Do You Know Where To Find The Answers?

Students are accustomed to the campus classroom, where the teacher is available regularly to remind them how to find the resources that they need to complete activities in a course.

Instructure’s Trenton Goble suggests the five questions on this infographic “as the foundation for improving communication processes—wherever and however learning happens.” Goble is addressing K–12 teachers, so I adapted the purpose of the questions to address the needs of college students.

Every teacher uses Canvas differently. My answers to these five questions tell students how I use Canvas tools in my course.

Infographic: Do You Know Where To Find the Answers?
Click image for larger version.

You can use the infographic as is, if it fits the needs of your course. It’s shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Share-Alike 4.0 International License.

If you need to tweak the infographic to work for your course, visit the template on Canva (a drag-and-drop web-based design tool). You will need to create a free Canva login to customize the image.

If you do use the infographic, remember to also provide a transcript for students who cannot view the image. I handle this transcript by repeating the text beside the image itself, as you can see on this page from my current Technical Writing course.

This text version of the infographic gives you another option for sharing these ideas with the students you teach. You can also skip the infographic altogether, copy and customize the text from the transcript (linked above), and publish the resulting version as an Announcement in Canvas.

Infographic ceated on Canva.com. Transcript at tracigardner.com/fivequestions. Images from The Noun Project Pro. Inspired by Trenton Goble’s “Fundamental Five: A Framework for Improving Communication Processes.” Content text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Share-Alike 4.0 International License.

This post originally published on the Teaching Online 911 blog.

How to Restore Deleted Files in Canvas

My favorite hidden feature in Canvas is the ability to restore files and other resources that you have deleted.

Warnings:

  • Warning IconThe tool is not 100% effective, so be cautious when you remove information from your course.
  • The tool only restores your content. Any related student submissions or responses may not be restored.

Use these instructions to restore items in your course:

  • Navigate to the Home page of the course where the file previously existed.
  • Click in the address bar in your browser after the course number:
    Link in Browser Address Bar
  • Remove any other information in the address bar.
  • Type /undelete after the course number in the address bar:
    Browser Address Bar with /undelete Added
  • Press Enter, and the browser will load a page with files and other resources that have been deleted from the course:
    Restore Deleted Items Page
  • Find the item in the list that you want to restore.
  • Click the Restore button next to the item you want to restore:
    Restore button on Restore Deleted Items page
  • Click the OK button, and the item will be restored:
    Confirmation Dialog on Restore Items Page with OK button

This post originally published on the Teaching Online 911 blog.

Weekly Work Logs

Background and Goals

To support the anti-racist assessment system in my course, I am using Weekly Work Logs, where students track the work that they have done. The idea for these logs as they are used in anti-racist assessment comes from Asao Inoue’s explanations of contract grading and anti-racist assessment. Inoue (2014) calls these logs labor journals, describing them as

weekly journals that document time spent on activities, and the level of intensity of that work. Each journal entry may: (1)document how much time was spent on an assignment; (2) describe the intensity of the work; or (3) reflect upon the writing produced by that session’s time and intensity, connecting the labor to the expectations identified on the writer’s rubric. (p. 81)

My logs work similarly, asking students to track the time, intensity, and kind of work. They also include a description and reflection for each task they complete.

I have used various digital tools for these logs include spreadsheets that track the entire term and word processor documents that students create for each week of the term. This summer in my Technical Writing course, I am trying the Class Notebook feature in OneNote.

The student notebooks in OneNote’s Class Notebook appear to provide the benefits of both word processor documents and spreadsheets. Each week students complete a separate page in their student notebooks, similar to a separate word processor document. Because these pages are all collected in a single notebook, they function like a spreadsheet by allowing me to look back to previous entries to see how their work strategies are evolving in the course.

General How-To

The general instructions that I gave students ask them to go to the notebook in OneNote and then record the work that they have done for the week:

  • Track and reflect on the work you have done for the week.
    • Add specific details for all the work you have done this week. 
    • Add summary comments and reflections once the week is over and all your work is recorded.

Elsewhere in the course documents, I explain the ways that students will use the logs in the course. Specifically, students will use their entries to complete weekly self-assessments where they claim the points that they have earned for the week. At the end of the term, students will use the Weekly Work Log entries to write an overall performance review that summarizes and reflects on the work that they have done throughout the term.

