You can use Panopto to record your lectures with slides, with audio, so that students can hear you, and with video, so that students can see you while you speak. That system has lots and lots to offer. Note the links at the bottom of this post to get to extensive training resources.
To get started, you should break your previously prepared lectures into smaller sections (5-7 minutes) to record them that way.
Here is why:
Most important when you are getting started: if you have to, it’s quicker to re-record a 5-7 minute video than a 60-90 minute video.
In the future, you are more likely to make use of these shorter videos in your teaching. When people talk about the “flipped” teaching model during normal times, often what instructors do is have students watch the lecture on their own time, and the classroom time is used for more active learning in the group setting. You may decide the shorter videos you make now will allow you to take that kind of instructional step forward in the future.
Breaking your lectures up with discussion or thinking breaks for students is something you likely do in-person. You do that because:
you need the break and want to invite student questions to see how they are doing with what you are teaching
you recognize that your students need the opportunity to reset their attention
you know that students need help to separate out the key points and to see how they relate or group together, so you provide transitions and comments that make that clear
Students will watch recorded lectures more than once because they know it helps them learn and review. Title your lecture sections in a way that allows students to see the focus of the recording easily. Then, they can target what they review additional times. By the way, students really appreciate the chance to rewatch lectures in this way. It’s especially helpful for students and instructors who speak English as an additional language.
Offering choice in how students meet course objectives is rooted in inclusive education and that by providing choice we acknowledge and respect that there are many ways to demonstrate learning and students have the agency, when appropriate, to pick the one that motivates them. These checklists might help you think about “shifting the ‘locus of control’ from the teacher to the student” (Jopp & Cohen, 2020)
There are three methods described: when students pick the medium of transmission for a final project, when students pick the topic of a paper or structured project, and lastly, when students help set the criteria for the assessment. The last one is my favourite because it forces the students to really think about what ‘good’ means, not just the content to transmit.
Allow students to choose the format of their final project – follow these steps
I have reviewed the outcomes in my course.
I have determined the outcomes that are best suited for offering choice.
I can think of a few ways a student could show me how they meet this specific outcome.
I have considered how students might present a portfolio of work to present their learning of the outcome.
I can make ONE assessment tool (such as a rubric or checklist), such that no matter which option students choose, I can use the same marking scheme. AACU Values Rubrics are a good starting place https://www.aacu.org/value-rubrics
All options would demonstrate understanding to a similar depth and breadth of disciplinary ability.
Have students choose the topic for their project or paper
I have a date when the assignment needs to be completed.
I have a date when a first draft should be completed.
I have a plan for when and how students will give each other feedback on their progress.
I have determined when I want to review students’ project plans – before they get too far down the road to make significant changes.
I have an idea of how much time I need to allocate to review students’ work or what my review supports look like (TAs, assistants, mini-interviews).
I have a plan for how I will introduce the project, its criteria, the options for students, the marking scheme (rubric or checklist), and present the timeline with deliverables to students.
I have a timeline of all of the above and am ready to share it with students.
Co-create the rubric or assessment tool with students
I know what ‘good enough’ looks like.
I know what ‘not good enough’ looks like.
I have anonymized examples of sufficient and insufficient that I could show students.
Students know the small steps or pieces that compose this larger assignment and can describe them.
I ask students for their feedback about what they think is important in an assignment.
I ask students what they think would qualify as good.
I work with students to make a checklist of what would be required to qualify as ‘good’ (criteria).
I am reflecting on how to use a checklist, rubric, or other marking guideline to communicate my expectations with students.
Jopp, R., & Cohen, J. (2020). Choose your own assessment – assessment choice for students in online higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 1-18.
Solicit requests for documented accommodations as a chance to include everyone more fully in learning.
Give verbal instructions AND a written corollary. (Multiple modes can be helpful to students with processing disabilities as well as non-native English speakers.)
Carefully frame objectives when raising potentially sensitive or uncomfortable topics.
