Elon Technology Blog

Discussion: experience your students by the words they express

Discussion boards can encourage conversation outside the classroom walls. Here are some tips to use this tool across disciplines.2954658325_24afb04069

  • Post pictures, videos, and/or audio of students to build community in the LMS
  • Set rules and standards for good netiquette before the first post, or have the students develop these guidelines
  • Ask questions focused on knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation
  • Require students to provide substantial posts backed up with class information, readings, and references or resources
  • Post an example of a stellar response
  • Alternate postings by assigning students to respond every other week; or summarize discussion points in the forum
  •  Incorporate external website links to maintain current discussions
  • Summarize the important points in the discussion boards weekly as announcements
  • Assign groups a different course topic to explore; post in the main discussion area for review and comment
  • Assign discussion groups to create a product such as:  a quiz for the class, write a response to an author, compose a critique of a reading, brainstorm a topic, create a journal article review, compare and contrast an issue, reinforce procedures, or post products in the main discussion area for review and comment

Learn more

If you’re interested in learning more about blended, flipped or online courses, contact Teaching and Learning Technologies at 336.278.5006 or tlt@elon.edu to schedule a consultation.

Image via Flikr User Evgeny Pavlov / CC BY-SA 2.0

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Elements of successful journaling

Image of a stack of journals Journals are a means self analysis and reflection.  Journaling requires students to synthesize materials, compose their thoughts, and write their opinions about specific topics. This allows instructors to build relationships with students individually.

Key elements

There are several key elements identified in the research for successful journaling: Continue reading »

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Using Moodle for collaboration

Did you know it’s easy to create a collaborative environment in Moodle using several communication tools?

“A bird in the hand is good, but a bird in the bush might sing,” states an old Chinese proverb.  We know Moodle has collaborative tools, but how can it support student-led activities and collaboration?  In addition to forums, instructors can use wiki and chat features to facilitate collaboration.  In this post, we’ll define each and recommend ways to integrate them into courses.

Continue reading »

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Teaching class while off campus with Moodle

Moodle SuitecaseDid you know it’s easy to create a unit in Moodle to hold class virtually?

Opportunities arise for faculty to attend/present at conferences during the term. As travel remains an important piece of teaching, holding class while off campus provides professors peace of mind that students are still learning, synthesizing and assimilating information. Creating a course unit in Moodle for students meets this need. Continue reading »

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Real-time conversations with Moodle Chat: Part 2

Emoticon imageI’ve always enjoyed using forms of instant messaging because it’s quick, non-invasive, and informal. Moodle chat is a type of instant messaging and is especially well-suited for short messages, unrehearsed exchanges, office hours, meetings, question and answer sessions and test-preparation. Earlier this year we posted information about using chat for synchronous communication, ideas to incorporate it into teaching, and how to enable it.  In further exploring the Moodle chat feature there are two things you might find useful.

Continue reading »

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Real-time conversations with Moodle Chat

Collage of IM slangForums are the heart of communication in an online course because they provide the primary synchronous and asynchronous method for interaction. Instructors can create as many forums as needed for instruction.

Chat is a secondary mode of communication, typically synchronous, which provides instant feedback.  Unlike asynchronous forums that encourage learners to take time to compose thoughts before responding, chat rooms are informal places where learners follow the conversation on screen as it unfolds, much like observing a face-to-face conversation.  Text contributions are typically concise, written in an informal tone, often lacking appropriate grammar and filled with abbreviations such as: Continue reading »

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Questions from our faculty about Moodle

Teaching and Learning Technologies taught an online course titled, Making the Most of Moodle. The course covered topics such as:

• adding files
• assignments and feedback
• course communication
• grades
• quizzes
• groups

The faculty enrolled in the course had a forum they were encouraged to post questions to anonymously; facilitators responded within 24 hours.

This blog post reflects a few problems faculty were having with drag and drop, adding files, opening links in a separate window, and backing up the grade-book. Dan Reis, Instructional Technologist, researched the questions and responded to the forum.

Q. I can’t drag and drop in Internet Explorer. Is there anything I can do to fix this?

A. Drag and drop is not compatible with Internet Explorer. If you use Firefox 5 (or later) or Chrome 12 (or later) you will be able to use the drag and drop feature.

Q. I have figured out how to add files but this method is particularly slow. Is there a way I can add several files more quickly?

A. If the files you want to upload are in one folder on your computer, you can Zip that folder and upload all the documents inside the folder at once. To do this, you must create the zip file on your computer first, then add that zip file into a Moodle folder and unzip it. The important part is creating the folder on Moodle and adding the zip to the folder ( not in a topic area). Once it’s inside the folder, click on the Menu icon and select “unzip.”

Q. How do I add links that will open up in another window rather than inside Moodle?

A. To create a link that opens in a new window, highlight the text you want to make into a link. Then click on the “Insert/edit link” icon. Then, paste or type the link address in the “Link URL” box. Then, to get the link to open in a new window (or tab), under “Target”, choose “Open in a new window (_blank).”

Q. If I backup a course with all defaults, is the grade-book backed up?

A. Yes, but you must decide whether or not to include existing student data in the backup. When performing a backup, the only parameter you should change is to not include user data. If everything else is left as-is, the grade-book will transfer properly.

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The Moodle wiki

Post-its on a wallA wiki is a collection of collaboratively authored web documents. Wikis were named from the Hawaiian term “wiki wiki” which means “very fast.”   Indeed wikis are a quick method for creating content as a class, group or individual.  Wikis don’t have a center of control but rather the community edits and develops content directly in a browser, without any knowledge of HTML.   A wiki is created with a front page and authors add subsequent pages by creating links. Continue reading »

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Online alternatives to cancelling class

IMG_2307When inclement weather, illness, or travel requires you to be away from campus, consider using online alternatives to engage students in the work of your class.

Here are a few simple suggestions:

  • Use Moodle as a central location for students to find course information, lead and facilitate discussions, and post and submit assignments. You can also live chat with your students using Moodle’s text-based chat.
  • Use web conferencing tools like WebEx to hold class synchronously.
  • Introduce a topic/concept using video. Use Kaltura to record a quick introduction using your web cam or record your screen, and then upload the video to your course in Moodle.
  • Add audio to PowerPoint slides, and then upload your file to Moodle.
  • Select a video from the Learning On Demand site and lead a discussion in Moodle.
  • Assign Lynda Training resources to help students learn new technology skills like web design, presenting with PowerPoint, editing video, and more.

Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT) can support you with implementing any of the above ideas as well as provide additional suggestions for online alternatives.

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An overview of James Lang’s book on cheating lessons

Cheating Lessons cover

Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty by James Lang

I read an insightful book recently that made me stop and think. It was so inspiring that I decided to blog this fall about the topic. Academic dishonesty is brought up frequently in Teaching and Learning Technologies Online Course Design Working Group lunches and it’s a topic that many of us are concerned about.

I’ll begin the academic dishonesty blog series with a book overview of Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty (Harvard University Press, 2013) by James Lang. (The following posts will examine techniques faculty can use to deter academic dishonesty in classes as well as recommendations by our online Elon faculty). James Lang is an Associate Professor of English, and the Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, at Assumption College. He also has a regular column in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Continue reading »

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