Curriculum and Programs

Assignments in the Online Course: How Much is Too Much?

Guest Contributor: Robert Onorato. Given the seemingly unlimited, media-rich learning opportunities you can offer in an asynchronous online course, it may be tempting to craft a reading or resource list as extensive as your own time allows. But at what point will students reach the saturation point? In this article, Robert Onorato, instructor at Fordham University (NY) and a Senior Faculty Programs Consultant for Cengage Learning’s TeamUP, shares the experiences that have led him to his own conclusions regarding the answer to the question: “How much is too much?” I have been teaching college courses for twenty years and I Read More…


Selecting Media and Technology Delivery Channels

There are many technology tools and resources available — and more coming each day — that can fit into your workflow or teaching style. While it might be fun to try them all out, it’s likely not realistic with the time constraints you face when designing a course or creating course activities. What does make sense is looking at the ways that technology tools and the activities that make use of them can be delivered. In Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning, authors Michael G. Moore and Greg Kearsley emphasize that the challenge educators have Read More…


Designing Effective Group Assignments

Certainly, you could choose any number of ways to assign groups for group assignment: pull names out of a hat; have students select teammates; go by last name (a.k.a. the “potluck” method — all students A-L are in Group 1, M-S in Group 2, etc.). You could even have students count off in class to determine their group number. However, if you want to encourage maximum participation, collaboration, and achievement for a significant group assignment, you may opt for a method that increases the likelihood of student success and satisfaction. Though not an exact science, there are certainly steps you Read More…


Four Tips: Creating Prompts for Online Discussion Boards

Particularly for online courses, using discussion boards can be an effective way to encourage group or team interaction. You can encourage peer-to-peer interaction as students react or respond to a prompt and then interact with one another based on those responses, or assign a prompt for each student to read and respond to that you can evaluate personally. No matter the goal of your discussion board activity, you likely want to ensure that students’ responses are thoughtful, complete, and insightful. Read on for tips, courtesy of the TeamUP Professional Development Portal, that you can keep in mind as Read More…


Using Video in Your Courses

Video is fast becoming a popular way to reach learners in new ways. Whether providing recorded lectures to students taking online courses, or using them to get students further before they attend a lab session, video provides another avenue to engaging students. In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers, contributors Erping Zhu and Matthew Kaplan write that video can be used as a way to catalog your course lectures, demonstrate a concept to students, and reach online learners. Allowing students to access information asynchronously gives them the opportunity to revisit concepts when they Read More…


Student Perspectives on Research and Writing

Though it’s certainly possible — and absolutely necessary — to teach the fundamental principles and processes of writing a solid research paper, we often glean some of the most valuable and longest-lasting lessons from our own experiences. In this vein, our colleagues at Questia asked their readers: “what’s the best lesson you’ve learned about writing a great paper?” To read the top five student responses, visit the Questia blog. These remarks can give you insight into the student mind — and perhaps inspire you to ask your own students to share what they’ve learned from their experiences. Questia is the premier Read More…


Behind the Screens: Digitizing History

Prior to the advent and widespread adoption of digitization, you’d have to physically visit a library or archives in order to review a specific document. If your library didn’t have what you wanted, you’d need to travel to another library, request materials via interlibrary loan, or call to request a photocopy. Of course, these steps all assume that you knew what you were looking for, that you’d have the resources to travel, or that the holding institution would part with (or make a surrogate of) the materials. Enter the digital age. You can now access millions of pages’ worth Read More…


The Value of Information Literacy Instruction

The term “information literacy” may not be familiar to your students. However, information literacy skills — such as the ability to locate and access information, critically evaluate it, and then organize and present the information effectively — are certainly relevant to students’ education, and to their lives going forward. In your courses, you may help students acquire these skills through assignments and activities, or via instructional sessions in the library. You likely also emphasize the importance of proper grammar, style, and presentation, pay attention to the logic and clarity of students’ arguments, and reinforce the seriousness of plagiarism. By Read More…


Keys to Success in the Library

Guest Contributor: Katherine Johnson. Whether writing a research paper, or tracking down reliable sources to support our ideas, library research is a skill that can help you ensure that your information is sound. Katherine Johnson, Adult Services Librarian at Highlands Ranch Library, Douglas County Libraries, outlines tips to make library research effective, manageable, and enjoyable. Share this information with your students, or use them to brush up on best practices that you can apply when doing your own research at the library.
Though library research can seem like a daunting task, it does not have to be. With these Read More…


Critical Thinking – Critical Searching

Conducting an Internet search is certainly a quick way to find information — but once that search is done, it’s imperative to evaluate the trustworthiness of the results.
Even if you don’t have an extensive amount of time to devote to instruction on research skills or information literacy, there are some ways you can begin to provide students with the skills they need to distinguish accurate, authoritative material from that of a less trustworthy nature. For one such method, download an exercise from Constance Staley’s 50 Ways to Leave Your Lectern, designed to help Read More…