Student Instructions for Log Entries

These are the instructions that I have included in OneNote for students:

Instructions, Start Here

This information explains how to fill out your log entries each week. You will log your work, noting what you do, how long you work, and how hard you worked.

Submitting your weekly labor log does two things:

  • It allows you to keep track of your progress in the class, making sure you are up-to-date on your work.
  • It allows me to learn what is working well for you and where you may need more support.

At the end of the term, you can use your logs to write a performance review (your final exam) that explains what you have accomplished overall and provides a self-evaluation of your work in the course.

Log of Your Weekly Work

You are graded on the work you do, so this log is critical to doing well because it tells me what work you do each week. I look for strong details and reflections on the various tasks you complete each week. 

For all the work that you complete, add a line to your log with specific information about the work that you did. The log pages for each week include the headings shown below:

Date

Time Spent

Intensity

Kind of Work (Reading, Writing, Feedback, Tracking, Other)

Description & Reflection

 

 

 

 

 

Under each of these headings, I expect to find the following information:

  • Date:  Just the numbers will work (e.g., 07/08)
  • Time Spent: Estimate the number of minutes or hours. Don’t stress about precision. A range will work here (e.g., 5–10 mins.)
  • Intensity: Use a word or two to explain how hard you worked. You can plan the words you will use so you can be consistent.
  • Kind of Work: Indicate the category that your work falls under, using the descriptions in the “Kinds of Work in the Course” section below.
  • Description & Reflection: Explain exactly what you did and why you did it. Use clear and specific details that show me the work that you put in. Here’s an example:
    • DON’T: Wrote my self-introduction.
      That is probably accurate, but it doesn’t show the work that went into what you did.
    • DO: Jotted out the details I wanted to cover. Rearranged the details into an informal outline. Wrote a rough draft in Piazza. Reread the draft, and added a few details. Double-checked spelling and grammar, and then posted my work.

Note that you can also break those tasks out info separate lines in your log. In other words, “Jotted out the details I wanted to cover. Rearranged the details into an informal outline.” could be one entry in the log, and you might add a reflection comment on why you adopted this strategy

Summary Comments & Reflections on the Week

At the end of the week, review all of the entries that you have recorded, and write a summary that synthesizes the work you have done during the week. Once you have your summary written, reflect on what you have accomplished. You can consider questions like these to get started:

  • What went well this week and why?
  • Conversely, what challenges did you encounter and why? How did you overcome them?
  • What can you apply from this week in the future?
  • What will you try differently next week and why?
  • What questions do you have about your work this week?

You don’t need to answer every question in your reflection. Just put in your best effort and answer the questions that make sense for this week.

Kinds of Work in the Course

Use these details on the different kinds of work in the class to categorize the work you do under the “Kind of Work” column in your log.

Reading

The reading work in this course is much like that in any other course you take. Examples of the things you will read in this course include the following: 

  • Information in this Course Manual
  • Chapters and specific sections in the course textbook
  • Announcements and pages in the Canvas site for our course
  • Drafts of your projects
  • Feedback Discussions posts in Piazza

Writing 

The writing work in this course relates to both the projects and class activities that you work on and to the class communication and general class discussions. Examples of the writing you will do in the projects for this course include the following:

  • Gathering ideas on a possible topic by freewriting, brainstorming, or listing
  • Taking research notes
  • Completing audience analysis
  • Outlining a project
  • Drafting your ideas
  • Revising your project
  • Editing and proofreading your project

Giving, Discussing, and Responding to Feedback

The feedback work in this course consists of the feedback that you receive and the feedback that you give to others. Examples of feedback activities include the following:

  • Posting questions about a passage from your draft
  • Asking questions about a passage from someone else’s draft
  • Discussing feedback you receive by replying with questions or ideas
  • Responding to feedback you receive by rethinking a section of your draft

Tracking & Reflecting

The tracking and reflecting work in this course focuses on the process of recording the various kinds of work that you do in your Weekly Work Log and your Weekly Self-Assessments.  Examples of the tracking and reflecting you will do include the following:

  • Logging the different kinds of work that you do in the course
  • Summarizing your accomplishments for the week
  • Reflecting on which tasks went well and which were more challenging
  • Forecasting the tasks you will work on in the future and how you will do them

Read More

If you are interested in learning more about anti-racist assessment and how this kind of weekly log works, check out Asao Inoue’s Labor-Based Grading Contracts: Building Equity And Inclusion In The Compassionate Writing Classroom (2019), which you can download for free from the WAC Clearinghouse.

