Recent (and not so) Writing

A great way to see what I've written for work over the past decade is to search the iTeachU site by UAF eCampus. Use "Janene McMahan" as the search ... how? https://iteachu.uaf.edu/?s=janene+mcmahan After the ?s= you can put in your words separated by '+' A few of the titles and dates plus excerpts follow Transitioning from on campus to online by Janene McMahan | Jul 26, 2021 Your use of Canvas can help you translate your face-to-face course into an enjoyable online experience for you and your students. Here are…

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Accessibility includes retrieval of materials

What does access mean? In addition to the accessibility of your materials, consider other types of access. Students may not have the money to pay for good internet access or be in an area where it is available. Use the lens of ‘if you can’t reach it, it doesn’t matter if it is accessible.’ Therefore, any item you work to make fully accessible should be reachable by underrepresented tech audiences and poorer individuals. Students want to access and work on their studies using their mobile devices; making…

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Adapting to recent changes in Blackboard

Blackboard was upgraded last month to provide users with better performance and reliability. Get comfortable with the recent changes by reading our tips and solutions for some common tasks. These are the top things you need to know: The editor is more powerful, allows for distraction-free writing, dispels with the formatting nightmares of recent past, and allows you to make accessible materials easily.The date management tool interface has changed.Adding images, or anything you have stored on your local drive, is both a few more clicks and much…

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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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Rolling out a renewed iTeach Online

iTeach Online "iTeach Online offers foundational training in online course design. Through a series of 5 modules, faculty start to build a solid online course founded in current research and relevant learning experiences. Faculty who complete the self-paced version of iTeach Online are prepared to design and teach an online course, and are eligible for a Teachers Who Learn award, endorsed by the Provost’s Faculty Development Team.  *iTeach Online will open for self-paced participants on Wednesday, May 6th." This is being tested by two co-workers right now. -- I've…

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Go back to your happy place

As an instructional designer, I help faculty with their courses. The faculty member is the content expert; I'm a support person. I want to help them make the course easy to navigate, engaging to the student—learning can be fun—and, whenever possible, inspire or remind the teacher why he or she loves doing this. In early 2014 I asked a faculty member to remember his favorite assignment from when he was in school. His face lit up immediately; he got excited and told me all about it. Then…

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Week three ‘school at home’

I've joked a bit about being a brand new homeschooling mom. However, that's not really what is happening. ICS, Immaculate Conception School, in Fairbanks where my son is in first grade is doing an AMAZING job of providing resources, a layout of what is due each day of every week including links to videos, audio files, sheets to print out for practice. Ah, print out... what if you don't have a printer? Well, you can use a regular piece of paper. Plus he has workbooks for math,…

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Love Your Data

I've been a data geek for quite some time. Right now you cannot see it on my site so much because I have not been explicit about it. However, I will be filling in how data and I have been happily intertwined over the years. At UAF in 1993 I worked for Administrative Services as a Total Quality Management (TQM) Coordinator. We, Melody Erickson and I, worked with 17 teams over two years. During the first part we co-taught and lead different units through TQM practices. During…

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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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