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Motivation In Online Environments

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On 9/24/18 at 5:45pm, I attended the Excellence In Higher Education Virtual Conference Session: Motivation In Online Environments presented by Dr. John Fisher of Utah Valley University

 

Most students come with associates degrees, and they offer a program in law enforcement and emergency leadership. Most of these courses will be online. They have recently started work in emergency management and leadership. Roughly 10% sign up for these upper-tier courses but never start. To get to the meat of the issue, he polled and openly asked questions to find what motivated the students to start and succeed.

What motivates the student or us? SDT sets us in motion and motivation to succeed.

So how can we support the SDT students?

by connecting with students we can establish the interpersonal relationships that emphasize choice and flexibility. Dr. Fisher talked about the “emotional bank account” that is built through these close personal connections. Often, it takes a whole lot more deposites than withdrawals. In most cases, more must be put in before others are willing to take from it.

 

THis chart, built by Chen & Jang shows a different set of motivations and learning outcomes.

Need is a strong effect, and needs satisfaction was positive – or less negative really- for final grades.

When we support autonomy, we see a greater understanding and success on the part of the student. As students needs were satisfied, they felt more positive.

WHile we feel that we can often give cop-out answers like: “Here’s the number to technical support, they’re much better…” but that’s not a very supportive answer.

Students who would take online courses again said they would do so because of the flexibility. Those who would not said it was because they did not get the interaction with the professor that they desired.

MOre men are taking online courses. This is an odd set of numbers. Is it because more men are coming back? it may be because job services, it is unknown

As you can see in these numbers, flexibility remains high.

These were the questions given to students to help determine how to help. The 5th question was overwhelmingly yes! The majority of online students seem to be non-traditional students with jobs and families, etc. It is odd that online students would like to have the strong contact of a seated class, but do not/would not find time to take those courses.

While 80 students took the class, only 65 seemed ready to answer the questions

Using Grounded Theory, he created some propositions and comparisons throughout the process with 4 areas specifically looked at:

ONe thing that came up was that students needed to engage early to be successful.

Students demanded that instructions were clear, that after 16wks they faced burnout. How long can you put up with the same stuff every week. They wanted to see paced courses so there was good pacing and variety

These methods are some suggestions made in terms of assignments, discussions and group work. Not all students like group work. On the other hand, others feel accountable and working. Which is surprising. Many students prefer questions and exams to papers, so some answers are quite revealing

Again, there are several major items which are commonly said, like shorter course durations, flexible schedules, the autonomy of the schedules, constant and immediate feedback, etc. Online courses must still be rigorous, worthy of credits, and collegiate-level work. Students like structured content with variety and interesting materials.


Dr. John FisherOne of the challenges of online courses is motivation. Some students sign up for courses and don’t start. This presentation reports on a study about student motivation in online education. During a course end evaluation, students were asked the following questions. Why do students not get started in online courses? What can be done to get them started and keep working on assignments? What motivates you to keep working? How could online courses be improved so you are better motivated? Responses were gathered from over 100 students in five sections of an upper division online course in emergency services. Responses to the questions were analyzed and propositions developed.

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3 SEO Strategies for building a Bigger Online Community

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At 10:00am on 4/29/2018, I attended3 SEO Strategies for building a Bigger Online Community, Presented by Amanda Gorman of Pressable, at the 2018 Raleigh Wordcamp Convention in the Engineering Building I of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.

3 SEO Strategies for building a Bigger Online Community

 

WordPress Community: An entity where connection is democratized and ideas are made tangible. The community is a way for us to move from “I just want traffic” to questions like: who are these people, what do they want?

Community = Connections

We started out with the intention: Learn how to boost your SEO to build a bigger community online with 3 simple strategies:

  1. Keyword Research & Organization
  2. Leveraging Competitor Insights
  3. Writing Content that Resonates.

Intended Audience: Web designers, developers, Nonprofits. Beginner

Tending to your garden

LIke a garden, your community needs care on an almost daily basis. This “tending to”is about seeing what’s needed and then providing what is needed. What ideas are you planting in the garden? that really starts with keyword research. Knowing that this is your piece of the landscape.

How do we build a bigger online community

how do we get traffic, more conversions, more conversations? Go down your own path. Be intentional, be aware, build your own trust. These aspects will be so important an answer that you’ll want to push that first.

Be intentional

Keyword Research. This is where the ideas are planted and the SEO strategies start. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Take your time and have direction in what you’re doing. Watch those competitors and place your focus best. Client experience shows that insight into where to start can be incredibly beneficial. The rabbit holes exist, but they are not always helpful.

Core Concepts

Knowing the keywords you want to rank for vs. Knowing the keywords that are being searched. You want to be the go to person for a particular term. Wo, what is that term? The principal often has a big idea. Start with 20 keywords, expand it, then narrow it back down

“Empathy is the starting point for creating a community and takiing action. it is the impetus for creating change” Max Carver.

