Excellent advice and practical tips for moving to virtual recorded learning!

Gearing up for asynchronous lecturing and thinking about student engagement in online and/or hybrid courses? Then set aside a few minutes to read this terrific thread with practical tips and tricks on lecture capture. Many thanks to @vijisathy for compiling and sharing your thoughts about creating a “high-structure active learning classroom”.

New Resource: Inclusive Teaching Practices Toolkit

By implementing inclusive teaching practices, faculty create learning environments where all students feel they belong and have the opportunity to achieve at high levels.

ACUE is excited to introduce a set of free resources—including videos and downloadable planning guides—that can be immediately put to use to benefit both faculty and their students. These practices are tailored for online teaching but are also relevant to the physical classroom.

These 10 practices include:

  1. Ensure your course reflects a diverse society and world.
  2. Ensure course media are accessible.
  3. Ensure your syllabus sets the tone for diversity and inclusion.
  4. Use inclusive language.
  5. Share your gender pronouns.
  6. Learn and use students’ preferred names.
  7. Engage students in a small-group introductions activity.
  8. Use an interest survey to connect with students.
  9. Offer inclusive office hours.
  10. Set expectations for valuing diverse viewpoints.

The Inclusive Teaching Practices Toolkit was developed in collaboration with Dr. Marlo Goldstein Hode, Senior Manager, Strategic Diversity Initiatives, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, University of Missouri-St. Louis.

FACULTY FOCUS: “A Reflection on the Sudden Transition: Ideas to Make Your Synchronous Online Classes More Fun”

Fun Activities for Online Classes

  1. We play a “This/That” game. It is really silly, but both the students and I have fun with it, or at least I do. For example, I start the game with the first student who volunteers. “Do you like Semantics/Pragmatics? Why?” “Would you like to be the Broca’s area/Wernicke’s area? Why?” “Would you like to have a conversation with a toddler/a preschooler? How?”  Then each student calls out a peer’s name and asks them a similar question. We make sure that everyone gets a turn.

  2. We play “Two truths and a lie.” For example, I start with the first student. “Intentional communication emerges around 8-9 months. Joint attention emerges around 6 – 10 months of age. Inflectional morphemes are mastered by age 3.” The student has to select which one of these statements is a lie. And then, I give the students a checklist that they can use to ask the next person another “Two truths and a lie” question. 

  3. Another game we play is called “Circle of questions.” One student starts with a question. For example, “What is decontextualized language?” The next student then responds and asks a question to the person that she / he tags. The next question needs to be in some way related to the first question. For example, it can be related to decontextualized language or language development in preschoolers. All students get a chance to ask and respond.

  4. We play a “Tell your grandma” / “Teach your grandpa” game. I post questions ahead of time. If there are 10 students, I post 10 questions. Each student picks a question and spends about two minutes preparing an answer. I then pretend to be the grandma or grandpa, and I ask a question pretending to not know anything about it. For example, I say, “What exactly is phonological awareness?” And then I annoy them by saying, “Really? I can’t understand that. Could you tell me what a phoneme is first? Why would a child need phonological awareness? What does it have to do with reading?” etc. So, I spend about five minutes with each student doing this. 

  5. Another game is called “Emoji Slides.” This is a great game to play before exams. I have a set of pre-made slides. Each slide displays a concept or a word or a question. I share my screen and present one slide at a time. Students have to respond by reacting to the word/concept/question on the slide with an emoji – 😃 Happy , 😔 Sad, or 😐 Neutral. If I see a 😃 happy emoji from all students, I move on to presenting the next slide. If a few students respond with a sad or neutral emoji, I stop and explain the concept or give examples, and then ask them to react with an emoji again. If the emoji is now happy, we move ahead. Students can also create their own slides, share their screen, tag a person, and ask them to react.

  6. Another game we play is “Who am I?” For example, I say, “I am a part of the cochlea that separates the scala media and the scala tympani. Who am I?” “I acquired two languages at the same time before the age of 3.Who am I?”

