Three ways to make your course more accessible

Originally posted 10/20/2020 on iTeachU. I’ve been a web developer and a teacher for decades. These worlds overlap when it comes to accessibility. So, for this tip I’m going to define accessibility as making your materials usable for every student regardless of their abilities. More students than you’d suspect do the majority of their coursework on their phones, or may rely on borrowed or public computers. The pandemic has brought to light the number of people who live with insufficient or intermittent internet access. These students also benefit…

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One perspective on Quality Matters course certifications

We embraced Quality Matters (QM) as a framework for continuous improvement of online and blended courses just over four years ago. To get a faculty perspective I reached out to Gary Copus, professor emeritus, and asked him to share any highlights, benefits or challenges experienced as part of certifying three UAF Justice courses: Introduction to Justice (JUST 110), Research Methods (JUST 222), and Ethics and Justice (JUST 300). This tip provides his answers and a few paths you might take to make use of Quality Matters. History…

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Quick communication with students

Feedback Students should know whether they are on track. Many don’t. You can help. Seed your early feedback and scoring comments with phrases suggesting you want them to know what their goals are and you want them to know how to see your feedback. You may want them to open up an ongoing dialog with you about their progress. Describe how they check the feedback you provide and their scores. If this isn’t in your “Getting Started” folder, consider adding it and making an announcement linking to…

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Three ways to set up your course more efficiently

The semester is underway; a review of previous semesters may help you change your workflow now or prep for your next course. Here are my tips on setting expectations, managing your workflow and reusing layouts. Set expectations USE DUE DATES: As an instructional designer I encourage faculty to use due dates; students tend to work to deadline. Letting them know your required due dates is essential for their planning. Reiterate deadlines when communicating with students. EXPLAIN LATE WORK POLICIES: As an adjunct, I’ve seen students turn items in late.…

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New Box View replaces Crocodoc for inline grading

As of this month when your students turn in programming code and graphics inside of Blackboard you can use the New Box View inline grading tool to view the code and add comments to the images. If you previously used Crocodoc to quickly view spreadsheets or papers inside of the Blackboard Grade Center, you’ll find the expanded list of supported file types a breath of fresh air References File Types and Fonts Supported in Box Content Preview. (2017, July 21). Annotate Submissions. Transitioning from Crocodoc to New…

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Guide students through your course

Guide students through your course verbally and visually. Whether your discipline is highly visual or not, using a picture to show the student where they are in the course or semester is helpful. You might want to use a quick video to show students how to navigate your course shell. If that’s not in the works consider providing a course calendar and course map. Both have value. Calendars are fairly easy to create while adding a course map can show how assignments flow from the topics you are delving into. Take a moment to grab pen and paper, crayons, your laptop or whatever tools are at hand. Ask yourself what visual maps you use most. Use one of them as a template for what you build and deliver to your students.

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Providing feedback in Blackboard two ways

In CITS F222 Website Design I informally use rubrics for WordPress posts, replies and Blackboard discussion thread participation. This semester I decided to use at least one rubric in a much more formal manner. This tip is the result of what I learned during that process. You can use rubrics informally or in a much more structured way. Inside of Blackboard you can attach a rubric for grading purposes. I made one for my introductory assignment to experience the process from making it up through using it…

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Online office hours – Teaching Tip

It’s important to establish a way for students to reach you when teaching an online course. If it is not easy--for you or the students--it isn’t likely to work. In this week’s Teaching Tip, we share a few instructors methods for connecting one-on-one with students. Swedish Prime Minister Tage Erlander using an Ericsson videophone to speak with Lennart Hyland, a popular TV show host (1969) Giving your students an avenue to reach you as well as clearly outlined times to do so is good practice. Encouraging them…

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Teaching Tip: Extra Credit

How you choose to use extra credit can enhance a student’s learning opportunities. Whether you’re for or against the use, a few simple rules will make it easier to deploy. Consider using optional quizzes over the reading material prior to the start of class to encourage students to be prepared for in-class discussion. Some students might use it as a self-assessment opportunity. This teaching tip also has a nugget (or two) about how to search for information. Read More: TT-ExtraCredit

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