The terms “virtual,” “augmented,” and “mixed” reality have been thrown around a lot lately in education, leaving many instructors understandably perplexed over their different meanings. Worse yet, discussions of these concepts often fail to adequately disconnect them from their gaming origin, making one wonder whether they have useful applications to education. The good news is that there are many educational uses of these applications, and a world of free educational content available to instructors. Better yet, most of these applications do not require expensive goggles or other equipment for making or viewing content.
Online Classroom Current Issue: April, 2018
As an instructor I am constantly seeking strategies that will allow me to deliver content to a diverse population, support student-directed learning, and facilitate ongoing communication exchange between instructor and students. It was during one of my searches that I realized the potential benefits of online books. First, the reader is engaged with the text through their computer, smartphone, iPad, etc. (Kelly, 2016). Instructors can include chunks of material followed by video examples and interactive exercises. An online book is not a separate text, but an interactive tool specifically aligned with the course. Second, when a course instructor builds their own online book, they are building the content with their learners in mind (Gende, 2012). As a content expert myself, that has taught management courses for many years, I understand potential student content translation pitfalls. The online book can be created anticipating students’ needs and preemptively adding key content to support ease and facilitate learner growth.
Student engagement, performance, and retention in online education are major concerns for higher education administrators. Wake Technical Community College improved all three with its Operation Graduating Gilbert (OGG) course that adopts a story design and gamification format to build a more engaging experience for the learner.
I remember being stressed for undergraduate science laboratories, unsure whether I understood the protocol sufficiently and worried that I was going to “mess up” in the lab. With this in mind, I thought about what I could do to help ease my students’ anxiety in a new third year laboratory course I was developing. The answer was an online decision tree that guided students through laboratory procedures, which I named LaboraTREEs. Students would do the module before coming to lab, making mistakes online where they were not in sight of others.
Many instructors are incorporating social media into their instruction due to their ability to break down the walls of the institution. But with privacy being more and more of a concern today, it is a good idea to provide students with information on privacy settings for tools that you use in class. Here is the important privacy information to provide to students for some of the major social media tools.
The traditional learning management system is designed more for centralized control than maximized learning. I instead wanted one that more closely aligned with the social media systems that were most familiar to my students. After extensive research, Schoology was the clear winner due to its user-friendly platform and similarity to Facebook’s platform.