What does the community want and how can you expand it?

Keyword Research: Seed Keyword

The seed keywords are competitive and its good to get this before you talk with clients.

  • What are your keywords?
    • brand name
    • products or services
    • consider all possible scenarios
    • brandump words associated with your site
  • Example: Garden Center
    • garden supply
    • container gardening
    • gardening tips
    • backyard landscaping
    • gardening gifts

STEP 1: Dump seed keywords into google. See the related search terms. Perhaps you’ve forgotten catalogs, coupons, warehouses, and perhaps some of these you DON’T want to focus on

STEP 2: Working with Seed Terms build a list

  • spreadsheet in google sheets
    • ubersuggest
    • keyword tool
    • google correlate
    • google trends
    • soovle
    • answer the public: This is a great tool. When you see the same questions here you’re asking or hearing, its great to

Objective: Tap into  long-tail keyword phrases athat are specific to your audience, their needs, desires and pain-points. Remember: Seed Keyword + Modifier = Long-tail Keyword

Using tabs with Seed Keywords, we fill in the modifiers and use that to fill in the content for your site.

 

Keyword research: Google Keyword planner & The Doc

Enter your keyword findings into google Keyword Planner

  • Keyword
  • clicks
  • impressions
  • cost
  • click through rate
  • average CPC

Your seed keywords are going to be the most competitive. IDentify how much people are willing to spend. Copy/past the information into the spreadsheet

A massive document is overwhelming. Make it clear and concise.

Competitor analysis: be aware

its spying a little bit, but its more about market research, how you’ll become an authority in your niche. Its not a negative. understand your competitors so you can provide what’s missing. What can you provide that they are not?

MOZ bar is a free tool. Plug in your keyword to google, turn on the moz bar

  1. enter keyword
  2. look for one or more below
  3. review quality of content
  • pages with <20PA and DA. if less than 20, you can do a good job and get ranked!
  • ezine articles
  • yahoo! answers
  • ehow.com
  • buzzle
  • squidoo lenses
  • hubpages
  • ebay
  • wordpress.com
  • blogspot (or other free blog)
  • spammy press release sites

Let’s Have a Look at the Moz bar in action

High page authority means you won’t sneak in there. You’re not trying to beat the whole domain, you’re really only trying to have value for a specific page.

page authority are a lot lower here. This would be a great work to focus on. Gettting on the list will take time and effort, but find the gaps where you’ll fit in

Content Writing: Build Trust

have a trust mindset to build that copy. Forget the mindset of what you want, and build a connection and build trust. Be a place people can visit to get the answers they want fully and wholly.

Tips for success:

  • Write freely first
  • Use your target keyword at the beginning. don’t use more than 3 times, but have document open to the terms page, and include the related search terms, and don’t overuse or push that content or overstuff.
  • Keep your sentences concies
  • Include images, charts, videos and lists. People are also visual learner.
  • Create comprehensive content. This is key.  Rather than provide information overload with a short reply, be comprehensive. Give a full comprehensive report on each additional item

Improve Click-through rate

Quora & Udemy shows that there is a question and a need. Look at structure of content, and get inspired on how you might approach the subject. What’s missing? What questions have been asked which you can elaborate on, answer easier.

Add modifiers to your titles:

  • How to
  • the current year
  • review
  • best
  • fast
  • checklist
  • guide
  • tipseasy
  • simple
  • Use a number

Include bucket brigades: Add these headlines between content in an effort to re=catch the reader:

  • Here’s the deal
  • now
  • whats the bottom line
  • you might be wondering
  • this is crazy
  • it gets better/words
  • but here’s the kicker
  • want to know the best part?

The better you understand the content and the audience, the better you become and your website becomes. Keep People coming back to get that killer content.

Question & Answer

Content Length for a post?

500 minimum, but 1,000+ is better. better to write more and publish less than publish often but keep people reading than to publish often and not enough content

How to assist our customer?

Here’s what competitor does. it looks like… if you write this… dive deep into the specifics, and ask what they want to write about. Help them pick down to 5-10 key terms.

How much time should we expect to take building this list?

2 weeks of time. depending on the number of tabs.30 tabs might take  6 hours. Many clients only take 2 hours. From that step, its time to push the data and see how the trends show up.

What if I’m notified of a Keyword overload?

If you have too much, consider related words. Use google keyword suggest to pull secondary words and use those in the place of the oft-repeated term

What if you’re just getting started?

make connections with related industries. Life coach might find doctors and psychologist to connect with. Find a voice unfound and press into that niche. Be consistent with writing and promoting.

