Three Keys to Starting Strong in Your Online Course

The start of the term is a critical time for any course, when students form an impression that can help or hinder them for the duration of a class. There are three key practices that can set the tone for the entire term and have an effect on retention and student success if implemented.

Tips from Pros: Voice Feedback for Better Learning

Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of providing voice feedback on student work. Phil Ice did one of the first studies of voice feedback, comparing text to voice in a graduate education course. The students surveyed after the course showed a strong interest in voice feedback, with 26 preferring voice over text and 4 expressing no preference. Nobody expressed a preference for text over voice.

Designing Group-Based Learning Activities for Online Courses (Part 2)

In May’s issue, I discussed the necessary considerations for designing group-based learning activities for online courses. Here, I give concrete examples that can be used to craft different types of group-based learning activities for your classes. For each type of activity, remember to consider the three design elements discussed in the previous article: 1) group formation, 2) group roles, and 3) group conflicts.

Points and Leaderboards: Tale of Two Platforms

Gamification has become a hot topic as instructors and instructional designers work to create engaging learning experiences in online course environments. While there are a number of key features in any gamified system, the awarding of points seems to garner the most attention. Students can earn points for the completion of specifically defined activities, and accumulated points indicate progress or engagement with an activity or set of activities.

Pecha Kucha in Classrooms

The Pecha Kucha presentation style is gaining interest in education. It requires that a speaker use 20 images, each lasting 20 seconds, to deliver a presentation. This makes the presentation closer to a TedTalk than the usual Death by PowerPoint. The speaker is forced to move out of the “covering content” mentality to the communicating mentality that makes TedTalks so interesting. This is done not just by shortening the length of the talk, but also by timing the images. With only 20 seconds per image, students are less likely to turn their backs on the audience to read bullet points and more likely to speak directly to the audience while using imagery to amplify the message, which is the true use of visuals.