Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Student Sample = Visual Feedback

Just this morning I received 2 student emails thanking me for a strategy I've implemented this quarter and so decided I would share it with you too as you may find similar positive benefits. 

In addition to my individual feedback on graded assignments, this quarter I have also selected one solid student assignment submission each unit and have emailed those samples to the entire class immediately following my unit grading. 

I do not include the student's name on the document as I want the focus to be on the content and to serve as a guide for students as they work on future assignments.  But even though it is shared anonymously, the student who completed the assignment recognizes it as his or hers and takes pride in my sharing it as a strong student sample so continues to complete high quality work.  And for the rest of the students, the samples serve as strong examples to learn from and their work strengthens as well. 

I have received thank yous from many of my students for this practice and encourage you to give it a try in your classes too.  Let me know how it goes!

Heather Thomton-Stockman
Online Instructional Specialist

Monday, May 20, 2013

Give them a heads up...

Now is when students often get really busy and potentially frazzled by the various projects and assignments they need to manage and accomplish before the end of the quarter.  As instructors, we can help our students navigate these waters by sending them simple "heads up" emails/announcements. 

I know many of you do this already, but in case this isn't something that you do, I encourage you to give it a try.  Adjunct instructor Jennifer Stevens does it regularly and has this to say about its benefit: 
"I send a lot of 'heads up' emails for upcoming units, particularly if students have to do something that is outside of the normal types of assignments.  For example, in SS140, students have to conduct an interview with a member of the career field they'd like to pursue.  I begin emailing the students several weeks in advance and letting them know that this assignment is approaching.  If it's useful, I provide a possible timeline to keep them on track.  In the interview assignment, I encourage them to complete the interview the week before the analysis is due.  This is also nice for longer research papers that might take some students more than one week to complete.  I've found this to be extremely helpful in keeping students on track to get their assignments done."

Modeling time management strategies for our students will help them to be able to start to do it successfully on their own too.

Once again, give it a try and let me know if you have questions.

Heather Thomton-Stockman
Online Instructional Specialist

Monday, May 13, 2013

Blackboard Mobile App

I have received a few questions about how to most effectively use CampusConnect on the iPad...my answer to that question is the Blackboard Mobile Learn App!  It is a great App that I have on my iPad and my iPhone and it allows me to quickly and easily connect to my courses even when away from my computer.

Through this app, I have been able to:
  • Participate in discussion boards from anywhere;
  • Reset a quiz or exam for a student if needed without having to wait until I get back to my computer;
  • Grade Assignments;
  • Email students from anywhere;
  • And many other key CampusConnect activities.
The grade center is a bit less usable through the App, but there are so many other features that make this such a great App that little drawback hasn't even been a drawback for me.

I was initially told that the App needed WiFi connection, but I have actually had great success on it via 4G too, so it truly is mobile!

This App is available to you as well as your students!  The download is "Free" via the App store but there is an in-app fee of $1.99/year or $5.99/lifetime access when you go to use the App for the first time. 

If you'd like, download it and give it a try and I hope you find it as beneficial as I do as a means to stay even more connected to your students.

Heather Thomton-Stockman
Online Instructional Specialist

Monday, May 6, 2013

Viewing User Activity Within Your Courses

Good Evening Everyone,

I hope everyone had a great weekend and were able to think of some great ways to put retention as a top priority as we move into the second half of the quarter, particularly after hearing the great insights and information from the "Retention Revisited" presenters at last Friday's in-service. 

During the session, tracking user activity within CampusConnect's reports feature was mentioned so I wanted to take this opportunity to share a brief tutorial with you on where to find and run these reports.  Being able to identify where students (whether as a group or as individuals) are spending their time within a class can give you some insight into how to address potential issues or connect more with at-risk students.

If you have any questions on this please let me know.

Have a great week!
Heather Thomton-Stockman
Online Instructional Specialist