Other Suggestions

Brian Dean of Backlinko

 

See the whole slide deck at: speakerdeck.com/amandagorman/3-seo-strategies-for-building-a-bigger-online-community

 


Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman helps nonprofits and wellness-based businesses build thriving online communities. As a Customer Success Coordinator at GiveWP she works diligently each day to assist nonprofits in growing their communities and receiving more donations online to make a bigger impact in the world. As an SEO consultant, she’s passionate about tending to the internet like a gardener would tend to their garden, so it can become a safe and fun place to connect again. Amanda uses her SEO superpowers to help her clients better understand their purpose, their audience, and how to better reach their people. Amanda is in love with her husband Casey, her nephew Jackson, and their dog Topanga whom all live together in Rochester, New York.

Curriculum Design: The Missing Link Between Learning Outcomes and Online Course Syllabi

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At 11:00am On 11/8/16 I attended Curriculum Design: The Missing Link Between Learning Outcomes and Online Course Syllabi presented by Laura March at the 2016 USCA NDLW Virtual Conference.

Curriculum Design: The Missing Link Between Learning Outcomes and Online Course Syllabi

laura March headshotthanks-laura

In this virtual session, Laura March taught us how to use a Curriculum Design Document to transform the process of course development. While building an online class can be difficult for both new instructors and seasoned professors, this process purports to allow course developers to easily align teaching methodologies with activities and assessments. Participants in this interactive session applied the Curriculum Design Documents to their own work in order to facilitate active learning and challenge the lecture-and-quiz format typical of ineffectively-designed courses.

Throughout the conversation, Laura called out for everyone to add their thoughts to the discussion. When calling for other helpful resources, we noted that Quality Matters is a fine system, and Facultyfocus.com ( http://www.facultyfocus.com will open in a separate window).

Other topics included how schools should check in on previously-trained online instructors, or the process of teaching online in general. A general concensus was that this was a topic well-ready for faculty to begin prepping for, and that while mandatory training is needed, few if anyone is ready to take ownership of this once it has been rolled out. Most people felt that lead instructors should be monitoring the online adjunct classes as a method to achieve that level of compliance and adjunct performance desired in the school.

Laura’s full presentation

Laura’s Full Presentation can be seen online here: Laura March’s Presentation or you can access the PDF here: curriculum-design-presentation-by-Laura-March

As we worked through the presentation, Laura provided us with a curriculum design Document: curriculum design document for teachers by laura march.

Working through this briefly had some interesting effect on my thoughts, especially when she noted some examples of instructional strategies and offered the following links:

Instructional strategies

For examples and descriptions, consult the following resources:
• UT-Austin Learning Sciences
• Carnegie Mellon Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation
• Illinois Online Network’s Instructional Strategies for Online Courses
• Creating Inclusive Classrooms

She offered us a syllabus template that we could use, and we discussed how that might affect our classroom. I’ll attach it here: syllabustemplate_lauramarch. This item is not likely to be accessible, so didn’t have that great of an impact on me though.

Fifty Alternatives to Lecture

We completed our talk by discussing alternatives to boring presentation patterns that she enjoyed. These had been researched by J. Prusch and written and adapted by A.M. Pickett.

Almost any activity can be designed to be carried out in some way or another for an online course. Most important is that the instructor must set up the activity with all the supporting and explanatory documentation necessary for the students to understand fully what they are to do, when, where in the course they are to do it, what is expected specifically, and how they will be evaluated. Areas in the course must be designed and set up in advance by the instructor to account for and accommodate, explain, model, and evaluate each activity. Below are some ideas to get you thinking about what is possible and how. For help implementing any of these ideas in your course, contact your assigned instructional design partner.

1. Conduct an interview: A formal interview consists of a series of well-chosen questions (and often a set of tasks or problems) which are designed to elicit a portrait of a student’s understanding about a concept or set of related concepts. The interview may be conducted as an offline activity and videotaped or audiotaped for later analysis, or online asynchronously. Online course assignments and activities can be designed to prepare interview questions either as individual or small group activities.

2. Guest speaker: Instructors can bring additional expertise into the “classroom” in the form of virtual guest speakers. The instructor sets up a module or section in the course for the guest speaker, sets up the activity, introduces the guest speaker, requests web access for the guest speaker, and creates the kick off document for the guest speaker to use to start the discussion or presentation. The Guest then interacts in the course via the web.

3. Student led discussion: Often associated with ‘idea circles.’ These are peer-led, small group or whole class discussions of concepts fueled by single or multiple text sources. Students work together with a student leader to build abstract understandings from the facts, data, and details provided by a variety of resources. Variations include students assuming the role of the professor, asking guiding questions, & facilitating the discussion.

4. Student summaries: single sentence or paragraph. This simple technique challenges students to answer the questions “Who does what to whom, when, where, how, and why?” (represented by the letters WDWWWWHW) about a given topic, and then to synthesize those answers into a simple informative, grammatical, and long summary sentence. Can be used as a pop quiz. See below.