Model productive disagreement, showing how to critique a statement or idea rather than the speaker.
Stop or intervene in a discussion if comments become disparaging or devalue other students’ experiences.
Allow ample time for any in class activities that require substantial reading, and provide guidance that reflects the fact that processing times will vary (e.g., how to approach the task given you may not finish reading, or what to do if you do finish it before the time is up).
Elicit formative feedback from students about their learning experiences in the course (e.g. facilitated Midsemester Feedback session or survey).
Ask a trusted colleague or GMCTL education development specialist to observe your class and collect data about how you include or interact with different students.
Student Student Interactions
Encourage students to learn and use one another’s names.
Use icebreakers regularly so students can learn about one another.
Establish guidelines, ground rules, or community agreements for class participation.
In class, have students work in pairs, triads, or small groups.
Have students write and share about how their background can contribute to a particular class activity.
For long term teams, structure in check-ins and opportunities for peer feedback about group process.
On the syllabus, identify collaboration or perspective taking as skills students will build in the course.
In class, explain the value of collaboration for learning. Speak of students’ diverse perspectives as an asset.
Provide students opportunities to reflect on what they learned through collaborative activities (formal or informal).
Deliberately assign students to small, heterogeneous groups that do not isolate underrepresented students.
Set up study groups that deliberately group students with different strengths.
Have students complete a self-assessment inventory and discuss with peers.
Have students complete low stakes small group activities that help them see and value the contributions of others.
Establish ways for students to intervene if they feel a certain perspective is being undervalued or not acknowledged.
Choose readings that deliberately reflect the diversity of contributors to the field.
Use visuals that do not reinforce stereotypes but do include diverse people or perspectives.
Use diverse examples to illustrate concepts, drawing upon a range of domains of information.
Explain references that are likely to be unfamiliar to some students based on their backgrounds (e.g., citing dominant pop culture or relying on regionalisms such as bunnyhug).
Emphasize the range of identities and backgrounds of experts who have contributed to a given field.
Use varied names and sociocultural contexts in test questions, assignments, and case studies.
Teach the conflicts of the field to incorporate diverse perspectives.
Deliberately choose course materials with a range of student physical abilities in mind.
Deliberately choose course materials with students’ range of financial resources in mind.
Analyze the content of your examples, analogies, and humour; too narrow a perspective may alienate students with different views or background knowledge.
Include authors’ full names, not just initials, in citations. (This can help emphasize gender diversity or unsettle assumptions about authorship).
Assess students’ prior knowledge about your course objectives to better align instruction with their needs.
Help students connect their prior knowledge to new learning (e.g., before introducing a new topic ask students individually to reflect on what they already know about the topic).
Invite students to identify examples that illustrate course concepts.
Use a variety of teaching methods and modalities (verbal, visual, interactive, didactic, etc.)
Ask students for concrete observations about content (e.g., a reading, image, set of data) before moving to analytical questions. (This can give everyone a common starting point and model analytical processes you want to teach).
Use a pace that lets students take notes during lecture.
Clarify the expectations and grading scheme for each assignment before students start working on it.
Create time in class for students to discuss and ask questions about assignments or assignment expectations.
Emphasize the larger purpose or value of the material you are studying.
Structure discussions to include a range of voices: e.g., take a queue, ask to hear from those who have not spoken, wait until several hands are raised to call on anyone, use thinkpairshare activities.
Use brief in class writing activities to get feedback on what students are learning and thinking.
Adapted with permission from Erping Zhu, University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT). Their format and content adapted from Linse & Weinstein, Shreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, Penn State, 2015. For information about the research behind these strategies, see http://crlt.umich.edu/node/90467
When students take courses in-person, they often find at least one friend in the course with which they discuss the course, the assignments, give feedback to one another, and so on. With the shift to remote delivery, students might have more trouble finding someone to connect with on their own.
