Monday, March 31, 2014

March Session


The session began with a presentation by Dr. Rose Beal (Theology) on the use of Google Drive.  Instead of providing her students with the ubiquitous Power Point as the basis for notes to the class lectures, Beal  is now using  Google Drive as the framework for her classes.  In the files she sets up here, students take notes collaboratively on their laptops, which she and the class can see in real time. In this way she can see what the level of understanding is very immediately and can then address the learning deficiencies quickly.  As students see what notes their peers are taking, they can get better ideas about what might be most important.  In this way some students act as peer models for the others and help to increase overall understanding of the concepts. In using this technology Beal hopes to move students from being mere "recipients of technology to users and creators of technology" and to insure that, along with learning theories of theology, they are also learning to work collaboratively and will be coming out of the university with what she refers to as the more "enduring skills" needed for the workplaces of the future.


Dr. Nathan Lien (Chemistry) followed up with a description of how he is flipping his chemistry classrooms.  Lien puts his lectures into 10-30 minute Tegrity videos  and posts them to Blackboard.  Students are then charged to watch the videos as their homework. Class time then is spent working out solutions to problems on prepared worksheets.  Students are allowed to work in groups or to go it alone if they prefer.  To promote this more collaborative and active learning classroom, Lien moved his classes into a venue that enabled easy moving around of the furniture  (desks and chairs with wheels) and discovered that students soon became adept at arranging furniture to suit their learning needs.  As in Beal's experience with Google Drive, this experiment has resulted in some students stepping up to act as role models and to help others achieve understanding of the concepts.  Lien expressed some disappointment in the comparison of test scores between his flipped classroom students and a few previous classes, but thinks that this may be an anomaly and that scores will begin to show improvement in the next few years.

Lin

Some good reading on flipping the classroom:
From eCampus News
From the Chronicle of Higher Education
More from the Chronicle

Missed the session? View it here on Tegrity

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February's Session

In this session, "Talk to Me," two faculty members described how they have enlisted  the power of social media technologies to promote engaged student response.  Lisa Truax  (Art) began by sharing her experiences with Flipgrid, a video response tool from developers at the University of Minnesota.

The system is available free for a 3-week trial and then costs $60.00  for continuing use.  It may shared across a department and it is free to students.  Faculty send out questions and then students send back a video response within a 90 minute time frame.  Students can view and "like" each others responses as well.  Truax has used the system to track student responses to various arts activities that they are required to experience.  Not only is she easily able to insure that the students are attending the events, but the system also serves as a springboard for more discussion in the classroom.

Web_voting_mobile-2a2e3074988a1dff09ee4550680ed876Janel Schultz (Math) talked about how she is using Poll Everywhere, the classroom response system that incorporates mobile devices. In this system students use their cell phones to respond to various questions that Schultz puts out both during classroom periods and within the videos she creates for students to view outside of class as part of her "flipped" classroom activities.  Schultz uses the app to gauge student learning as well as to keep students engaged.  It also works to help Schultz determine if students are watching the required video homework; she imbeds a poll in the video and, while it primarily works to gauge student understanding of the math questions, it also lets her know who has been doing the homework and who will get the points for doing so.  When asked if there was ever a problem with students not having phones to respond with, Schultz said that her students all seemed to have a smart phone with them in her classes. Answers may also be sent via Twitter or web browsers and responses can be seen live on the web or in a PowerPoint presentation.



Missed the session?  View it here on Tegrity.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

January's Session

In this session, "What Have You Done for me Lately," four faculty members described how they are using a variety of different e-portfolio programs to provide opportunities for students to document their achievements.  Dean Beckman (Communications) uses eFolio, a free portfolio resource for Minnesota residents, students, and workers, in two of his classes. Students use these programs as a way to market themselves to future employees.  Their work on these portfolios is part of their grade. One of Beckman's students, Jesus Martinez, demonstrated how he has used the program to effectively package his professional activities, his education, and his skills.