5. Pop a quiz: These quizzes can be used as “curve busters,” opportunities for students to earn extra points and improve their grades by answering questions correctly. Pop quizzes are unannounced and can be inserted at any time into any course module. A pop quiz section to each module with an explanatory document can alert students that a pop quiz might occur at any time. Information on the pop quiz aspect of the course should be clearly detailed in the course in formation documents of the course and in the module at a glance areas of module in which they are likely to occur.

6. Direct an observation: observations may include written field notes with detailed accounts of an event, objects or people observed. They run the gamut of disciplines from artistic to scientific observations. The observation is conducted as an offline activity (See related, Field Trip). Online course assignments and activities can be designed to prepare observation instruments either as individual or small group activities.

7. Brainstorming: This is a technique for generating new, useful ideas, and promoting creative thinking. It can be a very useful to help generate ideas for projects, encourage shy or reluctant students or solve problems. This can be conducted online as a small group discussion activity or with the class as a whole.

8. Build consensus: Students are expected to look for key themes of a given topic and post their position. Next students read others messages, look for an ideal framework and post a message supporting more than one position. In the following stage, students also post a message supporting more than one position. Finally, there is a debriefing, discussion and final evaluation. A specific example is the Jigsaw method. It is a useful for encouraging cooperation. In this technique students are arranged in “expert” groups, responsible for developing an approach to solving part of the problem. Students are then rearranged in “home” groups with one person from each of the expert groups and are expected to find an overall solution. This is then brought together by the instructor by having each group report their overall solution. This can be organized as an online activity using small groups. Careful planning, explanation, and course document set up is necessary to have this flow well and in a timely way. Tip: As an online activity, the best results are when the instructor assigns members to groups and assigns roles within the groups in advance, rather than letting student self select into groups, and workout roles.

9. Buzz groups: A group is divided into sub-groups of from 3 to 6 persons each for a brief period of time, to discuss an assigned topic or to solve a problem. A representative is sometimes selected from each sub-group to report the findings to the entire group. It allows for total participation by group members through small clusters of participants, followed by discussion of the entire group. It is used as a technique to get participation from every individual in the group. This activity is implemented online via small group discussion activities.

10. Case Histories: Case teaching presents authentic, concrete teaching problems for students to analyze. Teaching cases have long been a cornerstone of professional training in schools of business, law, and medicine. It provides models of how to think professionally about problems. Online case studies or histories can be set up as activities for individual or small group work.

11. Chain story, poem, article: The teacher begins e.g., ‘One morning Ben got up & went to work.’ A student is invited to continue with another sentence & so on round the class. You provide the linkers – ‘and then’, ‘so’, ‘next’, ….’ finally’; good for conditionals. Each person adds to what the previous person told, ending on a cliff-hanger phrase such as, “but suddenly…” or “but when he opened the door he saw…” and so on — the trick being to work the word in so that it fits the story. This works for poems, articles, and dialogue, too. This can be set up as an online activity either as a discussion with the class as a whole or in small groups. Every time a new person logs in to the course they add to the story…

12. Chain math or science problem: The teacher or a student poses a multi-staged problem which one student after another offers one step in its solution. This is done in small groups. Variation: students are given a list of solutions, and asked to create the problem to which it is the answer. The instructor gives guidance on what type of problem the solution is to. This can be set up as an online activity either as a written assignment with the “save for class” option and including the class as a whole or in small groups. Every time a new person logs in to the course they add a step to the solution or problem. The first person to save their response gets the credit for that level. Duplicate or concurrent respondents have to redo their response at a different level.

13. Charts: They can be used in a variety of ways in all disciplines, sometimes teacher- , other times student-generated to cover a vast array of topics. Closely related is the Categorizing Grid. Charts can be created using various software programs and attached to assignment documents for the instructor, for the class, or in small groups; both as stand alone documents or as supportive materials to a presentation or paper.

14. Chalkboards/Whiteboards: Teachers or students use these to outline, summarize, and highlight concepts and information. Online these can be created in Powerpoint or other graphics programs and attached as files to assignment documents. There are also tools that can be used synchronously online specifically for this purpose that may include capture and playback options as a feature.

15. Class created annotated bibliography: A glossary of various types of resources for any discipline. Using the Shared References Area and form students can be directed to regularly contribute a certain number of shared references to the class. As a directed learning activity the instructor can evaluate the student on the quantity of submissions, and require that the student include a summary of the resource as well as an evaluation of the resource. There are fields on the shared references form for summary and evaluation notes and to document the type of resource.

