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Teaching & Learning Online

Notes from our February 22nd session on Teaching & Learning Online:

We had a nice mix of people who have not taught online but are considering it, people who are teaching online now, and people who have taught or will be teaching online elsewhere.

We were joined by Jessica Alverson, Assistant Coordinator for Library Instruction and Online Learning, who helped to clarify some online database workshop questions and is willing to work with instructors who teach online with other resources and materials.

John Buckvold showed us his current online class (WRD202) and the process that he uses to provide narrated PowerPoint slides for students; he also discussed the planning for the composition of those slide presentations such that they do not need time-consuming revisions during or between academic terms.

Kristin Rozzell and Victoria Hohenzy reported from the front lines of online WRD104, and their experiences managing incoming and outgoing textual production, integrating visual and multimodal practices, and time management.

We discussed some of the social and cultural contexts for teaching online, from faculty perspectives and from students’ perspectives, where they intersect, and where they do not. For example, many students’ mistaken assumptions that technology must always = efficiency, and therefore online courses must be easier. From the faculty perspective, especially among rhetoricians, that computing technology is not purely instrumental, and will shape, constrain, or promote the activities in our online courses. (D2L, for just one quick example, was designed by instructional designers for other instructional designers more so, I think, than for teachers and students.)

We discussed methods and practices for identifying students who may be struggling and not participating, and how we can best mentor and support those students.

Two ideas for future D-WRD discussion:

  • Reviewing discussion forums in non-academic, professional environments so that we can review the conventions and contexts of use
  • Reviewing and practicing some models and methods that foster real, genuine, meaningful interaction and collaboration in online courses
  • Any others? Let me know.

Sarah Brown could not join us, but sent two excellent items

  • A Computers & Composition article that she values and advocates for reading (audio and video approaches to responding to student work): “Camtasia in the Classroom: Student Attitudes and Preferences for Video Commentary or Microsoft Word Comments During the Revision Process.” M.L. Silva / Computers and Composition 29 (2012) 1–22. (Depaul library link.)
  • While we’ve discussed a few different platforms for video student responses — Jing,  and Camtasia, Sarah points out that Screencast-O-Matic is supported by DePaul, including a free (to you) upgrade to the Screencast-O-MaticPRO. See attached tutorial.

Stay tuned for our Friday March 7th session notes!