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7 reasons NOT to move presentations online

August 26, 2015
UPDATE: early readers got the impression that I don’t want students to make videos of presentations. To be clear, I’m asking you to think carefully before eliminating an existing in-class presentation assignment.
@CT231 student presentation
Photo by Catherine Cronin, Flickr

Do you feel like student presentations take up too much class time? Writing for Faculty Focus, Stephanie Smith Budhai suggests that you can Move Student Presentations Online.

It all sounds so simple and it’s really not a bad idea.

Please think about what could happen, though, and address the following ramifications as you consider changing your course.
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3 tools for booking office hours online

August 25, 2015

[Image by Hoangttu from Wikimedia Commons]

We all know it’s good for students to take advantage of office hours. The CRLT at Michigan says they are “crucial to creating good relations between you and your students … [and] provide a valuable opportunity for individualized teaching and learning.” One great bit of advice is to survey students about when they are available before determining your office hours.

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Let’s ban printing presses

August 20, 2015

I’m resurrecting this funny old tweet for a good cause. The beginning of a semester is an opportunity to remind ourselves that PowerPoint is only a tool and we CAN use it well.

My favorite advice

  • Eliminate text or keep it to a bare minimum,
  • Use great images,
  • Tell stories,
  • Keep your designs simple,
  • Vary the ways you show material on a screen, and
  • Turn off the projector when you can.

Before eliminating PowerPoint we should outlaw the publication of books; there are so many terrible ones! If we banned every oft-misused tool, we would find ourselves in a pre-stone-age world.

Building a visual syllabus

August 19, 2015

bill G cmst 137 syllabusA year ago on this blog you may have seen Turn your syllabus into an infographic. Purists will argue that calling something an “infographic” means it should present statistical data, so let’s call the visual linked to the image at right a poster-style syllabus. The imagery created by Bill Genereux at Kansas State is very appealing.

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Share URLs quickly with ShoutKey

May 14, 2015

ShoutKey screenURL shorteners (Bitly, TinyURL, Ow.ly, Goo.gl, etc.) make it easy to share long web page addresses. They usually generate a short URL with random letters that are hard to remember or speak out loud. Go to ShoutKey, paste a URL into a box, indicate how long want the link to be active (5 min. – 24 hrs.), and the site produces a random English word you can use in a short URL. For the example at right it would be http://shoutkey.com/were.

OR add two bookmarklets to your browser and it’s even easier:
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“This will revolutionize education!”

April 24, 2015

I definitely identify with this video by science educator Derek Muller from the Australian TV show Catalyst.

A few years ago I wrote “Technology, learning, and free will,” along similar lines to several points made in the video. I love Dr. Muller’s idea that learning is about what students are asked to do, and not simply how messages are presented. Check out his excellent Veritasium channel on YouTube, but beware – it’s addictive. The guy basically wrote a book on Designing Effective Multimedia. Read more…

Share questions between Quizlet and Sakai

April 16, 2015

Quizlet to Sakai

My colleague and I are taking advantage of Quizlet to help students learn basic material for a course called “Applied Multimedia.” Quizlet is a website/app where learners can use electronic flash cards in several different ways (StudyBlue is another site with similar functionality). You can make up your own cards or tap into the library of sets shared by other users, and teachers can create private classes with customized packages of card sets. Quizlet tells students when they have mastered a set of cards and shows the teacher which students are using the cards.

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