16. Conduct a survey: The teacher or students devise a survey instrument to use in or outside class. One example of a teacher-created survey is the attitude survey of students which provides valuable information on student perceptions of their online course experience, or as a mechanism to poll students on a particular course-related topic. Students can also work in small groups to design instruments that they then implement offline and return to the group or class to report on.

17. Debate: Informal debates encourage students to think critically about an issue or issues presented in class and allow for interactive class discussion. It is implemented by dividing students into two groups and assigning each a point of view to debate based on controversial material that had been presented in class. It is a pro-and-con discussion of a controversial issue. The objective is to convince the class (audience), rather than display skill in attacking the opponent. This can be done using the small group for preparation of the strategy of each side, and discussion areas for the actual presentation of the debate in the online course.

18. Demonstration: Teacher or students demonstrate a concept, procedure, or technique. This can be an online or offline activity. Online, it might be presented as a discussion with supporting documents or graphics. Offline, it might be video or audio taped to be turned into the instructor, with a section in the online course for reflections on the process. Or, a video or audio tape sent to the students by the instructor, with a section in the online course for reflections on the process.

19. Discussion: Lively online discussion fosters democratic participation and enhances learning. It emphasize participation, dialogue, and two-way communication. The discussion method is one in which the instructor and a group of students consider a topic, issue, theory, or problem and exchange information, experiences, ideas, opinions, reactions, and conclusions with one another. Teaching by online discussion can be an extremely effective means of helping students apply abstract ideas and think critically about what they are learning and how to use and evaluate online and other resources to support their positions. Variation: student – led online discussions. Online discussion questions work best that are open ended and provocative. Instructors need to make sure students understand what is expected and how they will be evaluated. Students must be clear on how to take a position and support it. See related, Questions and Answers.

20. Field trips: This strategy increases motivation and highlights the application of classroom material to the real world. It is an excellent opportunity to facilitate learning outside of the online classroom in an interesting and purposeful way. Field notes, reports, inventories, and treasure hunt lists, can be developed in the online course individually or in small groups and then used in the field trip. Students can then return to the course to report on their experiences to the class or in small groups. Variation: Students can also videotape the field trip and turn it into the instructor. See related, Direct an Observation.

21. Film/Video: As an offline activity for an online course, these visual tools help build background for particular topics or motivate student reaction and analysis. They encourage the use and development of communication skills and can be used to establish a social context for English as a second language, or to provide visual “texts” for deaf students. Film/Video/Audio etc. can be developed by the instructor and sent out to students, or in some cases students can be directed to find a particular resource at the local library or video rental store.

22. Group activity: There is a nearly endless list of group and collaborative activities you can do in the online classroom. The group discussion, for example, provides an opportunity for pooling of ideas, experience, and knowledge.

23. Keep a journal: Journal entries provide students an opportunity to make observations and reflect on their learning or development of a skill. This can be saved privately by the student and then periodically turned in to the instructor or submitted to the instructor on more regular intervals. Journaling activities can also be done in pairs or small groups with peer review intervals.

24. Games: They can be used to teach everything from art to zoology and are only limited by the imagination. Online or offline games can be used. Students can work individually or in small groups.

25. Laboratory: This is where students apply what they have learned. Labs can be set up as online experiments using simulation web sites, or software, or off line as actual experiments that the students conduct and then return to the class to report their findings. Lab packets can be sent to students including anything from seeds to sprout to a dead cat for dissection… Set up for this activity is rigorous and essential.

26. Learning teams: This group method encourages full participation from students in the learning process, provides shared support among students and promotes individual preparation prior to class. This can be accomplished online using the small group areas. Variation see, Study Groups.

27. Maps: Concept maps, diagrams, maps to are used to explain concepts. They can be student- or teacher-generated. They can be created in spreadsheets or other graphics software programs and attached as files to assignment documents or imported into the course for display.

28. Memorization: There are a variety of memory techniques that students can devise, learn about, and practice as online and off line activities. In an online course that requires memorization, the self-test is a useful study tool to help students self assess.

29. Models: Teaching and learning models add dimension to the learning environment even when they are abstract. In an online classroom, models can be used as examples to clarify what is expected from the student in terms of behavior, responses, quality of work, etc.

30. News Articles: Topical news stories are a great source of teaching material. They can raise the level of involvement and participation that the students have in the lesson. In an online class, topical news stories can be used to bring in current events or to target learning to the individual interests of students, or to target learning to timely topics. To do this in an online course where everything must be created prior to the first day of class, the structure of the course is designed in advance to explain, and accommodate timely topical new, e.g., place holder documents are created in the course in a Module called “the news room” where topical news based activities will appear as they happen in the news. Variation: Students pick a news story, item, trend, issue and follow it and post assignments related to their topic designed build expertise in the student on that topic, e.g, student becomes an expert related to the economics of South Africa, by reviewing an assigned list of periodicals for a certain period of time and completing a series of assignments designed to probe the topic, leading a small group discussion , and writing a paper to synthesize a report on the topic.

31. Object/Object Lessons: Activities specifically developed to target the nature of science concepts serve as object lessons that can enhance online discussions.

32. Panels: A an online discussion among a selected group of students with an assigned leader, in front of the class that joins in later. It is used as a technique to stimulate interest and thinking, and to provoke better discussion.With set up and explanation this can be done online using online discussion. Students are broken into Groups/Panels, given a topic, a leader is assigned. The discussion in each group is restricted to group members but members from other groups are assigned to pick other panels to follow and then at a specific time are invited to pose questions to the panel and participate in the discussion.

33. Paradox: It helps students move beyond either/or toward both/and thinking. A paradox presented online to a student, a small group , or to the class can be a very effective discussion starter, written assignment or small group activity to problem solve. See related, Puzzles.

34. Peer Review: Student peer review is often used to increase the amount of feedback students receive on their writing and speaking assignments, but it can be applied to a variety of activities. Variation: Peer observations are different from the peer review. You aren’t asked to review, rank, or evaluate your peers, but provide formative information, to help a person improve, change, and grow as a writer. Online this can be done in assigned pairs or in small groups.

35. Picture Studies: Use of pictures & diagrams in the classroom. Graphics files can be imported or attached to documents in an online course by the instructor of the student to illustrate, support, document, or demonstrate.

36. Problem Solving: Online, students solve given or self-generated problems individually or in groups.

37. Projects: These can be done individually, in pairs or groups, student- or teacher designed. They can be online or offline activities. They can be posted online, to the instructor, to the class, to a small group, for evaluation, review or discussion. Or sent in to the instructor for evaluation, e.g., a sculpture, a video demonstrating a skill, an audio tape of a conversation in a foreign language, etc.

38. Puzzles: These cover all disciplines and may be verbal(written), mathematical, conceptual or concrete. A puzzle presented online to a student, a small group , or to the class can be a very effective discussion starter, written assignment ,or small group activity to problem solve. See related, Paradox.

39. Quiz or self-test: Questions may be short essay, multipart, matching, multiple choice, short answer, true/false, etc.

40. Questions and Answers: A variation on the ancient Socratic method. This as an online activity can be done with the entire class or in pairs or groups. Student and teacher may reverse roles. See related, Discussion.

41. Report: An online report may occur in a variety of formats and may be delivered individually or as a group effort, to the entire class or to small groups, or to the instructor. The instructor must set up the location in the course for reports and clearly document, how, when, and where reports are expected.

42. Review: An online review may have various resources as its object such as a book, article, a performance, etc. Variation: Students can peer review each other’s work.

43. Role Playing: The spontaneous acting out of a situation or an incident by selected members of the group. It may be used as the basis of developing clearer insights into the feelings of people and the forces in a situation which facilitate or block good human relations. Online a role-play has documented and assigned roles, scenarios that set up the situation or incident and can be carried out in small groups. The instructor must provide very clear definition of roles, role assignment, activity set up, explanations, etc. A role play must be carefully planned and executed in an online course for it to work. See related, Simulation.

44. Skits: Skit writing can easily be incorporated into an online classroom including science and math to make concepts and ideas come alive. A skit can also be carried out in an online classroom as an offline activity that is video taped and turned into the instructor for review and evaluation. A report /description of the skit can be submitted by the student online to the class to incorporate it as part of the online course.

45. Simulations: (1) Provide a way of creating a rich communicative environment (a representation of reality) where students actively become a part of some real-world system and function according to predetermined roles as members of that group. Some examples include the Analytic Memo, In Basket (Manager’s Box); Committee Hearing; management lab (corporate business); treasure hunt; web quest; Sam’s Café (philosophical perspectives); Point Counter Point; U.N Council Meeting; Let’s Do Business!, etc. Rigorous set up for this type of activity is required on the part of the instructor. Definition of roles, role assignment, activity set up, explanations, etc., must be carefully planned and executed in an online course for this to work. See related, Role Play. (2) Multimedia simulations can be added to an online course to illustrate, explain, deconstruct a process, function, system, etc. Simulations can be distributed to students on CDs as accompanying materials to the course, added as objects or links to a course as presentation material, be incorporated into a course as a component of test or quiz, etc.

46. Storytelling: This is a powerful teaching strategy that can be used online not only in English, but also in history and any disciplines with an historical background, which includes all.

47. Study Groups: Students can be assigned to pairs or small groups to help each other out in the course for the entire duration of the course, or to rotate with time or change in topic. Variation see, Learning Teams.

48. Symposium: An ancient Greek instructional technique. It is a discussion in which the topic is broken into its various phases; each part is presented by an expert or person well-informed on that particular phase, in a brief, concise speech. Online, students can perfect their phase individually or in small groups with discussion and assignments designed by the instructor or the students to perfect their brief concise “speech,” and then be directed to present it to the entire class.