References

Inoue, Asao B. (2014). A Grade-Less Writing Course That Focuses on Labor and Assessing. In D. Coxwell-Teague & R. F. Lunsford (Eds.), First-Year Composition: From Theory to Practice (pp. 71–110). Parlor Press.

 

Making Memes to Protest Racism

Artist Daniel Rarela created a series of memes that juxtapose quotations from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s text with images of King from the time period and with contemporary images. Rarela’s goal, as explained in a January 2017 News.Mic article, “Artist creates ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ memes to stop people from whitewashing MLK.”

Rarela noticed people who had not protested the murder of black people by police, but who later spoke up about the death of police officers after a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Texas. As these folks posted social media updates that invoked the words of Dr. King “without talking about the racial and economic justice he championed.” Rarela found their “selective compassion” troubling and designed his memes in response.

The memes that Rarela designed are no longer available in the News.Mic article nor on Twitter. Many have been archived by Caroline Yezer on ThreadReaderApp (also in this PDF). Among these archived memes is an image San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick overlaid with King’s statements. The meme pairs an image of Kaepernick, kneeling during the National Anthem as a protest against racism, with King’s comments on the purpose of direct action. Together, the words and image communicate a powerful message about Kaepernick’s direct action, about the on-going battle against racism in America, and about the timeless relevance of King’s words:

Rarela's Meme of Colin Kaepernick with MLK Jr quotation on direct action

Transcript of the Tweet and Meme

Memes as Models for Student Compositions

In the classroom, discuss the message Rarela’s memes communicate and the visual argument strategies he uses in his design. See Visual Argument Analysis from Colorado State University for questions you can use in analysis of the visual strategies.

After discussing Rarela’s designs, students can create their own memes, pairing images from current #BlackLivesMatter protests with relevant quotations from Dr. King and other civil rights leaders. Students can also use literary quotations from black authors, historians, journalists, and activists to illustrate or comment on the images.

As another option, students can use quotations from other texts that comment in some way on the actions in the image. Compare Rarela’s images to the meme below, showing President Donald Trump in front of St. John’s on June 1. Use the NPR article “‘He Did Not Pray’: Fallout Grows From Trump’s Photo-Op At St. John’s Church” for background information on the image, if necessary. In this meme, the overlaid text comments ironically on the image, using a biblical quotation to comment ironically on the image of Trump holding a bible in front of a church.

Meme showing President Donald Trump in front of St. John’s Church

Transcript of the Meme

Tools for Meme-Making

Students can use a free online tool like Canva or PicMonkey to edit their images. Spend some time in class demonstrating how to work with text and images in the software students will use. Show students how to find online help for the tools they use.

In particular, students need to understand how to create contrast between the image and the text that they add in the image editor. Rarela uses the stark contrast of the red background with white lettering to ensure Dr. King’s text stands out. As a class, you can explore other ways to highlight the text.

Original Example Following Rarela’s Design

To demonstrate the idea, I created a meme, matching comments from Coretta Scott King with a political protest photo. The NPR story “Activist Climbs Flagpole At S.C. Statehouse, Removes Confederate Banner” provides background information on the protest, which occurred after the shooting of nine members of a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. The image pairs a photo of Bree Newsome removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse in 2015 with a comment Coretta Scott King made on the Confederate flag.

Meme showing Bree Newsome removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse in 2015 with a quotation from Coretta Scott King

Transcript of the Meme

 

This post updates and revises “Making Memes to Illustrate Readings,” published in January 2017 on Bedford Bits in the Macmillan Community.

Preparing to Explore Racism

Multiculturalism by Pug50 on Flickr, used under a CC-BY 2.0 licenseBefore discussing racism, we must prepare students to ensure the classroom offers an inclusive and safe environment to explore these issues. We have to be prepared to guide students through fair but honest discussions in ways that avoid emotional or highly charged confrontations.

