I came across this blog post today, and it really resounded with me, and with some things I hear from other faculty. The story goes like this, you like teaching, you used to interact with your students really well, and now it seems, harder for some reason to connect. Could it be because you remember seeing what you call Star Wars one in theaters and your students call it Star Wars four and they saw it as children on DVD? That might be part of it, you used to have more in common with your students, and now your children have more in common with your students. The author offers 4 very easy, very accessible ways to help you get that interaction back in the classroom.
Speaking of more tips, here is an article from the Chronicle with a few tips for student centered design in an LMS. I really like the first tip, draw out how you actually envision your students interacting or encountering the class, and perhaps even posting that. That is a great idea. If you can’t draw it or explain it, perhaps it is not the most elegant design. And the point about redundancy, I have read so many times that redundancy in online learning is good. I have read so many times that redundancy in online education is good. Yes it can be good, but not if you are posting the due date three times for every assignment and one of those dates is from 2014, then your redundancy is a flag for students. I’ll throw in two more that I like. One I use, and plan to continue to use on this blog, the read o meter. Simply cut and paste your text in, it tells you the average reading time for the selected reading. I call it the ERT (Estimated Reading Time) Since I’ve been using it for over a year now I have had lots of comments from faculty and students, all positive. Most people figure out they are a fraction quicker or slower than the ERT, but if it says 5 minutes, even if it takes someone 8 minutes they know they can read that on the bus. I also make all my fonts Arial 14 point, it helps for ADA/UDL and for the increasing number of students who are accessing online classes on their phones.
Here’s a short list of things to keep in mind when working with faculty and ed tech. Yes, it is from the Huffington Post which is not where I get most of my educational or technology news, but I found it to be sound advice. I have seen several of these points in action in the last week or so with faculty in our new Innovative Learning Labs. We’re still working out some tech issues with the apple tvs, and one of our faculty noted that she is telling her students that technology always changes, there are usually bumps while changing, and its how we navigate or weather the bumps that matters most in life. And her students have been rolling with it, and have been helping trouble shoot some issues and problem solve, which I have been pretty excited about.
I’ll end on a post about “what kids should know by the time they’re done with school“. I’ll admit I cringe clicking on similarly titled articles. They remind me of canonical lists of great books or lists by E.D.Hirsch, which often exclude the works and ideas of many, many people. But I was heartened by the various voices who were thinking about the future, and not picking only a few ideas or specific topics, but thinking more about….thinking. And as the whole of human knowledge grows exponentially it will be that thinking we really need.