This post explores how you can introduce peer feedback into your course to ensure that your students have a chance to share their work and receive feedback from peers. In the best cases, they might even form friendships, but another benefit of using peer feedback is that the quality of student work usually increases, which can make your marking much more enjoyable.
There are a few different approaches that could be taken to implement peer feedback, but the most common method is to use the discussion board. Below are the steps of what you’ll want to think through if you’re planning to use the discussion board for this:
The first thing is to decide on what assignment(s) you want to include peer feedback.
The second step is to determine a reasonable timeline for the peer feedback. This can be tricky in spring and summer courses, as assignment due dates usually come fast and furious! For example, if you want the assignment submitted to you on Friday, students should be sharing their drafts for peer feedback no later than Wednesday (but Monday or Tuesday would be best). There needs to be time for peers to provide the feedback and for the student to implement the feedback before submitting.
The third step is to decide on which students will provide feedback to one another. It is overwhelming to ask students to review the work of all of their classmates. Instead, you will want to assign pairs or small groups. You can implement this in your course by either formally using the Groups tool in your LMS (e.g., Blackboard) or you can create forums for each pair or group. There are pros and cons to both approaches
If you use the formal Groups tool, only students in each group will see the assignments, discussion, and feedback. This limits the ability to see a really wide variety of their peers’ work
If you create different forums for your “groups” on the course discussion board, all students will still be able to see each other’s assignments, but should be instructed to only provide feedback to their group. Since everyone can see the feedback, students may be more guarded in their feedback
The fourth step is to decide the format and instructions for the peer feedback
Do you have a rubric created for the assignment? If yes, it would be great to ask the students to use the rubric when providing feedback
Do you have a list of assessment criteria or expectations? In this case, formulate questions or areas of focus for the peers to consider when providing peer feedback
Do you want the students to provide their own areas of focus for what they specifically want feedback on? You could instruct students to post their assignment along with questions for their peers to consider
As we all rapidly transition to remote instruction this week due to COVID-19, it is actually better to keep it simple. When a friend sent me a blog post calledPlease do a bad job of putting your course online, I was initially offended. As I read the post, I realized it offered some really good advice. We aren’t trying to make awesome online courses (that takes too much effort at this stage), and faculty and students are dealing with lots of complications in their lives. We are trying to protect ourselves and others with social distancing while ensuring students don’t lose the credits they are working for. With that in mind, here are some quick tips for rapid remote teaching:
Choose to cut things that aren’t absolutely essential for students to meet learning outcome or objectives.
Everyone already has a Blackboard shell for their course. Your students are already enrolled. Use that as the home base for everything that you can.
Keep the technology simple. Posting of simple text documents in Blackboard, like your notes, will be best for everyone.
If you have to use video, keep it very short. Use small clips of 5 minutes or less if you can, and don’t worry about umms or editing for professionalism.
Recycle what you already have. Captured a lecture last year with Panopto – re-use it.
Avoid your class needing to meet at the same time (synchronous). It will cause potential problems for students with low bandwidth and people dealing with sickness.
If you need to give a final, make the test open book if you can. Technical solutions to proctor at distance are often ineffective or invade personal privacy.
Remember, everyone is working and learning in less than ideal conditions. Simplify everywhere that you can.
In higher education, we have our students do all the hardest learning by themselves. As academics, our greatest strength is expertise, but we routinely select passive instructional strategies that have our students mostly listening to lectures in our classes and doing their learning later. Choosing passive listening robs us of the opportunity to provide the nuance and clarification that learners need while they learn. This post focuses on selecting the right type of instructional approaches to have our students actively learning the most important and challenging things they will need.
