This six-week online course provided us with tools and skills needed to effectively deliver an online course using the blackboard LMS (learning management system). This course combined several aspects within the topics presented of the Online Teaching Survival Series into one online course.
This course was run by Jennifer Jones. I felt this course did a great job of pointing participants toward solutions which allowed us to discuss lessons learned and how to best manage student expectations. I would heartily recommend this professional development for new teachers and new online teachers.
Online Teaching Survival Series: Developing Interactive Learning Activities (Webinar)
Keeping students motivated and engaged in an online course includes all aspects of the course. This VLC webinar was presented by Wake Tech’s Jennifer Jones. This session explored creating interactive learning activities that engage students through unique, technology driven tools.
This session focused heavily on interactive online activities such as discussion boards, star ratings, using the OWL messaging system, and time management. This also ended with a great Q&A session.
Online Teaching Survival Series: Developing Interactive Learning Activities was an online webinar presented by Jennifer Jones
In this online webinar, Wake Tech’s Jennifer Jones discussed ways of keeping students motivated and engaged in an online course. Her comprehensive visuals included all aspects of an online course. This session explored creating interactive learning activities that engaged students through unique, technology driven tools. It had a large component using discussion boards for classroom activity, using groups, wikis, and starfish response system. We briefly discussed using the texting system integrated into blackboard, although most respondents noted that they did not use this item as it caused too many issues with student expectations during the course.
Online Teaching Survival Series: Preparing to Teach Online was an online webinar presented by Wake Tech’s Jennifer Jones.
Preparing to teach online can be an overwhelming task. Today’s webinar on preparing to teach online provided the other faculty member and me with information on the skills and resources needed to teach an online course. Emphasis was placed on technology skills and tools needed to be an effective online teacher
I found the discussion points regarding managing expectations to be the most helpful. Setting a clear set of expectations for students upfront about when each week began, what requirements for assignments and discussion boards were, how and when to contact the teacher, and how/when they would receive responses (especially the discussion on acceptable limits on responses and the lengthy debate on how long a wait was “acceptable”) were all great food for thought.
Individual stories had some great examples of online classes, how to keep students engaged, managing expectations that had gone awry. I learned a great deal from this webinar and I recommended it to some other staff members next time they saw it available.
The Great Course Migration: Preparing to Move Your BB 9.1 Course to Moodle 2.0 a professional development how-to presented by Jennifer Jones and Katherine Bennett
In this professional development course, I was able to get a glimpse of Moodle 2.0 as well as tips and ideas on organizing online course content in Blackboard for the migration to Moodle 2.0. Topics included an overview of how Moodle 2.0 works, saving and organizing files from Blackboard 9.1, moving quizzes and pools, and adapting assignments and activities for Moodle 2.0. This session was a demo only and did not actually include a hands-on experience for individuals.
Moodle 2.0 is one of the newest flavors in LMS (learning management systems) for educators. Technically being around long enough to go through an original draft, Moodle 2.0 offers some great features with a price tag set to move. Well, the price tag for this item is set at $0.00 which is a price tag most schools can cope with.
When attending this training, I was struck with 2 initial thoughts related to this product:
1) Our division has really worked hard for a long time to prepare our online materials (since 2006) and now it is the required norm for the college.
Our team in Computer Engineering Technology ( CET Division ) of Wake Technical Community College has endeavoured to place our online materials in blackboard using a weekly folder, with all materials for the week held within the folder itself- all learning objectives, all goals, all notes, all lectures, assignments and links to the discussion board, all videos, etc. This has been an effort we’ve put into place in an effort to make all of our courses containing a common thread so that whatever course you were in, one week would be all you needed. Also, if you were hit by a bus and unable to return to classes, another teacher could simply step into the breach and release your materials one week at a time.
In the new moodle system, this will be the required norm. It is nice to see that efforts within the CET division as well as the GRD (Advertising and Graphic design) and WEB (Web Design) departments were ahead of the curve on this one.
2) I am extremely suspicious of the $0 price tag.
No price at all sounds great- on the surface. But what lurks beneath? Our IT staff works very hard to troubleshoot the systems, and get frequent updates and patches from the customer service teams at blackboard. How then, will a free system like moodle meet our needs? Is there not a great opportunity for security breaches, problems which cannot be helped by a help network which is manned by volunteers, etc.?
If a system like this is free, how can they possibly be as responsive as a paid system with working customer service? How much will training cost to get each person in each department switched over to the moodle system? In the mean time, will we have to work partially in moodle and partially in blackboard? My suspicion here is that there MUST be a set of hidden costs- either in functionality, system use, customer support, number of users/licenses, etc. Hidden costs. That’s my thought, although I’m ready to make the switch if requested.
I will grind whatever grist the mill requires.