Trisha Karr and Mario de Calvo, both from the Psychology Department, use Google Sites, a structured wiki and web page creation tool, with their classes for portfolio development. Again the long term purpose of the tool is to help students market themselves to future employers.  The tool's  multi-tier permissions and accessibility feature (owner, editor, and viewer) insures that the students' work can be safely shared with instructors, classmates, and future employers. It has a presentation feature as well and allows for easy insertion of videos.

Lisa Truax (Art) demonstrated how her students use a variety of sharing apps such as ArtSite, which "combines a teaching Museum to spark an appreciation of global art and civilization with a Gallery and Portfolio where students display and share their own art and writing" and  Three Ring, in which students use mobile phones or iPads to take pictures of work or to record presentations and discussions. Her students also create their own web sites in their Web Design class and then use these sites to showcase the art work they have created while at SMU, again providing effective "resumes."

Missed the session?  View it here on Tegrity.

Monday, December 16, 2013

December's Session

Representatives from the IT staff took the stage at the well attended December 4th session.  Presenters focused on the changes to Blackboard coming in January as SMU moves to the newest version. Of most interest to the group were Blackboard's enhancements which were broken down in terms of social media, mobility, and accessibility.  Participants were able to get hands on experience with  the new version on laptops set up in the McEnery Lounge.

IT staff concluded with information about the new phone system coming in the next semester and updates on improvements to campus wide wireless access.

Missed the session? View it here on Tegrity.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November Session Re-scheduled

November's session, "Oh Brave New World, that Has Such People in It" which was to highlight new social media technology, will be re-scheduled for sometime during the Spring semester.  Dates for Spring programming will be be announced soon. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

"Open locks, whoever knocks"

In observation of Disability Awareness Month, this session featured Karen Hemker, Director of Disability Services, and two of her student guests demonstrating how they use technology to ensure that educational resources and opportunities are open to all students at Saint Mary's regardless of ability or disability. 

Graduate, Eric Qualey, talked about his experience with dyslexia and described what technologies he used to succeed in the classroom, as well as those he uses in his current job.  He also gave the audience (mostly faculty) tips about what they could do to make their classrooms friendlier to students with dyslexia.

Kelsey Waters, a current SMU student who is blind, demonstrated the technologies she has mastered that enable her to translate text into audio and into a braille keyboard device and to generally navigate successfully in academia.

Both presenters held the audience rapt with their inspiring success stories. 

To see what was an amazing presentation go to Tegrity for the entire performance.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

September 2013 Session

"Summer's lease hath all too short a date"
This was especially true for the dedicated faculty who taught online classes this summer.  Dr. Elizabeth Seebach (Psychology), Josh Lallaman (Biology), Dr. Valerie Edwards (Sociology), and Blake Pickart (Business) shared their experiences with this developing Saint Mary's initiative. All four stressed the importance of the initial face to face meeting that took place before the online sessions began.  These meetings were good places to get a sense of who the students would be (some instructors even took pictures of each student), what some of the student issues might be (working full time for example) and to make sure all students had access to appropriate technology. All agreed that these meetings ought to be held earlier in the Spring semester and that they should include some sort of engaging activity.

Course design discussion centered around time span difficulties--how to have enough time for discussion and yet keep on track with the introduction of each new topic.  As Dr. Seebach said she had to be "behind and ahead at the same time."  All agreed on the need to keep synchronicity requirements low, as group discussions were hard to schedule.

Panel members shared their attempts to engage their classes as a community using Google, Facebook, and Blackboard.  Lallaman said it was harder to do this with a big class size.

Office hours and time management were also discussed.  Surprisingly most students didn't use the posted office hours which included opportunities for texting, using Skype, etc. preferring instead to use the old fashioned email for most of their communication.

 Panel members all said they would do online teaching again, but some said they much preferred face to face style teaching for their discipline. 

Missed the session?  View it on Tegrity.