  7. We do online role plays. For example, one student volunteers, and we practice asking questions as part of a case history while I pretend to be the caregiver and the student takes the role of a speech-language pathologist. We then reverse roles. We also role play to practice counseling. I provide a list of case-based scenarios that all students can look at. I read each scenario aloud, and students take turns to counsel me while I play the role of the client.

  8. For review of concepts, we use collaborative worksheets. We use this activity every time we meet online as students like the structure and repetition of this activity. I post a worksheet with several questions (multiple choice, fill in the blanks, true/false, explain a term, give an example, compare two concepts, etc.). Students can then open this worksheet on their Microsoft Teams browser and start typing answers to these questions. Students can see each other’s responses, and I can see both their names and their responses. They get immediate synchronous feedback. I respond next to their responses with a happy emoji if their answer is correct. If their answers seem vague or incorrect, I edit it online while everyone else can see my edits. You can do this activity with Google Docs if you are not using Microsoft Teams.

  9. Finally, we use short 15-minute quizzes during the synchronous class time. I create quizzes using Microsoft Forms because it is compatible with Teams. These quizzes are not part of the course grade; they are merely used for practice. Students can complete the quiz on their individual devices during class time, and I can review their responses, where they can get immediate feedback. You can create these on your course LMS, use Google Forms, or simply read a question out loud and have students respond in the chat screen or shout out the answers.

Read the entire article by Siva priya Santhanam, Ph.D., CCC-SLP,  assistant professor at the Dept. of Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado at https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/ideas-to-make-your-synchronous-online-classes-more-fun/.

WANTED: Your Fall Academy Session Proposals!

Now accepting session proposals for 2020 Fall Academy though Friday, July 17!

This year, Fall Academy will take place from Monday, August 3 to Friday, August 14. Registration will open on July 27 at go.wlu.edu/fallacademy.

If you would like to offer a session during the first week (Aug 3rd – 7th only — week 2 is completely full, sorry), please let us know the following information:

1. Title
2. Description
3. Presenter(s)
4. Duration
5. Format (panel session, information session, guest speaker, workshop, etc.)
6. Preferred days and times from Monday, Aug 3rd to Friday, August 7th — we’ll try to accommodate, but some sessions that are already booked might prevent this.
7. Zoom meeting URL

Questions? Contact Julie Knudson (jmknudson@wlu.edu, x8125) or Helen MacDermott (hmacdermott@wlu.edu, x4561). Thank you!

Inside Higher Ed: “Yes, Your Zoom Teaching Can Be First-Rate”

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:

  1. 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.
  3. 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.
  5. 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.
  7. 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.
  9. 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?
  11. 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.

Read the full article at https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2020/07/08/faculty-member-and-former-ad-executive-offers-six-steps-improving-teaching-zoom


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?

The short answers are: no and yes.

Read more at Chris Gavaler’s blog, The Patron Saint of Superheroes 

Adobe Creative Cloud at-home access for students ends on July 6th

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 help@wlu.edu if you have questions.

Save the Date! LACOL 2020 Mini-Workshop (June 15) based on the book “Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes”

Webinar: Small Teaching Online with author Flower Darby
Date and Time: June 15, 11:00am – 12:30pm EST
Location: Zoom
Registration: REGISTER BEFORE MAY 18th!

Small teaching is a phrase coined by Professor James M. Lang to describe an incremental approach to improving instruction. In 2019, instructional designer Flower Darby and Lang teamed up to apply small teaching principles to the online realm.  The result of their collaboration is an essential volume for any educator, “Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes“.

As a highlight of the LACOL 2020 virtual workshop,  Darby will lead an online mini-workshop, exploring small steps with big impacts for students.

The book recommendation is excellent – a lot of useful suggestions which would take years to figure out.

-Dr. Natalia Toporikova, Washington and Lee University, biology professor and online data science instructor, summer 2019, 2020

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 whatwhy and how of learning is especially important for online learning success.  And, like any important new skills, acquiring these capabilities takes planning and practice.

See also: