Stephen Hersh, a faculty member and former advertising executive, outlines six steps for how you can create a community of active learning online if you “use the medium.”
What did all this do for the learning process? Zoom became a way to implement active learning, the style of instruction in which students participate in the process rather than playing the role of passive audience. Active learning can make it easier to learn, and easier to remember what they have learned. To make this happen, this was my checklist:
Talking less. Zoom was just not friendly to a talking head. I thought of my mini lectures not as events in themselves but as introductions or kickoffs to small-group work sessions.
Motivating students to come to class prepared. We can’t ditch live lectures without replacing them. My students loved the booklets I handed out, which basically enabled them to take in quickly the material that I would have explained if I had done a conventional lecture. When students encountered the material in several forms throughout the course, it helped make the concepts stick. I could have quizzed them on the reading before each class, but it turned out not to be necessary — they made it clear in the discussions they had done the reading.
Using Zoom rooms. To apply Andy Warhol’s adage, on Zoom everyone is famous for 15 seconds. In small breakout rooms, they can take ownership of the ideas, identify what’s not clear to them and what they disagree with, and test how far they can run with the material on their own. They can think critically and build their skills, applying the ideas to solve problems.
Varying the rhythm and structure. Zoom is the ultimate in low production values, but we can compensate with variety. So, I emulated the structure of a television variety show, but rather than using this structure to deliver jokes, I delivered a canon of social science theories. After each major idea, I asked students to go into a breakout room to apply the concept to analyze a situation or solve a problem. For example, when we studied cultural anthropology, I asked them to teach the others about a personal experience they had as a member of a cultural group such as an ethnic, racial or religious group, or a gender or gender identity group. I tried to keep each breakout discussion to about five minutes, because students told me the conversations tended to be less productive if they went on for much longer than that. As they said in vaudeville, “Leave them wanting more.” With this format, I was able to move on to something else before Zoom fatigue set in.
Adopting the right mind-set and attitude. If you believe Zoom teaching is inherently worse than classroom teaching, it will be. If you can wrap your mind around the exciting possibilities of Zoom — or just give it a fair try — you’ve taken the first step. There are many ways to cultivate Zoom enthusiasm and make it infectious. For example, think: Why do I love this field to begin with? How can I express that on Zoom?
Continuing to evolve the format with input from students. Throughout the quarter, I asked the class what was working best on Zoom. Aside from just asking, you might consider using polling tools like PollEverywhere.com or Slido (which is at sli.do). Speaking of trying things out and evolving, if you’re not comfortable with the technical aspects of how Zoom works, seek help!
Zoom has its drawbacks. It is not very welcoming to students who lack a good internet connection or a private place to study. It can leave everyone feeling disconnected, and it can trigger Zoom fatigue. But when used thoughtfully, Zoom can be the setting for transforming a class into an active community of teacher-learners.
My university, like most universities across the country and globe, is struggling with a range of questions about how to operate during the pandemic this coming fall. I’d like to address two of those questions:
1) Is a zoom classroom inferior to a traditional classroom?
2) Should professors decide whether to conduct their classes traditionally or by zoom?
As the Spring semester comes to an end around the world, Adobe has notified us that the grace-period access to Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop Apps will expire on July 6th.
After that date, students’ entitlement level will return to the level prior to the March 19th release date, i.e. they can only use Adobe Creative Cloud apps on lab machines on campus. (Students will still be able to access Adobe Spark, however.)
Note that at-home access did not include any storage, so students will not lose any assets. Because Adobe will not be emailing students, please inform them of the expiration date.
Contact the ITS Information Desk at 540.458.4357 or email@example.com if you have questions.
Establishing presence and social learning through multi-modal engagements and reflective meta-cognition are effective techniques for *any* class, both face-to-face and through the internet. Communicating the underlying what, why and how of learning is especially important for online learning success. And, like any important new skills, acquiring these capabilities takes planning and practice.
Sakai is officially retiring on May 31, 2020. Note that you will NOT have access to any Sakai courses or content after May 31, 2020.
We are now opening up our third and final bulk migration request to move your course and project sites from Sakai into Canvas. Beginning now and continuing through May 4, 2020, you may request to have your course or project sites migrated from Sakai into Canvas by filling out the form available at https://go.wlu.edu/migrate.
At this point we are accepting migration requests for ANY needed course or project sites from ANY term. Courses will be ready in Canvas by May 18, 2020. You will be notified when your courses are available. This will give you time to check the final migrations for accuracy and completeness by the May 31, 2020 deadline.
Note that you will not have access to any Sakai courses or content after May 31, 2020. All materials you wish to save from Sakai need to be downloaded to your own computer or migrated into Canvas by that time.
We apologize for asking you to do one more thing during this unprecedented time of virtual instruction here at W&L, but rest assured there will be only a few more emails related to the Sakai-Canvas migration, as our year-long process finally comes to a close at the end of May.
Join a live LACOL webinar and hands-on practice with five experienced liberal arts teachers from Swarthmore College, Vassar College, Williams College, and Washington and Lee University. This team regularly collaborates to deliver online/hybrid classes for the liberal arts.
Many liberal arts colleges are asking faculty to consider how they may temporarily move their teaching online as part of emergency preparedness in the face of COVID-19 or other disruptions to regular classroom teaching. Tips and guides are circulating, and faculty get lots of support from their local IT and teaching and learning centers.
This interactive Zoom session will highlight five liberal arts colleagues (including our very own Moataz Khalifa, Assistant Professor and Director of Data Education, and Assistant Professor of Biology, Natalia Toporikova!) to explore the ways they’ve learned to teach effectively online while maintaining a liberal arts approach that emphasizes personal interactions and critical thinking. Bring your ideas and questions!
Two live sessions:
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 – 1:00pm-2:00pm EST
Thursday, March 19, 2020 – 11:00am-12:00pm EST
Recordings will be shared afterwards.
Min 00 – 10: Welcome and Self-Introductions
Learning goals for this session
A little background about the LACOL summer online class
Min 10 – 35: Hands-on practice in Zoom
Encouraging Student Participation
Sharing Screens / Remote Screen Control
Using the Chat panel for conversations
Breakouts – great for small group work and discussion
Min 35 – 45: Group reflections on keeping a liberal arts approach online that emphasizes personal interactions and critical thinking
Is tracking college students everywhere they go on campus the new normal? According to this recent Wall Street Journal article by Doug Belkin, “Universities are recording students’ faces with video surveillance cameras, tracking their movements with GPS and monitoring their messages on social media and email. They are detailing students’ study habits through digital textbooks, recording when they enter buildings, logging their presence in class, the library and even the football game. All of these relatively new tracking technologies are in addition to years-old systems that leverage students’ IDs to monitor how frequently individuals are entering gyms, dorms and cafeterias.“
Before you even have to ask, ITS can openly assure all students, faculty, and staff that absolutely no monitoring or surveillance of any kind takes place here at Washington and Lee currently and never will.
Protecting the University’s systems and information assets is tantamount to safeguarding the personal information of students and employees. And privacy isn’t just about compliance; we also respect your privacy on a humanitarian and ethical level.
Due to the current situation regarding the coronavirus outbreak, many organizations are taking precautions regarding the health and safety of their employees. LinkedIn Learning has recommended topics related to successfully managing change and working remotely.
Here’s a list of LinkedIn Learning courses (you must sign in with your W&L credentials) you can leverage to help in this admittedly crazy climate if you are impacted:
We want our students to have effective communication skills, but, truthfully, designing and assessing these activities in class can be incredibly challenging. So, we want to again offer our heartfelt thanks to Stephen for sharing essential questions and criteria to consider when designing unique speaking assignments, a turn-key model that faculty can build on, and an assessment tool to give student feedback.
Lastly, in case you missed it, here’s a link to all of the super helpful workshop materials (must sign in with W&L credentials) in Box.
Is there a topic or issue you’d like CARPE and Academic Technologies to address in Pedagogy and (not) Pizza? Let us know!