Tips for Strengthening Your Course Narrative

A good story generally contains the following elements: Protagonist: The hero (or anti-hero) of the narrative. Central premise: The argument or thesis of the story. Backstory: The context of the story. Conflict: The challenges faced by the protagonist. Narrative arc: The chronological movement of the story. Should any of these be missing, readers will find…

a squirrel – focus

Harnessing the Distracted Mind

We use the web for so many different things. We shop, read the news, watch movies, listen to music, talk with friends — often all at the same time. Some people call this multi-tasking. Others don’t call it anything — it’s just second nature that when we sit down with our computers or pull out…

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Group Projects: Insights with Mentor Commons

Group projects – online especially – have been an interest of mine for a long time. In a way, group projects are spaces for students to learn from each other, collaborate, and form relationships. If you have never heard about Sugata Mitra and his Hole-in-the-Wall project – old news, I know! – he takes it even further saying that kids can…

figure with bullhorn next to bold text: "Engage"

Using Course Announcements to Maximize Instructor Presence

Research shows that online students appreciate a strong instructor presence. Online instructors who leave regular digital footprints in their classes show that they are actively engaged and committed to supporting student success. In addition to discussion boards and assignment feedback, course announcements provide an excellent opportunity for instructors to maximize their online presence while also…

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Scaffolding for Learning

Back in March, my colleague Olga wrote about authentic assessment . In her post, she noted “you scaffold the assignments (activities) and put together course materials necessary to help students do their best in achieving the desired result.” In this Vision post, we’ll take a look at how scaffolding and formative assessment can foster student success throughout…

The Many Faces of An Online Course: Edit Mode

Regardless of the Learning Management System your institution uses, many of the recognizable names in this crowded field have various modes for authoring and viewing that can be turned on or off by a faculty or staff role to see, and edit, the course in different ways. The ability to put on a different set of…

How to Write Compelling Final Project Prompts

Final projects make or break a course. A good final project incorporates everything the student has learned in the course. It lends structure and meaning to the assignments that precede it, and it offers the student a chance to demonstrate mastery of course material in a way that is authentic to the subject matter. In…

Mini-Grants from Center for the Enrichment of Teaching and Learning

The Center for the Enrichment of Teaching and Learning (CETL), in collaboration with the Office of Research and Scholarship, is pleased to announce the open application period for the 2016-17 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) mini-grants.  Please note that although last academic year a review occurred each semester, we have moved to an annual application process.…

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It’s all in How You Ask – Posing Questions to Engage Learners

A few months ago, my teenaged son came home from seeing a movie with a friend. I cheerfully asked, “How was the movie?” He responded, “Good.” I shook my head and sighed. “Let me rephrase,” I said. He rolled his eyes at me. “Tell me about the movie!” He smirked. “I already did. It was good.” I felt…