The instructor effectively uses a range of technologies tools--both within and outside of the Learning Management System--that support student learning and engagement.
The instructor incorporates tools that meet the content demands of the course;
The instructor uses a variety of tools for communicating with students, delivering content, assessing student learning, and analyzing effective teaching;
The instructor incorporates a variety of tools that meet the various learning needs of his/her students.
Reflection I definitely have mixed feelings when it comes to asking my students to use technology tools outside of the LMS. Generally, I tend to recoil when a tool outside of the LMS requires the student to record and remember a username and password. I think I feel guilty for asking them to record yet another username and password and to learn the ropes of a new tool, which inevitably will have a learning curve. On the back cover of the binder I use for teaching, I've included a long list of all the usernames and passwords I need to survive. With that said, I am just really careful to use technology outside of the LMS.
Whether it be through the use of a Prezi, YouTube, Kahoot!, Turnitin, PlayPosit, Canvas, Moodle, podcasts, Blackboard, Zoom, EBSCO, Google Drive, Powtoons, or VoiceThread, I utilize tools that are up to date and appealing to young people, and, apart from in-class writing, I do my best to keep my classroom paperless. Grading papers via Turnitin, for example, has helped me immensely in the area of efficiency and improved feedback. Artifacts
One of the reasons I use the Twitter feed on the class Blackboard home page, is to avoid using only the text book. In my classes, I like to reference a lot of current material in popular cultural. Using the Twitter links is really easy way to do that. If a group of students are working on a writing assignment surrounding a given topic that is current, I might suggest a reading or at least comment on a relevant reading. I also like to provide links to events and student success opportunities that the college provides. To do this I need only retweet something that the college has put out on its feed. I also do a Twitter activity where I ask students to read something and then sum up the main idea as they would in a twitter message, using no more than 140 characters. Embedding a Twitter feed into Blackboard, I found, was really easy, and it's the first thing my students see at the class home page. Right away they see that their instructor is using a social media tool that many are already using.
Because most students are actively using social media, I typically create a Facebook class site where students can share ideas, ask questions and collaborate. The Facebook Class Site also allows me to provide documents that students can upload, and I can provide useful links that are timely, free and instrumental in teaching key concepts. While the below example just shows a correspondence between myself and a student, all of the other students can view the conversation and weigh in. Here a student is reaching out for help regarding an assigned reading. I expect that students will struggle with different sections of text...I only hope that I am providing them with ways to get their questions answered and understand a text on a deep level. I do my best here to shed some insight on the passage she cites.
Because I want the content in my classes to include a lot more than what textbooks have to offer, I create a folder option on my navigation pane that is titled Links. Inside this folder are multiple different resources to material that exists outside of the LMS. To keep the class lively and interesting, I try to use tools that millenials are familiar with, including blogs, podcasts and streaming video. I also utilize a free web site, called Grammar Bytes, to teach writing related concepts, and I have a folder to help students with formatting and MLA rules of documentation. And for those students who are eager to do extra credit, they can find that folder here as well. In some instances, the students need to take the initiative to utilize these resources, but in others I require students to utilize these resources. For example, I sometimes ask my students to listen to a podcast called This American Life and write a response to an episode in one of their weekly writing forums. It's a medium that works great in an online writing class.
I typically set aside a lot of time in my writing courses, teaching students how to do research and be able to identify valid academic sources in a sea of information that is the internet. By the end of the course, I want my students to be able to successfully use a research database. To reach this goal, I have the students practice using these databases throughout the semester. To get them moving I share different tutorials on how to use them.
An essential tool to an online writing course, which lives inside the LMS I use, is turnitin. While this resource was initially designed to act as a plagiarism prevention tool, I have come to use it for a range of other uses. It serves as an easy way to spot plagiarism, but I like being able to create my own rubrics, and I appreciate all of the ways that I can give feedback to students.
QuickTime Player and YouTube
All of the instuctional videos and announcement videos would not be possible without the help of these two tools: Quick Time Player and YouTube. While I have dabbled with other screencasting tools like Camtasia, I have gotten most comfortable with these tools. I also like being able to easily create videos with my iPhone and upload to YouTube. Of course, the automatic annotatting tool at YouTube is pretty nice as well.
Instead of just providing PDFs to students, I also wanted to provide documents that they could readily see and scoll through. Scribd is a free resource that allows me to do that. Once I figured out how to copy and embed HTML, I was off and running. Below is an article from The New Yorker magazine.