Latest & Greatest Technology Tips for Your Online Teaching Spaces


What ExAcTlY is an Online Teaching Space?

image of computer screen with instructor and chalkboardIn a few discussions that I have been a part of lately, including updating the UAA Student Fact Finder Blackboard information, it has come to my attention the definition of “Online Teaching Environment or Space” can be a little vague, or even misunderstood.

So let me clarify it for you as far as UAA Academic Innovations & eLearning is concerned.

All classes in the UAA Class Schedule receive an online course shell in UAA Blackboard. This means traditional, hybrid or online courses all have an online space for faculty and students to use during the course of the semester.

Why is this important to you?

  1. You can create online content that your students can access 24/7
  2. You can engage students in online discussions outside the classroom
  3. You can send announcements and information to students outside a classroom
  4. You can encourage students to collaborate using these tools and publish work to share with their classmates
  5. You can use the Grade Center features to collect, review and submit grades to students online. This thing is really a time management hero!
  6. You can track when students submit assignments and create quizzes and other learning modules that auto-grade.
  7. You can build it and reuse modules in subsequent semesters
  8. You can import publisher test banks and create unique tests & quizzes
  9. You can embed video/audio and other online resources for students to review previous to class
  10. You can create your own video/audio or online media and embed it in your online space

Is 10 enough? There are more really great things you can do using this space! Currently Blackboard is the learning management system at UAA, and students also have Google Apps for Education and other online options to use in their personal learning environments.

Need help with organizing and setting up an online course environment? Give me a shout!



New Study: Engage Kids with 7x the Effect | Edutopia

New Study: Engage Kids with 7x the Effect | Edutopia.

This blog by Todd Finley @Edutopia gives a great list of how faculty can add authentic engagement to their classes. Need ideas & examples for face to face and online engagement…give me a call!

(Click on the title link above to read the original post…it’s good)

Excerpt  from “Engage with 7x the Effect….

Engagement Method #1: Lively Teaching

Involves group work, games, and projects. The emphasis is on the students constructing knowledge, not on the teacher delivering it. Think social and fun.

Engagement Method #2: Academic Rigor

The instructor creates cognitively demanding tasks and environments (called “academic press”), emphasizing that students will need to work hard. The teacher also shows passionate investment in the content. According to research that Cooper cites, students’ perception of challenge is a strong predictor of achievement gains.

Engagement Method #3: Connective Instruction

In connective instruction, the teacher helps students make personal connections to the class, content, and learning. The power of connective instruction comes from the instructor helping students see the curriculum as critical to their current lives, their future, and their culture. Additionally, six instructor behaviors play into creating high quality relationships where, according to Andrew Martin, students “actually internalize the beliefs valued by significant others.”

  1. Promoting relevance: relating content to students’ lives.

  2. Conveying care: understanding learners’ perspectives.

  3. Concern for students’ well-being: demonstrating knowledge of students’ lives.

  4. Providing affirmation: telling students they are capable of doing well; using praise, written feedback, and opportunities for success.

  5. Relating to students through humor: showing that you enjoy working with young people (not as a class, as individuals).

  6. Enabling self-expression: connecting learning and identity by encouraging students’ expression of ideas, values, and conceptions of self.


Adding Active Learning Assignments to Blended Learning, or not?

After reading the BlendKit2014 Chapter 4 materials on how to merge active learning, blended course concepts and technology to my courses I felt a bit like this…

I think this will work…I hope this will work…I am confident this will work (I think?)

So I tried several attempts at putting my assignment ideas for a blended course into the direct/indirect/online grid, I found the linear format to be too strict. So I found myself drawn to the following Learning Assessment Cycle Grid.

Learning Assessment Cycle with Blended Learning Activities noted

Learning Assessment Cycle with Blended Learning Activities noted

This cycle is how I already think of learning assessments and planning cycles, and the technologies are built into the online assignments: Blog, Discussion Board and Wiki tools within the LMS system and scorm video tutorials available from the publisher and through our Atomic Learning license. These are using interior technologies for a 100 level introduction to computers course.

When teaching a higher level course with more theory I would use technologies like VoiceThread and Google Apps collaborative tools.


Student-to-Student Interaction: Boom! Mind Blown!

Sugata Mitra, Educational Researcher

Educational Researcher, School in the Cloud

I met Sugata Mitra at Blackboard World in Las Vegas in July 2013. I had not heard of him. His closing keynote address was a “BOOM! Mind Blown!” moment.

I am not a natural educator in my own mind. I have difficulty with large groups of young people, so I never wanted to “be a teacher” like many of my high school peers, but I have found a niche that my personality and expertise has been a joy: Teaching ADULTS! Prof. Mitra’s experiments (TED TALK HERE) blew my mind. As a parent, as an educator, as a human in this crazy 21st Century technology world we live in.

His findings don’t surprise me, his ability to show people what works, his humor in turning the mirror on our education systems, his straight forward no holds barred sweet accent, that makes everything he says fun, telling us (the world) to look at this and simplify everything you are doing so our kids can learn! Yes mind blown…

Related to my career: Teaching Adults, easy. We are kids with baggage. We (adults) have learned just enough to be scared and afraid of “reformatting” hard drives, of breaking the computer…which keeps us (adults) from wanting to try to move forward and holds us back making it easy, very easy, to just say “I like doing it this way, it’s what I know, why change?”

