can respond to student work with comments or suggestions.

Another option would be to use the File Exchange feature in the Groups tool.  The instructor can create a group that includes the entire class, and then enable the “File Exchange” option. This option allows students to view their classmates’ assignments from the File Exchange.

A final option would be to create a Content Area where the instructor could showcase student  assignments.  Once assignments are collected with the Assignment tool or a File Response Quiz, the instructor could then upload student files to the Content Area, and make the items available for students to view.  Alternatively, the instructor could make a .zip archive of student files and upload the .zip file to the course.  Students could then save that archive to their computers for offline access.

If you would like to learn more about the tools and concepts outlined above, please contact your LV instructional designer or UTLV@utoledo.edu

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.

Accessibility and Teaching Online

This article at the Chronicle today reminds us that accessibility in our online courses is an important issue. ProfHacker is thinking broadly about accessibility and universal design principles and it’s worth a look, but it is important to remember that our courses must remain accessible to all students. Blackboard 9.1 is fully compatible with technologies that ensure accessibility (screen readers, various forms of input, etc.), but your course’s accessibility depends in part on what you put on it. For instance, many faculty are opting to teach with open-source materials freely available on the web or using scanned copies of articles, staying within boundaries of “fair use.” However, unless your scanned copy is easily “read” by an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) program, what the seeing-impaired student gets will be either nonsense or nothing. If you use media files, are they accessible? Is your You-Tube video close-captioned?

If your course–whether online, face-to-face, or “hybrid”–needs to be made fully accessible, we strongly recommend that you contact the Office of Accessibility long before the beginning of a semester to make suitable arrangements. LV will work with the Office of Accessibility to ensure that exams and documents are accessible for all online or web-assisted courses in which accommodation has been requested.

Finally, please be sure to submit your book orders on time. This is not just to satisfy the bookstore’s need for an early order. The primary reason to submit your book order early is so that the Office of Accessibility can help make arrangements (digitizing textbooks, captioning, etc.) for students who need help accessing course materials.