Fortunately, there are many resources available to help teachers prepare with these classroom discussions. The following resources suggest practical strategies you can use to guide these student conversations:

These resources emphasize the significance of ensuring that students are prepared for the conversations. Though we may wish to, we cannot force students to accept and support any particular viewpoint. We cannot require an ideology, but we can ask questions and encourage analysis that persuades students to consider the issues more clearly.

To prepare students for these conversations, create classroom discussion guidelines and practice following them in less contentious conversations before moving to more difficult subjects. Alternately, you can use the Guidelines for Discussing Incidents of Hate, Bias, and Discrimination, from the University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. You cannot guess everything that can go wrong, but you can have classroom management strategies in place that will help you defuse problems before they spiral out of control. Additionally, choose activities that ask students to consider the factual aspects the issue they are exploring, but not to judge the facts or their presentation as good or bad.

Not only must students be prepared, but you must be prepared yourself. If you feel uncomfortable guiding these class discussions consult the articles How Should I Talk about Race in My Mostly White Classroom? from the Anti-Defamation League, and Know How to Talk about Race, from the Teaching Tolerance website. Both provide information that will help you build confidence about how to talk about race and racism in the classroom.

As you prepare, also read the AAUP article “Eight Actions to Reduce Racism in College Classrooms,” from the November–December 2016 Academe. The article provides a candid outline of typical ways that racism appears in higher ed and offers concrete suggestions for self-examination of teachers’ own attitudes and actions. It urges readers to “recognize your implicit biases and remediate your racial illiteracy,” to “meaningfully integrate diverse cultures and peoples into the curriculum,” and to “responsibly address racial tensions when they arise”—excellent suggestions all. These recommendations are supported by climate studies the authors conducted at the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

This post updates and revises “Preparing to Explore Racism and Racist Events in the Classroom,” published in August 2017 on Bedford Bits in the Macmillan Community.

Photo credit: Multiculturalism by Pug50 on Flickr, used under a CC-BY 2.0 license.

Class Discussion about Tolerance

tolerance by ambar stefania, on FlickrOne effective, but simple, way to explore tolerance is to look at the ways people talk about the concept and then produce projects that share their exploration with others on campus. Here’s one way to accomplish that goal through in-class discussion and collaboration.

Session One

  1. Ask students to brainstorm on their understanding of tolerance. They can record personal experiences, working definitions, and responses to events in the news. The goal is to create a touchstone that they can return to later. There is no right or wrong answer. Everyone in a community can talk about tolerance for the values and actions of others.
  2. Move to UNESCO’s 1995 Declaration of Principles on Tolerance (alternate pdf). Article 1 of the Declaration specifically addresses the “Meaning of tolerance.” Ask students to read the entire Declaration, paying particular attention to that section.
  3. Discuss the definition in the Declaration and how it compares to the ideas in students’ brainstorming. Explore the language that is used in the document specifically. Unpack the complex words, and note how the document works toward inclusive language.
  4. If class time allows, students can work in groups, each taking one point of Article 1 and rewriting the explanation using less formal language. They can imagine themselves writing for younger students or writing sound bites for a general audience.
  5. After discussion of the Declaration, ask students to reflect on how the document relates to their earlier notes on the concept either in class or for homework.

Session Two

  1. Review the definition(s) of tolerance from the previous session, explaining that the class will spend time this session comparing to the ways that tolerance is discussed publicly.
  2. Share news articles about tolerance, intolerance, and bullying with the class. You can use local examples or stories from the Google News Search for the word tolerance. Review stories in advance to ensure they are appropriate for the classroom.
  3. Ask students to separate objective details and material from subjective details and material, noting how the information is used in the articles. Talk about how purpose and audience influence the information and the language that is used to present it.
  4. Have students apply their definitions of tolerance to the articles, considering these discussion questions:
    • Do the articles specifically use the word tolerance or intolerance?
    • Are other words used to describe tolerant (or intolerant) attitudes?
    • How does the perspective shift if you rephrase the pieces to use the antonym?
    • How does the discussion in the articles align with the UNESCO Declaration and the ideas they brainstormed in Session One?
  5. Finish the project by asking students to write about how one or more of the articles relates to their own or the UNESCO Declaration’s understanding of tolerance. Ask students to draw conclusions about how tolerance is discussed (implicitly or explicitly) and defined.
  6. Alternately, move the project toward sharing students’ exploration of tolerance outside the classroom. Ask student groups to create a text that explains tolerance and urges others to promote and practice tolerance every day. Check with your school’s office of equal opportunity office, student affairs, or residence life for help distributing students’ work to the campus community. Students can work on projects like these:
    • create posters that are displayed on campus.
    • write letters to the school or local newspaper.
    • produce video or audio podcasts that share their messages.
    • arrange a flash mob on tolerance.
    • design an infographic that presents details on tolerance.
    • create a playlist of songs that reflect tolerance, with notes on why they were chosen.
    • curate a display for the library or student center.
    • assemble a class photo essay to display on digital sign boards on campus.
    • write flyers, pamphlets, or brochures to distribute on campus.
    • post a meme-style campaign on social media, modeled on the photos in the image above.

 

This post updates and revises “Talk about Tolerance,” published in November 2016 on Bedford Bits in the Macmillan Community. The 2016 post was itself a revision of a post from November 2010.

 

Photo Credit: tolerance by ambar stefania, on Flickr, under a CC-BY 2.0 license.

Ten Ways to Improve Educational Videos

Webcam on a computer monitorThe move to online courses has many of us working to create videos that replace the explanations of concepts and demonstrations of skills that we would customarily do in the campus classroom. The strategies below help make those videos more effective.

  1. Focus
    Cover only one topic in your video. Focusing on one topic allows students to hone in on the ideas by lowering the cognitive load. They can take clearer notes and recall the information more effectively. Equally useful, later when a student needs to review a specific concept that is unclear to her, she can quickly find the exact video that addresses that topic.
  2. Keep it short
    Effective videos are approximately 6 minutes long (Guo et al., 2014). Longer videos include more information than students can remember. Breaking your course content up into
    shorter videos increases students’ ability to comprehend and recall the information.
  3. Forecast
    Provide an overview of the point you will cover at the beginning of your video. Your forecast will serve as an advance organizer, telling students what to watch for and providing structure for the video (Ibrahim et al., 2012).
  4. Reinforce
    Highlight, or signal, key terms and main ideas in the video by emphasizing them verbally and including the terms on screen (Ibrahim et al., 2012). Place text on the screen near the portion of the image it corresponds with in order to reduce students’ cognitive load (Mayer & Moreno, 2003; Mayer, 2008).
    Ideally, the complementary terms and graphics will match those included in your opening forecast (see #3 above), reinforcing the information further.
  5. Limit distractions
    “Weeding” irrelevant content out of your videos increases students’ attention and retention (Ibrahim et al., 2012; Mayer, 2008). Extraneous information in videos includes unrelated background music and sounds as well as irrelevant and purely decorative visual elements.
  6. Use basic recording features
    You don’t need an entire production team to create effective educational videos. Guo et al. (2014) found that higher production features actually decrease student engagement with videos. Just set up a webcam at your desk for videos, or use screencasting software for demonstrations from your desktop. Focus on what you want to teach students, and forget all the bells and whistles.
  7. Set the stage
    Check the background for what students will see in your video. If the video shows a shot of you talking, check what is behind you and remove anything that is unnecessary or unprofessional. If the video shows your computer desktop, remove any irrelevant icons from the desktop and close software that you aren’t using. In particular, be sure that you have no filenames or open files on screen that reveal private information. Taking these steps ensures that students focus on the content, rather than random information in the background.
  8. Add closed captions
    Captions help all students, not just those with hearing loss. In a 2014 study, “students commented that the captions made it easier to take notes, improved understanding by watching and reading, helped them learn the spellings of words, enabled them to watch the videos with the sound turned off, and enabled them to follow the videos more closely, as the captions helped focus attention” (Berg et al.).
  9. Name videos specifically
    Students will make better use of the videos you record if you choose specific titles and filenames. If your videos are named Lecture 1, Lecture 2, etc., students have no idea of knowing what content they will find. A student trying to find a specific concept won’t know which one to choose. If the videos were instead named plant cell structure and photosynthesis, students would know exactly what each covers.
  10. Provide supporting materials
    A video alone can help students understand key concepts and learn new skills. A video accompanied by explanatory and descriptive text, related activities, and relevant textbook readings can do even more. Thomson, Bridgstock, and Willems (2014) found that “video is much less effective when it comprises the sum total of the standard lecture/learning experience” (p. 71). Supporting materials, in other words, can make a difference in what students learn and retain.

