Tidbits, Resources, and Discussion for ELI Faculty

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Taking Stock

I've been writing The Director's Cut for a little over a year now, and I thought it might be a good time, as the spring semester winds down, to take stock. Is it worthwhile to you for me to keep this blog? Are there things I could change that would make it more useful to you? Should I direct my energies elsewhere instead?

Feedback appreciated!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Technology tips to save time and improve student learning

Mark Morton from Educause has put together a document with his top 5 tips for using technology to make your life as on online teacher easier while also helping students be more successful. What's nice is that each tip includes a full description of how to make it work, evidence to show that it actually does work, and links to examples. Take a look and see if you find anything you might want to use!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finding New Faculty to Teach at ELI

For the first time (at least that I'm aware of), we put ELI in the adjunct block ad HR publishes each term--and wow, have we gotten a huge response. I've heard from people around the region, the state, the country, and even internationally who want to know more about teaching for us. It's amazing to see how much distance learning is growing and how many people want to try it out.

I've put together a brief FAQ to tell interested parties a few basic things about ELI. Take a look and tell me what you think. Are there things I'm missing that I should include in this first, overview-type FAQ? (We of course provide more information later, like sharing the MOU.)

(As a related aside, some of you may remember that long ago, I asked you for feedback on the faculty portion of the ELI site and how we could redesign it to make it more useful to you. That's still coming--and so, no need to comment on the layout of this document in terms of web design--just content.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Attention, Grammar Police!

One of my pet peeves is people who use quotation marks inappropriately (I know--we should all have such problems), so I got a laugh out of this blog, which posts photos of signs and notes people have found with these kinds of errors. Some of them are pretty funny--and, English and Communication Studies faculty, this might be fun to use with your students!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Students on Blackboard

I posted a poll on the student blog asking students about their feelings about Blackboard, and got some interesting results. 48% said they "love" Blackboard. I wonder what percentage of faculty would say that!

Friday, April 10, 2009

This whole Twitter thing...

As you can see from the poll results on the left, not many of you are on Facebook, at least not in a significant way. I'm guessing that it's also the case that most of you aren't on Twitter, since it's newer and since FB is a bit easier to handle than Twitter. But, our students are on it. Have you explored it at all? What do you think?

Here's an interesting article on using Twitter to get feedback from students about their learning. It's really focused on institutional planning, but I think it is also interesting to see the types of things students said.

Can you think of ways you could use Twitter in your teaching? Is anyone using it now?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What Did You Learn?

Last night, we had a great student success event and shared a lot of ideas for better helping our students learn our material and succeed in our courses. Many of us also attended New Horizons last week.

Let's share the wealth. What did you learn (great ideas, new technology tools to try, time-saving tips, etc.) that you think your colleagues might also benefit from?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Make Quick, Free Videos

At New Horizons, I saw a demo of Animoto, a site that allows you to make free 30-second videos. (You can also buy an account, which allows you to make longer videos.) It's really neat--you just upload pictures (or use pictures they store on the site), select music (again, upload your own or use theirs), and then give it a name, and the site adds all the effects.

The ELI Student Services Staff just had a retreat a couple of weeks ago. Here's a video I made using Animoto and some of the pictures from the retreat.

Still haven't figured out how to add text on top of pictures--maybe one has to do that using photoshop or some other photoediting service before uploading the pictures. Anyway, it's fun to play with for personal use (the presenter showed a little video of him visiting his grandkids), or for teaching (I was thinking about making a little welcome video for the new ELI course I'm developing). You can see some cool things educators have done with the expanded version if you visit this part of the site (check out the "We the People" video or the case studies at the bottom. I think the "function notation" one is great).

Try it out and post your video links in the comments!