49. Take a poll: This is a quick technique that can be used to take the pulse of the class, highlight differences of opinion or interpretation, and surface assumptions. Instructors can use the test/self-test or multipart written assignment forms to create their online polls.

50. Testimonies: Personal testimonies bring life to any learning environment. Online self disclosure can be easier for some with an aspect or illusion of anonymity because of the lack of face to face presence. Ground rules need to be set up to establish expectations for confidentiality, online courteous behavior, and respect for each other.

Multimodal Strategies to Increase Student Engagement — League of Innovation Summit

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Multimodal Strategies to Increase Student Engagement 

The focus of this forum is to experience multimodal universal design strategies aimed at increasing student engagement. Formal student engagement directly increases student success and indirectly increases student goal completion. Participants will gain special insights through small group practice.

William Strond, Professor, Biology, Oakton Community College, IL

Many new online instructors initially create online courses that are fairly linear and mostly text. They quickly realize that such an approach would not work for every student, particularly those in  pre-college learning courses.

Many begin by writing lectures in a rather formal style, almost as though the pages were a textbook before they come to realize why it isn’t working. Teaching is an art, and not all people are very good at reading, and their engagement level is going to be fairly low, regardless of how much the content grips someone who loves the text.

Practical advice you can take to bring life back into your online classes using multimodal strategies:

1. Change the activity every 15 or 20 minutes.

Instructors in a traditional classroom can immediately see their students losing interest— but these cues are not available in the online environment, so estimate how much time each activity in you course is likely to take students and change learning modes when necessary.

One way to break up the content is by using videos, mp3s and screencasts created with Camtasia as a way of demonstrating the concepts presented in your lectures. In addition to engaging students in a different way, there are certain concepts that are easier to understand in this format. Realize that there are times when you as a teacher really want to show them how things go. Show them how you take main ideas from one assignment and apply them to one or more individual lesson items. This will make learning physical, and the making will deepen understanding among your students

2. Repeat the lesson in multiple modes to reinforce the learning. In addition to breaking up the monotony, presenting the same concepts in more than one mode can reinforce ideas and help students learn in ways that suit them best. Students may notice the repetition, but in a typical lesson it is possible to repeat the same information in three different modes.

A typical lesson might include a Web page, an animated PowerPoint presentation, and perhaps a video—so that you’re giving them the same material in three different ways. They may be reluctant to go back and read the Web page, but what they don’t realize is that in the three lessons they’ve gotten the same exact information three different times.

In addition to incorporating these various modes within each lesson, intersperse quiz questions throughout. If you’ve been telling students what’s going to be on the quiz, you can actually see the answers as you read or as you listen. Some students learn best with facts and when points are on the line. This acts as a motivator and shows that the quizzes are directly connected to your course content.

3. Create supplementary activities if necessary. Sometimes students fail to grasp the content immediately. In a face-to-face course, this lack of understanding can be remedied easily with a quick and simple review. Consider the same thing in your online courses when low quiz grades or other indications that students are failing to understand something. In these instances, consider  creating a quick Camtasia screencast and incorporates that into the next lesson as a review.

ECGC: A Freelancer’s Guide to Hustling Online

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ecgc-session

Freelancer’s Guide to Hustling Online, Professional development at the East Coast Gaming Convention (ECGC), 3/24/14

You can freelance in multiple genres, but the materials discuss here are primarily for writers. However, I stress that this can be applied to any freelancer. Freelancing is a trial by fire. If you want to be successful, research clients, research fleelance websites, and other freelancers. You should hustle online because sooo many clients are online, looking online, and you have Sooo many options to choose from online.

A freelancer:

  • Is a self-employed contractor
  • Can fire any client
  • Can establish their work style and work schedule
  • Can choose your projects
  • Is allowed to set your own wages

Keep excellent records of your earnings and expenses. You are legally responsible for your own taxes 4 times a year. Consider if you need to open a sole proprietor business or llc.

Research work-for-hire agreements. Read up on the law. Make sure you transfer rights to the client in the contract. You do have a contract prepared, right?

Experience lets you know how to manage your time. It will let you know what each job should entail, cost, etc. It will also give you confidence. Again, get records to know this, and review your records during down-time to establish a baseline for times and fees. If you’re inexperienced, build your portfolio. If you have completed work done under an NDA, just ask the owner of the rights if you can use it. Your samples are like free advertising for them and their products. Look for smaller jobs that you know you can do quickly (not cheaply!) to gain experience,

professional rates vs. Semiprofessional rates.
Sometimes its okay to earn semi-professional rates. Semi pro rates are less (1-4 cents per word). When choosing to take semiprofessional rates, understand and hold fast to the idea that these rates cannot be for something that takes little time, not full time, or even part time.

