Today I stumbled upon a few recorded webinars that were a part of Blackboard’s Innovative Teaching Series for 2012. Quite a few of them might be interesting to the La Salle community, but I started by watching Session #3: Tips and Tricks for Utilizing Video and Media in Your Course, presented by Julie Rorabaugh from Cowley College. I would recommend it for anyone that is interested in a few new ideas and tools for spicing up their courses.
You can access the presentation by clicking on the title of the webinar on this page. You will be presented with a pop-up window. Scroll to the bottom and click the button for “Playback.” You will be asked to fill out some registration information before you can view the recording. The presentation is about an hour long but you can skim through it by using the timeline controls at the bottom of the screen.
In case you don’t have time to watch the presentation, I’ve jotted down some of the ideas that I took away from the webinar:
Update students using audio announcements. Quick and to the point audio announcements help ensure that your students understand what is expected, while also providing more of a personal experience. This personal experience is particularly important for online courses, since students never get to meet you in person.
I really like the ipadio tool that the webinar recommends, which allows you to record online audio podcasts from your phone! You can embed your channel in your Blackboard course. Students can also subscribe to your channel via iTunes, so they are always plugged into your announcements. You can preview my first attempt at recording via ipadio below:
Provide students with audio feedback on their work. It can be time consuming to provide detailed feedback to students about their work, especially if you are trying to find the right tone to express what they need to do to improve. It may end up being quicker and more personal to record audio of your feedback. Luckily, at La Salle we have access to Turnitin’s GradeMark tool, which makes it extremely easy to do this. Click here to learn how.
Assign a photo scavenger hunt that asks students to capture examples with their smartphones or cameras. The webinar presenter asked her students to find signs that included poor grammar (which I think is a really fun and useful way to tie their learning to the real world), but there are probably applications of this assignment for all types of courses and disciplines.
Create an interactive syllabus. Do you find that your students don’t read your syllabi as closely as you would like? Perhaps shifting the format, and making it easy to read online (no downloading required) may help. The webinar recommends a flip book software that seems fairly easy to use (FlipSnack), but this could also be done by uploading PowerPoint slides to SkyDrive or with Prezi.
Use polls and surveys to engage students. It can be extremely helpful to find out what your students already know about a topic before you begin a unit of study, what your students may be struggling with during or after the unit, or general feedback they have about the course. At first glance Micropoll, which was mentioned in the webinar, seems like a good tool. You could also do this using Blackboard surveys or the free version of SurveyMonkey.
Go back to “tried and true” themes from the 1900 Blog. Many of the tools and strategies recommended by the webinar are some of our favorite tools and techniques as well: Screencast-o-Matic, Jing, embedding YouTube videos, and recording over whiteboards using an iPad or tablet.
Please let us know by email or in the comments if you decide to try anything mentioned in this post, or if you have additional tips to share!