Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March 16, 2011

Good morning instructors,

As you are winding down winter courses I wanted to share one last blog with you for the quarter.  Research shows that students, particularly in the younger generations, are looking for education to reach them where they are and in the mediums they are most drawn to.  For many students that means entertainment and videos of some sort.

While it is essential to retain the integrity and content of our courses, why not think outside the box a bit to share that information with students in a new fashion.  Two unique - and a bit quirky - options to help with this are Animate videos and Xtranormal videos.  Each approach allows you to quickly and easily transform text into cartoon videos.  While the cartoons may seem quirky, it is actually a great way to connect with students where they are...after all, look at the success of Wii games and Wii me's!

I've talked about in the past, but Animate is a new topic I'm introducing, so if you have already checked Xtranormal out, I encourage you to now look at what Animate may be able to do for your courses.  And if you haven't seen either, I encourage you to check out both.  And maybe even think about creating one of your own for spring quarter!

Click here to view a video on what Animate is and how you can quickly and easily create your own Animate cartoon.

Click here to learn more about Xtranormal and then click here to see how one GEN course is actually using an Xtranormal video in its online course.

Let me know if you have any questions and have a great rest of the quarter!  I'll be blogging again spring quarter!

Heather Thomton-Stockman
Online Instructional Specialist

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March 9, 2011

Good morning instructors,

Have you ever wanted to work with students collaboratively and in real-time demonstrating a process (such as an accounting or math problem) or participating in brainstorming or mind mapping together?  Or maybe you've wanted to work with students on writing concepts but haven't wanted to send Word documents back and forth.  Or even better yet, maybe you want students to work on things together in real-time.  Well, would be a great option for you if these are things you've ever thought would be nice options to be able to do.  Please click on the following tutorial to learn more about what is and how to use it within your own classes, and then click here to access directly.

This is a really fun and productive teaching tool that I encourage you to check out.  Let me know what you think and how it goes!

Heather Thomton-Stockman
Online Instructional Specialist

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March 2, 2011

Good Morning Instructors,

As we get closer to the end of the quarter I wanted to share a unique site with you that might be a great option for your students if they are creating individual or group presentations.  Slideshare is a presentation hosting and sharing site - that was voted the 5th Top Rated Learning Tool for 2010 by the Center for Learning & Performance Technologies -  and could be a great way for students to collaboratively work on or share presentations with one another.  Having students share their presentations with one another takes the learning experience to the next level.  Why, as instructors, should we be the only ones to see our students' great works!  The presentations, most often done with PowerPoint, can be silent or have audio added. 

In addition to presentation publishing, Slideshare also carries with it many other benefits and opportunities.  In addition to being a great free tool for your students' use, it is also a great repository of already created topic based presentations and videos.  Click here to view a tutorial on how to use Slideshare and then click on the following links to take you directly to the repositories of already created slidecasts and  videos.  Yet another tool for added course enhancements.

I encourage you to check this resource out and look around a bit.  If you give it a try - or have your students try it out - let me know how it goes!

Thanks and have a great rest of the week!
Heather Thomton-Stockman
Online Instructional Specialist