Relationship to our Learning Charter:There are two learning charter educator commitments related our instructional approaches to learning tasks:
Be aware of the range of instructional methods and assessment strategies, and select and utilize teaching methods that are effective in helping students achieve the learning outcome of a course or learning activity
Ensure that content is current, accurate, relevant to learning outcomes/objectives, representative of the knowledge and skills being taught and appropriate to the position of the learning experience within a program of study
Aligning the type of learning and your outcome: The type of learning you want your students to do dictates your instructional approach. If the task is to recall factual information, but not be able to use it is any way, lecture is actually a very effective way to communicate that information. Student will still need to rehearse it (memorize) by studying in order to learn, and sadly, will often forget much of it six months out. In addition, the most useful things taught by an expert are rarely basic facts. They are skills, concepts, and refined understandings, which novice students learn most effectively while actively engaging in learning facilitated by an expert. When we intersperse passive teaching with the right type of active learning given our outcomes, students are much more likely to learn the most challenging things we have to teach.
Select an appropriate active approach, and intermix it with your passive approaches to increase the amount of student learning.
Type of learning
Knowledge:factual information like terms, classifications, and theorists
· Passive: Tell student about the knowledge (lecture, video, reading)
· Active: Have student use the facts in meaningful ways to learn them (mind-mapping, listing, drill and practice, sorting/drag and drop)
Conceptual:ideas understood well enough to apply it in new situations to assess or evaluate, like the concept of a successful argument or the concept of balanced
· Passive: Read a complex explanation, hear someone describe the concept
· Active: Classify or sort parts of the concept using criteria, refine an example of the concept, find errors, render judgement, construct an example of the concept, compare personal understanding to an example or rubric, reflect on growth of conceptual understanding over time
Process (cognitive):use a series of mental steps to accomplish a task, like solving for X
Process (psycho-motor or physical):use a series of physical steps with the right degree of acuity, like a neat set of the correct stitches
·Passive: observe someone do the steps
·Active: Try to do the steps, put the steps in order, find errors in someone else doing the steps, predict what will happen if the steps are done wrong, reflect on personal success in completing the steps
Skill:Combing multiple types of learning to accomplish a goal, for example identify the critical parts of a complex problem, choose the order to do it in, and solve the problem correctly
· Passive: Hear about or see someone else using the skill
· Active: Try the skill in context (experiential learning) and reflect on success, complete a simulation, generate a decision-making tree or matrix, construct an argument on the implications of the application of the skill by someone else, provide feedback to another person by comparing their use of the skill to criteria
Read the other blogs in this sequence about constructive alignment:
A simple way to start internationalization is to add assigned readings from international perspectives. This can be a way to start conversations and look for similarities and differences in findings. Even the writing and presentation structure might reflect cultural differences.
Next, take a look at your course outcomes – are students expected to develop or use intercultural competencies? How might the next version of your course highlight internationalized or global community skills?
Onwards on this journey, it’s time to look at evaluation. Inclusive assessment should include students using a metacognitive process to track their development. If that sentence doesn’t make sense on first reading, try this: a student needs to be able to know what they know and how they know it at any stage of learning. If they are just beginning, they should be able to identify that, recognize when they are building knowledge/skills/attitudes, and ultimately know when they’ve mastered or achieved the outcome of the learning. When students are involved in the assessment process, they are demonstrating choice, responsibility, and reflection. These are all attributes of inclusive learning which is fundamental to internationalization.
You now know that you have pretty decent intercultural teaching capacities.
You have continued to develop an awareness of your own identity and are modelling perspective-taking. Students in your course have the opportunity to interact with different worldviews because you know that makes them smarter. You actively create opportunities to build relationships between ‘others’ and can recognize barriers to student participation – you’ve essentially mastered using your intercultural capacity to inform teaching practices. So now you must be wondering, “What’s next? How can I further internationalize in my course?” No fear, you are not alone. Dimitrov & Haque (2016) have some suggestions for “curriculum design competencies”.
“Effective instructors are able to critically evaluate the curriculum and create learning materials that transcend the limitations of monocultural disciplinary paradigms, scaffold student learning so students have a chance to master intercultural skills relevant to their discipline, and design assessments that allow students to demonstrate learning in a variety of ways.” – Dimitrov, N., & Haque, A. (2016). Intercultural teaching competence: A multi-disciplinary model for instructor reflection. Intercultural Education, 27(5), 437–456. https://doi.org/10.1080/14675986.2016.1240502
Key questions to ask yourself on your internationalization journey:
Does my course syllabus have a specific learning outcome where a student is asked to demonstrate specific knowledge, skills, or attitudes of a global or international design?
