What if nothing is wrong?

Why do it: Essential Questions for Learning

We have been talking on and off about essential questions with Chris. Just the other day, because I am facilitating an online course about online course development (yup, I am!), a participant in the course submitted a syllabus with an essential question in it, and this was such a joyous moment that I had to…

Tips for Gamifying Your Course

Looking to heighten student interest and understanding? Then consider gamification. What’s gamification? Gamification entails using game design elements, game thinking, and game mechanics in non-game contexts to make learning more engaging. Gamification boasts many benefits (1) . It not only fosters student engagement, but also increases retention. It engages people’s natural desire to explore and make…

flying penguins

Assessment: You have options beyond multiple choice and lit review

In backward design, you start any course or lesson with the goal in mind (=the outcome, hence “backward”), and then design an assessment (or a series of assessments) to allow students to demonstrate that they have mastered a certain concept or a skill – as determined by the outcome (or competency). Then, you scaffold the assignments…

Discussion Board Best Practices – A Webinar with Susan Hyde

Happy to say our webinar on Discussion Board Best Practices went swimmingly, thanks in almost every respect to our one and only Susan Hyde. Her presentation is recorded below, and you can follow along with this direct link to her slideshow should you wish. Resources from the Slideshow (2016). Best Practices for Managing Online Discussions. Teaching Online. The University of Rhode…

Engagement and Interactivity in Online Lectures: Exploring TED-Ed

In the best circumstances, a lecture attended in person is an exercise in engagement and interactivity as well as instruction. Understandably, this too is what we strive for in online education, but we are presented with additional hurdles. The instruction being given is prerecorded, has already happened, and cannot be influenced in real time by…

Webinar Series Featured Image

Webinar Series – Fun with Rubrics

In today’s webinar, Chris Malmberg and Sarah Cochran went into the methods you can use for taking full advantage of the rubrics in your courses, both to grade students fairly and give them quality feedback. There were many questions throughout, which we answered as best we could, but if you have more questions please write them…

magic, doves, sky, ring

The 12 Days of Course Development

What is Instructional Design? When Christine B. shared with us Aesthetic principles for instructional design , it was like walking in a magic forest with fairy tales hopping from tree branches. Could we have said it better ourselves? The instructional designer “sometimes acts in a role similar to that of the Greek chorus, commenting on the dramatic developments from a…

mac and paper

Think pen and paper are obsolete? Think again.

In distance education, many students type lecture notes on their computers, rather than writing on paper. After all, students use laptops to watch lectures, answer assessment questions, and participate in class discussions. It’s only natural to use the same device for taking notes, too, right? Not so fast. Last year, Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M.…

Depth of Knowledge

Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK)

In the world of curriculum development and student assessment, there are many models that inform our work. Each model supports the design of relevant, engaging, and rigorous learning experiences. While Benjamin Bloom ’s taxonomy has served as the “go to” framework since the 1950s, it’s Norman L. Webb ’s Depth of Knowledge system that has caught the attention of K-12 educators…