Passion is great and keeps you going, it lets you be better at what you do. However, many people will try to take advantage of that… They think: “you have passion- so what.”

“Passion” to clients means:

  • no experience.
  • I might lose my passion…
  • Don’t pay me much, I’m passionate.
  • Passion is an emotion, could be drama

Don’t ever use: Aspiring,  Student,  Amateur,  Looking for experience. Say what you are, and OWN IT. be confident. People are spending money. You are a writer, a game writer, a designer, a developer. Say it.

 

Things to consider while freelancing

Be professional.
Have a website where people an find you. It doesn’t have to be best ever, just show you can be professional looking. Make your online material is FANTASTIC! watermark your portfolio samples and convert them to PDF if you can. Specify what kind of work you do and have a veriety of samples that illustrate your range. Connect social media accounts, and destroy or distance yourself from accounts that might make you look unhinged. Promote your business where its appropriate, but do not spam sites or forum comments with your links

Profiles.
Explain what your value is, avoid problematic buzzwords. Talk about your experience. Proofread everything twice. Then do it again. Then get someone else to check it.

Rates.
People lowball because”

  • They need experience
  • They are trying to establish themselves
  • They don’t know what to charge
  • They can always raise it later.

Don’t lowball. Clients will equate your skill with the price you request. Lowballing makes it difficult to raise prices. Lowballers have rates online, and new clients will expect the old rate. repeat clients may not be able to meet the new rate. Lowballers ruin everyone’s cash flow- And clients end up having poor expectations.

So how do you set your rates?
Your rate can be based on education , previous work history, the current market rate, your work in field
Consider your living expenses: rent groceries, car payment, loans, debt
allindiewriters.com/freelance-hourly-rate-calculator

Thrive, not survive: Consider the following pricing sets
Writers guild of great britain 70-95 hour
Editorial freelancers copywriting 40-50 hour / 20-25/word
Search for: “How much should I charge pdf” online

Contracts and clauses
Have a work-for-hire contract. Specify the number of revisions. You can get templates online or hire a lawyer/ Note what the work entails, how to pay you and how much , how you will be credited, breakdown of milestones-dates of sending work, getting paid, when to receive feedback- a full description of deliverables, feedback options and payment. What you will be payed when work goes beyond the scope. Attach payment received to milestones because you need money in the process. Getting paid after first draft and each revision, for example.

Work-for-hire must assign the rights to someone else, so include “all rights will transfer to client upon final payment.” In your contract. This notes that any lack of payment will have you keeping the rights for the work produced.

Jobs longer than 1 week should have a retainer for your services- This retains time on your scheduling calendar. It identifies a serious client and protects you for non-payment. The client bleeds a little bit, sacrificing something to get the work.

Where to look online for work?

  • craigslist and similar sites
  • forums
  • freelance sites.

Freelance sites
Read the Terms of service (TOS), read the contract agreements, find out if you can you use your own contract? Know how to add your own agreements so they’re legally binding, know how jobs are awarded, find out how freelancers are paid through the platform, review the types of jobs posted. People will get away with things!! Send in your Bid with a proposal. Read everything about how the site works.

Finding jobs
People are looking to scam freelancers, and great clients too. Don’t try to compete on price. Get the price that’s right for you. They expect YOU to know the right rate and educate them. TRUST YOUR INTUITION. Don’t dismiss postings with a lack of information. Ignore clients who seem too demanding in their communications- if they seem like jerks in writing, they’re probably jerks. Determining amount of work needed and the budget. If the amount i laughable, dont bother. Review feedback client has given and received on freelance websites- are comments nasty or complementary? Do they show jobs uncompleted and what were the freelancer responses.

Contacting a client
Focus on: Your expertise as its relevant to the client job, thoughtful questions to engage client, give fee for job. Talk qualifications only if they relate to the job. Don’t go into detail, just give a taste. Send query letters if you want. show your interest in the project, your ability to identify the client/project need, encourage the client to respond/start a conversation.

Always include a preliminary fee. Give a breakdown of costs, talk about miletones, mention all rights will transfer upon final payment. Always be professional. Always send smaples. give them something to look at. Send relevant samples if you do have it. Write the proposal, send it, and then forget it. If you wait for responses, you’ll miss other opportunities.

Establish professional relationships.
Set boundaries. Set hours and meeting times, come to an agreement. Always be professional in communication and feedback. Don’t get blackmailed into good feedback on a job for less/no payment. Help clients understand what they need. Give advice, and don’t take over the project. If anything goes sour, you want the client to look like a chump, rather than you or equal faults. Ultimately, you are not the client, and its not about YOU. Its about them and their needs.

Online Teaching Survival Guide

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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.