References

Berg, Richard, Brand, Ann, Grant, Jennifer, Kirk, John S., & Zimmerman, Todd. (2014). Leveraging recorded mini-lectures to increase student learning. Online Classroom, 14(2), 5.

Guo, Philip J., Kim, Juho, & Rubin, Rob (2014). How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of MOOC videos. Proceedings of the First ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale Conference – L@S ’14, 41–50. https://doi.org/10.1145/2556325.2566239

Ibrahim, Mohamed, Antonenko, Pavlo D., Greenwood, Carmen M., & Wheeler, Denna. (2012). Effects of segmenting, signalling, and weeding on learning from educational video. Learning, Media and Technology, 37(3), 220–235. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2011.585993

Mayer, Richard E. (2008). Applying the science of learning: Evidence-based principles for the design of multimedia instruction. The American Psychologist, 8. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.63.8.760

Mayer, Richard E., & Moreno, Roxana. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(1), 43–52. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15326985EP3801_6

Thomson, Andrew, Bridgstock, Ruth, & Willems, Christiaan. (2014). “Teachers flipping out” beyond the online lecture: Maximising the educational potential of video. Journal of Learning Design, 7(3), 67–78. http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/jld.v7i3.209

Photo credit: 7 Best HD Webcams in Pakistan for 2019 by Sami Khan on Flickr, used under public domain.

 


Last Updated on
This post originally published on the Teaching Online 911 blog.

Using Google Forms to Jump Start Your Video

Red Jump Start Cables with red handles and black handles, on a TableNow that everyone is teaching online, active learning strategies like minute papers and muddiest point are hard to manage spontaneously. In a campus classroom, you can ask everyone to share responses out loud or on a piece of paper. In an asynchronous online class, students aren’t able to participate in quite the same way.

Google Forms can give you a quick and easy solution. Create a form with the question you want to use to begin a presentation or demonstration, students respond using the form, and you use their responses to frame your presentation.

Create Your Form

  1. Log into your Google Drive account.
  2. Create a new Google Forms file, using Google Help if you need more details.
  3. Give the form file a straightforward title (such as “Presentation Topic Survey”).
  4. Add a description or explanation if desired. I added details on how I would use the survey.
  5. Change the question type, if necessary. I changed the question to “Paragraph” so that student have room to write a few sentences as their response.
  6. Add the one question that you want students to respond to. I used the question “What topic have you chosen for your presentation? Give me specific details in a sentence or two.”
  7. If desired, click the Palette icon on the upper right and customize the appearance of the form.

My example Presentation Topic Survey shows what the resulting form looks like. You will notice that I added a second question asking students for contact information if they wanted a personal response. That step is completely optional.

Share Your Form

  1. Click the large SEND button in the upper right corner of the page. The options shown in the screenshot below will appear:
    SEND Form Options, described in the text below
  2. Choose one of the following options to share your form:
    • Click the envelope icon to send the form to students by email, and fill out the remainder of the SEND form accordingly.
    • Click the link icon to copy a hyperlink to the form that you can share with students.
    • Click the angled brackets icon to copy the code that you can use to embed the form on another webpage.
    • Click the Facebook icon or the Twitter icon to share the form on social media.

Prepare for Class

  1. Log into your Google Drive account.
  2. Open the Google Form that you created.
  3. Click the “Responses” link at the top of the form.
  4. Use the Google Help instructions to view the responses in a variety of ways.
  5. Review students’ responses just as you would review answers they shared on paper.
    • If desired, remove any answers that do not meet the requirements or focus of the assignment.
    • Look for patterns to address with the class. In my example, I would look for answers that were strong and specifically focused to highlight. I would also look for those topics that could be improved by focusing more specifically.
    • Copy the responses to a word processor file, if desired, to share the answers with the class.
  6. Choose two or three strong examples and a few examples to demonstrate how to improve the responses.

