But the life raft is within your grasp.
As a fresh face in the Center for eLearning, I have the unique opportunity to look at our processes from an informed, but curious viewpoint. Over the past five months I have been immersed in Blackboard, TOP-ELITE, Quality Matters, Informal Reviews, and Instructor Mentoring. In a way, I feel a kindred spirit with those faculty who are curious about teaching online or who have just started the process of creating online courses – at times, we could feel like we are drowning in information…
But the life raft is within your grasp.
Have you considered the possibility of submitting your course for a peer review? Quality Matters reviews build upon the concept that quality is a process. Courses are not expected to be perfect but they can be improved with helpful recommendations provided by academic peers. Many of our colleagues who have offered a course for peer review have walked away with reassurance that they have designed one or more high-quality courses, and have been pleased by the recommendations resulting from the review(s). Recommendations for improvement can be challenging, but many of us come to recognize that the reviewers look at our course from the perspective of students and offer excellent insights on incremental quality enhancement.
Have you ever searched for best practices online? A simple query for “10 best teaching practices” alone generates 211,000,000+ results. Most blogs, websites, articles, and studies on the subject will report benefits of similar instructional strategies. While these lists are helpful, they are not always the tool-kits that provide the how-to information. Wouldn't it be great to “see” what that best practice actually looks like? I took one such “Best Practices” list and added the how to’s based on strategies I've either integrated into my own online courses or come across in other exemplary TCC online courses.
By Virginia Zillges, Dean of eLearning, Center for eLearning
While the term “flipped classroom” has become a popular learning environment in college teaching, the theories and instructional strategies behind the trend are what enable powerful student learning. The key behind the flipped classroom can most likely be contributed to student-centered, active learning strategies including cooperative and collaborative learning. There is plenty of evidence to support these approaches in the literature (Michael, 2006). Even if you teach in the online environment without face-to-face, you may yet integrate these effective strategies into your fully online course.
Center for eLearning Website Updates
In order to ease navigation, the Center for eLearning has recently updated the Faculty section of the eLearning website. You may navigate from the main page or hover your mouse on the top menu over Faculty.
In response to feedback from faculty, The Center for eLearning has recently revised our Faculty drop down menu for easier navigation http://www.tcc.edu/elearning/
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Register for Blackboard Workshops
Examine the list of sessions by clicking on the link below and register today.
Online Blackboard Workshops
For TCC professional development opportunities, contact the Batten Center for Teaching Excellence
As instructors prepare for peer reviews I have the opportunity to look at online courses and offer insight. In a previous email I pondered the concept of “instruction,” recently I have wondered more about “good design.” Instructional designers and discipline specialists make great teams for designing quality online courses. Unfortunately, most of us at the college have been left to our own devises in terms of course design. My own course is not a great one, but what quality is there comes from listening to designers and struggling to put myself in the shoes of students. How do they interact with my course material? As someone who has been fascinated by history for very nearly 60 years it takes a great deal of cerebral contortion to view American history from a student perspective, but it is worth the effort.
The Center for eLearning would like to create a portfolio of TCC sample courses. Faculty members have shared that being able to deeply explore other online courses would be helpful. If you have a course that is QM certified, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We would like to include your course. Stay alert for more on this topic in the near future.
Blackboard Collaborate and Instant Messenger
The VCCS has renewed its contract with Blackboard Collaborate. The contract is for three years, with the first year ending in June 2015 to align with the contract dates of other Blackboard products. There are some important changes in the contract that you may need to be aware of:
1. Blackboard Instant Messenger (IM), an associated product of Collaborate, has been renewed for the first year only. Therefore, the enterprise instance of Blackboard IM will be discontinued by the end of June 2015. The reason for discontinuing this product was a significant lack of system wide adoption and use, despite substantial training and promotion.
During the recent Quality Matters annual conference held in Baltimore I was impressed with the emphasis presenters placed on implementing the seven principles of quality online teaching, and how those principles have influenced Quality Matters. After the conference I went in search for more information on the Seven Principles only to become sidetracked by the seven principles of the Unitarian Universalists, seven principles of Kwanzaa, the seven principles for making marriage work, and the seven principles of cosmic law. Rather than becoming too distracted by my continuing research interest in communal societies, the occult and late-nineteenth century medical fads I turned to the seven principles of quality online teaching.