Bringing this all the way back around to the question: “Is there value in student-to-student and student-to-instructor interaction in all courses regardless of discipline? I holla a resounding YES!

Students always need student-to-instructor interaction, that is instruction and guidance, but student-to-student interaction is vital to learning!

Adult students can ease each others fears, as they have similar fears, they can help each other move past these feelings of inadequacy that 21st Century technology create in them, pairing up adults in group work around the computer is awesome! I like a group better than one on one because the “students” talk to each other, share what they know and stop doing that “What do I do now?” every step thing that happens. Especially teachers, they move to teach mode and teach the parts they get with each other. A much better, deeper, sweeter teaching experience every single time!

Sugata Mitra’s example of Activity Based eLearning can give examples of how to use face-2-face time in a blended course to engage and create student-to-student learning.

Hole in the Wall Website

Sugata Mitra’s Hole in the Wall project has spanned from one computer for children in India, to a global scale.

I feel like saying if you watch this TED Talk and review the Hole in the Wall project and aren’t re-purposed and re-passioned about your teaching, you might want to change professions today…this stuff is THAT good.


2014-NMC Horizon Report- higher education.pdf

See on Scoop.itPedagogy & Higher Education

The NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Higher Education Edition is a collaborative effort between the NMC and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), an EDUCAUSE Program. This eleventh edition describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in education. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, giving campus leaders and practitioners a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The format of the report is new this year, providing these leaders with more in-depth insight into how the trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership and practice.

Lara N. Madden‘s insight:

PDF version for reading.

See on


How to Focus Attention in Adult Learning and E-learning

See on Scoop.itPedagogy & Higher Education

Studies show that focus is a key attribute for performance improvement and success in life. Yet today’s modern workplace is full of distractions, from text to tweets. Check out these effective techniques for increasing focus for adult learners participating in e-learning, classroom training, and other learning events.

Lara N. Madden‘s insight:

This is an interesting aspect of elearning, focus, focus, focus

See on


The Nine Events of Instructions – Review, What do you think?

Robert Gagne’s Instruction Design Model: “The Nine Events of Instructions” C. Pappas Video

Step 1: Gain Attention

  • Capture the attention of those learning (animated tutorial)
  • Stimuli that ensure reception of coming instruction

Step 2: Inform Learner of Objectives

  • Internal process of expectancy
  • List of learning objectives
  • Level of expectation for learning
  • What will the learner be able to perform after the instruction?
  • Motivate the learner to complete the lesson.

Step 3: Stimulate Recall of Prior Learning

  • Recall of existing, relevant knowledge
  • Retrieval to working, short-term memory
  • Previous experience, previous concepts
  • Correlate new information with prior knowledge

Step 4: Present Stimulus Material

  • Display the content
  • Pattern recognition; selective perception
  • New content (chunked, explained, then demonstrated)
  • Multimedia (audio, video, graphics)

Step 5: Provide Learner Guidance

  • Guidance on the new content
  • Chunking, rehearsal, encoding
  • Assist learners in order to encode information for long-term storage
  • Guidance strategies (case studies, examples, mnemonics)

Step 6: Elicit Performance

  • Practice (new skills or behavior)
  • Confirm correct understanding
  • Demonstrating learning
  • Retrieval, responding

Step 7: Provide Feedback

  • Specific, immediate feedback on learner’s performance
  • Reinforcement, error correction

Step 8: Assess Performance

  • Post-test, final assessment
  • No additional coaching; feedback
  • Mastery of material

Step 9: Enhance Retention and Transfer

  • Determine whether or not the skills were learned
  • Apply the skills that were learned
  • Retention, retrieval, generalization

– See more at:


The Creative Spirit of Design

Instructional Design  & Creativity

The Creative Spirit of Design


If instructional designers hold limited views about their practice they sometimes adopt formulaic routines that do not help them accomplish the goals they believe are important, or develop instruction of a quality envisioned by the field’s innovative theorists. Fortunately, designers canavoid these unfavorable results in part by understanding and exemplifying the creative spirit of design. In this article the author examines the creative spirit of design, exploring its imaginative, creation-oriented, and inter-disciplinary character. The author also describes how the creative spirit can help instructional designers remain flexible and perceptive in their practice, and by so doing be better able to create effective and innovative instruction of a quality consistent with their ultimate ideals.


Connectivism as a Digital Age Learning Theory

See on Scoop.itPedagogy & Higher Education

George Siemens and Stephen Downes developed a theory for the digital age, called connectivism, denouncing boundaries of behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism. Their proposed learning theory has issued a debate over whether it is a learning theory or instructional theory or merely a pedagogical view.

Lara N. Madden‘s insight:

This might be my new research topic. Very interesting.

See on


Theories of Learning. Connectivism: A new type of learning for the digital age

See on Scoop.itPedagogy & Higher Education

Theories of Learning. Connectivism: A new type of learning for the digital age

Lara N. Madden‘s insight:

This is what we have been saying! Look an infographic on it all…

See on

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