Does my course allow students the opportunity to develop a more robust disciplinary identity aligned with their cultural or personal identity?
If answering these questions leaves you with more questions, it’s likely a good time for a conversation with the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning. We can help individually or direct you to one of our workshops to meet your needs.
This post is the third post in a series of the “Charter Chats” related to our new charter. The others are linked on the bottom of this page. The chats are informal introductions to a charter educator commitment or commitments. They explain what that commitment means for educators, and suggests one or two implications for teaching in a higher ed setting.
High quality, respectful classroom dialogue is essential in helping student learning. When students are engaged in actively thinking about their own learning and discussing it with others, they are more likely to understand deeply. If students are just listening to an expert talking without the interaction, they are less likely to remember the learning 6 months later. However, understanding more deeply and remembering more works best if the interaction in class is focused on the most important learning and it is safe and encouraged to share your ideas, even if they are not fully correct or are different. There are 2 key areas to pay attention to if your goal is improved learning through high quality, respectful conversation.
Open and healthy dialogue
The instructor is essential but not sufficient in creating open and healthy dialogue. Good dialogue occurs when diverse perspectives are welcome in the group and genuinely considered, and that requires all group members. However, you can make a big difference to how likely good dialogue is. Some key actions you can take are:
Share diverse perspectives and debates in disciplinary theory to make it clear good scholarship requires considering different ideas deeply. When possible, make space for plurality, rather than just one or two ways of thinking or being. We live in Treaty 6 territory and the homeland of the Metis, therefore including Indigenous informed perspectives and content along with Western ones is an essential first step in welcoming diversity
Describe what you mean by open and healthy dialogue before the first conversational opportunity starts. In subsequent opportunities, discuss anything that needs “a refresher” to be a bit better than the last time. Focus on ways of communicating that are problematic, rather than describing specific students or ideas that are a problem
Have students work in smaller groups much more often than asking questions of the full class. More students will get to participate, and most will feel safer to say more about what they think if they are only speaking to a few people
Overtly praise students who raise a potentially contentious activity delicately and effectively. Brave spaces are important
Warn students in advance if the content about to be discussed will be difficult or triggering, so they can manage their own emotions and expectations more effectively
How to create a shared, positive space in your class
Students know what it is to be positive in your class by what you do. Your language, demeanor, and willingness to allow student to help shape the thinking and decision-making all help communicate what your classes will be about.
Use language that includes rather than excludes potentially marginalized groups
When dealing with a complex issue in class, ask yourself, “What story am I telling myself. What story might the other person be telling about themselves or about me?” Thinking it through helps with defusing, rather than escalating, potentially problematic moments
Co-create, with students, a shared space for learning through co-constructing or brainstorming together and working often in small groups as a part of daily class interactions
Raise errors as opportunities to learn. Praise students who ask for clarification or surface their thinking about how to do something, even if it is wrong. Don’t pretend their processes are correct if they are not, but do point out that it was great to ask, and it is a very common misconception.
Don’t just share good examples. Share examples with common errors and ask small groups to find the problems and explain why
Provide choice and voice anytime you can
Learn more about engaging with students and peers in a respectful manner with some tips for managing interaction in class, and use those strategies regularly
Ask students to set personal goals for the class, then allot time and marks to those goals
Use strategies like cooperative learning strategies or power sharing approaches like a talking circle to give student the opportunity to share the gifts of their identities in relationship with one another. Seem to far from your disciplinary perspective? Consider these 4 easy cooperative learning structures that are good across STEM and humanities courses
Attend Gwenna Moss Center for Teaching and Learning sessions on leading effective discussions or take our short courses on critical conversation