Seminar Date: November 4, 2015 at 1:00 pmAbstractOnline discussions are extensively used in online and mixed-mode courses. However, a common concern is that students will minimally participate in order to fulfill the grading requirements, and not truly engage with the content, instructor, or peers. In this session, we will share strategies to create and sustain online …

Ownership of mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablets continues to rise amongst college students. Incorporating these devices in coursework can facilitate authentic learning, with students connecting what is taught in the course to real-world issues and applications. This can be especially powerful in online learning environments, allowing students to capture experiences in the field and share with others in the class. Although instructors may express an interest in incorporating a mobile element, they are often unsure how to design course activities that are not only engaging, but also effectively support authentic learning. In this session, issues of mobile design, assessment, and support will be discussed. Specifically, an instructor’s experience of integrating mobile devices to support authentic learning in a mixed-mode (blended) course will be showcased.

Online exams are popular in college courses, offering a time-efficient and flexible way of assessing student learning. Students often prefer them because of the convenience factor, while instructors like that they do not expend valuable face-to-face class time. However, the concern about students cheating on online exams is pervasive throughout higher education. Instructors often worry that it is difficult for students to remain academically honest under such conditions. In this session, resources and strategies to encourage academic honesty in the online exam environment such as considerations for test construction and exam settings will be shared. Specifically, we will showcase an instructor’s use of ProctorHub, UCF’s newest online proctoring tool, which is designed to mitigate these concerns.

Today’s college students are using social media more than ever in their personal lives, and emerging research suggests that social media can have a powerful influence on the learning experience. Many instructors have an interest in harnessing the pedagogical potential of social media, but are unsure how to effectively integrate them in their curricula. In this session, we will describe how social media can foster a sense of community within and beyond the classroom setting. Specifically, we will showcase strategies designed to create and sustain community using the social media tool Twitter, addressing commonly identified issues such as student privacy and communication.

The task of online collaboration is daunting, but not impossible. Advancements in communication technologies along with sound pedagogical techniques and clear student expectations can lower the barrier to effective group work online. This session will present strategies, resources, and services designed to assist faculty in implementing collaborative projects online. Ideas and concerns of on-site and remote participants will be solicited. The goal of this interactive session is to create a constructive and practical dialogue with colleagues.

At the Center for Distributed Learning we often hear from faculty, “that’s a great idea, but it’ll never work for me because I teach such large classes.” Student engagement can be a challenge in any size class, but it can be overwhelming trying to reach hundreds of students individually when there’s only one of you. In this brief seminar, we will share a set of strategies that can be used to make the most effective use of your time to provide a personal touch to all of your students. We will provide specific examples using existing tools in Webcourses@UCF and share anecdotal experiences using these strategies with classes of over 1400 students. The strategies presented in this session were developed with large classes in mind, but they can be used successfully in any size class.

It is easier than ever before to include existing media and to create your own media for online course content. Photos, infographics, charts, illustrations, icons! Demos, screencasts, events, interviews! Webcams, smartphones, YouTube, and Flickr! Possibilities abound for enriching online course content with media that contribute to understanding, captivate attention, or increase retention. In this session rich with examples, presenters will share principles for making wise choices about how to best include media for the greatest benefit and the least amount of hassle.

Whether you have been teaching online for years or are just getting started, “online course quality” is an elusive goal to achieve. For instance, what are the components of a high quality course? How does course design contribute to overall course quality? What role does the teaching practice of the online instructor play in course quality? Can the characteristics of the students impact the quality of the course? Are large classes and small classes of equivalent quality? Access this brief, informative session for access to an array of tools, resources, and information to aid you in the quest for quality in online teaching. A featured resource is the debut of UCF’s Online Course Quick Check as a tool for quick self-assessment or collegial feedback.

Blended courses (also known as “mixed-mode” at UCF) are growing in popularity in higher education. The benefit of the blended approach is that it offers students the flexible scheduling and pacing of the online environment, along with the support of the face-to-face interaction of the classroom. However, there are unique challenges in the design of a blended course. Care must be taken to leverage the “best” of both learning environments to design a cohesive, seamless learning experience. In this brief seminar, we will explore affordances of blended learning, review models of blended learning implementation, and share practical strategies in order to maximize the integration of the face-to-face and online components in your blended courses.

As new and exciting technologies emerge, many of us are compelled to incorporate them into our online courses. Yet how do we face the challenge of ensuring that all of our students, including those with visual and hearing impairments, learning disabilities, and non-native English speakers, can access these materials? In this session, presenters will discuss a variety of strategies, resources, and services that will help us make online course materials accessible. Ideas and concerns of on-site and remote participants will be solicited. The goal of this session is constructive and practical dialogue with colleagues.