Feedback Rubrics

How Students View the Feedback Provided in Rubrics

This is for instructors and students alike. For those of you who are instructing, this could come in handy as a resource for any students who are claiming they can’t find the feedback you know you provided for their assignment. As a first step in addressing that issue, consider sending the student to this post. For students…well, of course this…

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May 27, 2016 |

Writing Prompts

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 an introductory nutrition course, for…

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May 19, 2016 |

Choosing Rubrics

For the Love of Rubrics

In past posts, we have discussed how to create rubrics, why we use rubrics at UNE, and how to use rubrics in Blackboard. This particular post will focus on the different types of rubrics one may encounter and what they look like. There are three main types of rubrics: holistic, analytic, and a love child of the two that we’ll…

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May 11, 2016 |

Hard Drive Backups

Where the hard drive ends: Why you need to back up your computer

I’d wager that most people reading this blog have some important documents and files stored on their computers and phones. I’d also be willing to bet that less than half of those people have backed up their devices. I don’t blame them – backups are really, really boring. But, in this case, the opposite of boring is misery, because losing all…

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May 5, 2016 |

Rich Internet Applications

Rich Internet Applications - Conversations and Mashup

CLEAR’s RIAs Michigan State’s Center for Language Education And Research (CLEAR) has created a number of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) that can be used across a variety of disciplines. Because CLEAR is funded by a US Department of Education grant, the applications are free to use. Furthermore, they do not include annoying advertisements. As a world language instructor, I have used a…

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April 28, 2016 |

Learning Questions

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 thwarted by…

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April 22, 2016 |

Webinar Series

Webinar: How to Assure Quality in Your Online Course

Yesterday, the entire Instructional Design team in CGPS put on a (rather successful, by our estimation) webinar on assuring quality in online courses. We recorded the webinar for the faculty, administrators and staff who could not make it to the live broadcast. That recording is below: Watch this video on YouTube (Note: The first 26 minutes are of the webinar,…

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April 15, 2016 |

Finding Articles with Summon

It's Easy to Find Articles with Summon

In your courses, you are often required to locate an assigned reading using the UNE Library website. For advanced searches, it’s recommended that you use the Full Text Journals page. However, this tool, Summon, which is embedded right on the main Library page, has saved me a ton of time! Not only does it make it easy to plug in…

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April 11, 2016 |

Blackboard MacGyver

Macgyvering Blackboard

While I won’t pretend that I am among the generation that watched and enjoyed MacGyver during the mid 80s and early 90’s, the concept of “MacGyvering” is one that I feel transcends generations. It reflects the ability to take whatever you have on hand, however impractical it may be, and accomplish what needs to be done. Secret agents like Angus…

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March 31, 2016 |

Essential Questions

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 capitalize on it and spread…

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March 24, 2016 |

Project Naptha

Grab Text from Images with Project Naptha

Images are powerful tools for communication, and we try to use them in our courses wherever we can. A picture can speak a thousand words, as they say. More practically, a quiz asking students to identify the bones of the human skeleton makes more sense visually than as text. At the same time, however, images can be extremely frustrating if…

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March 17, 2016 |


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 meaningful decisions. It’s also a…

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March 10, 2016 |

Program Assessment

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 (activities) and put together course materials…

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March 3, 2016 |

Discussion Board

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. Watch this video on YouTube Resources from the Slideshow (2016). Best Practices for Managing Online Discussions. Teaching Online. The University of Rhode Island. Retrieved from Infande, Al. (2013). A Dozen…

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February 25, 2016 |

Public Domain Images

Resources for Finding Public Domain Images

We at CGPS are constantly working with visuals to make our online courses more engaging. Often, this means searching the Internet for images with suitable licensing for reuse, or most often for images that are in the public domain. UNE isn’t an ad-agency; it is a school. And while it is important that we maintain a budget for making what…

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February 19, 2016 |

Online Lecture Engagement

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 ideas in the classroom. Students…

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February 11, 2016 |

Audio Lectures with Audacity

Polish Your Lecture Audio with Audacity

Have you ever listened to an audio file that just didn’t sound right? It might have been a podcast, a radio interview, or even an online lecture. Maybe it was plagued by a constant hissing noise in the background. Perhaps the speaker’s voice was clear and loud at the beginning, but muffled and soft towards the end. Or, you might…

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February 4, 2016 |

Webinar Series

Webinar: Designing Rubrics

In today’s webinar for faculty members, Designing Rubrics, Chris Malmberg and Sarah Cochran disucss 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…

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January 28, 2016 |

Wiki Tutorial

Blackboard Wiki Tutorial

We’ve received a few questions over the years about just how the Blackboard Wiki works. Mostly, these questions are filtered our way via facilitators, who initially received the question from students who are looking at the tool for the first time. Concerned as we are that teachers understand the tools that their students are assigned to use, this is as…

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January 22, 2016 |

Speech to Text


One of the great qualities of language is that it allows people to connect across seemingly unbridgeable gaps. Above and beyond the everyday miracle of two distinct persons being able to share their feelings across a cup of coffee, language is flexible enough to be jump multiple mediums, and translate through several languages, without the conveyed content transforming too much.…

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January 19, 2016 |

YouTube Recording

YouTube Recording Directions

Record on your device, then upload to YouTube As many of you already know, YouTube has basically discontinued supporting web cam capture. Instead, you are now expected to record a video in a different manner (you may still use your computer and the web cam, just not on the YouTube site), and then upload the ready-made movie to your channel.…

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January 7, 2016 |

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 privileged…

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December 17, 2015 |

whiteboard, dry erase

What Happens in Those Writing Support Appointments Anyway?

The paper you’re reading has lost you: the commas are out of control, the word choices are weird, and that last paragraph doesn’t seem to have a point. It can be hard to know if lack of time was the culprit or if the student has not yet mastered the writing skills needed to express their ideas at the graduate…

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December 10, 2015 |

mac and paper

Benefits of Taking Notes by Hand

Do you take notes by hand? 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…

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December 3, 2015 |