Use the Responses in Your Video

  1. Prepare to create a lesson to share with students. This post will focus on producing a 5 to 7 minute video. You could also create a handout or audio recording.
  2. Begin your video session in a synchronous forum like Zoom or using your favorite video recorder to share asynchronously.
  3. Open your video by referring to students’ responses. You can share a link to the responses or a link to the word processor document you created with the responses.
  4. Review the qualities of a strong response. For my example, I would talk about how a strong topic is specific and well-focused.
  5. Point out strong responses and explain why they succeed.
  6. Review weaker or incorrect responses and demonstrate how to improve them.
  7. End your video by reviewing the qualities of a strong response.
  8. If desired, give students a follow-up activity to complete:
    • For synchronous meetings, ask students to share ways they can improve their responses in light of the examples.
    • For asynchronous videos, have students share their ways to improve responses in a discussion forum or email.

Photo credit: Jumpstart cables by Michael Pedersen on Flickr, used under a CC-BY 2.0 license.


Last Updated on .
This post originally published on the Teaching Online 911 blog.

Online Is Different from Face-to-Face

 


This post originally published on the Teaching Online 911 blog.

Explain What to Do in an Emergency

Red push button on the wall labeled, Emergency Stop for ComputersProviding students with instructions on what to do in an emergency is always a good idea. It’s even more important now as all classes are moving online and many students are relying on technology resources more than they are used to.

You may be thinking, “Oh, I will wait and deal with trouble if it comes up.” It’s nice to be optimistic, but trust me, eventually something will come up. You may not think of it as an actual emergency, but a panicked student may. Add the complication of the sudden reliance on resources students don’t have experience with, and the panicky emails are sure to start filling your inbox.

How to Address Emergencies Before They Happen

  • Brainstorm a list of the basic hurdles students are likely to encounter. Consider the issues that have occurred in previous courses you have taught, and reflect on challenges you and those you know have had as they work online. Combine any challenges that will have similar responses (see the example below).
  • Outline what students should do in each situation. Include specific details that will walk students through their response. Students coming to this list are anxious. They not catch the nuances of what you say, so be sure that everything is clear and concrete.
  • Emphasize trust and calm in your explanations. Let students know that you take their situation seriously. Maintaining a sense of calm will do much to solve the challenge. Panic can make everything worse. If you persuade students to remain calm and trust that you will help them, reasonable solutions to the problems will become easier to accept.

An Example Policy

Here’s a version of the emergency policy that I use with my courses. The policy (like all content on this site) is content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Share-Alike 4.0 International License; thus, you can copy and customize the policy to use with your course.

Emergency Policy for Technical Writing

Slogan Keep Calm and Carry On shown on Red British War Poster with white letteringProblems with vt.edu websites, LinkedIn Learning, or Canvas
If something goes wrong with one of the websites we are using, don’t panic. Send me an email message, since I may not know there is a problem. I will fix it if I can, and if necessary, I’ll adjust any due dates or expectations. If appropriate, contact 4-Help and explain the situation as well. Once you have contacted me, keep working as you can until the situation is resolved.

Problems with something in your world
If something goes wrong for you personally, send me an email message explaining the issue and relax. We can come up with a solution. Things such as a broken computer or a change at work that messes up your schedule fall in this category. Getting sick or having an accident (such as a broken bone) also fall into this category. Your situation may feel horrible, but we can work it out. Don’t worry if I don’t respond immediately. It just means I’m not at my computer.

Emergencies and the 911 policy
If you have an emergency, first take care of any immediate danger. Make sure everything and everyone is safe before you worry about this course. When you can, email me and begin the subject with 911. For example, a subject line might be “911 Struck by Storm.” Give me the details in the message (e.g., The storm knocked out your power. Your work is going to be delayed until things are fixed). Save these 911 messages for emergencies please. I give 911 messages priority and answer them ASAP. Again, don’t worry if I don’t respond immediately. It just means I’m not at my computer. When I get back online, I will do whatever I can to help.

Photo: Emergency Stop by Daniel Nisbet on Flickr, used under a CC-BY-SA 2.0 license. Keep Calm and Carry On Poster, from the UK Ministry of Information, used under a CC0 Public Domain license.


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This post originally published on the Teaching Online 911 blog.