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Archive for the ‘Distance Education’ Category

Do You Padlet?

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Padlet is a cool tool that can be used for instruction. Basically, it is a blank wall and you can decide what you want to “hang” on it. You can use Padlet to: take notes, solicit feedback, as a discussion board or any other thing where you want some sort of input from others.

I made two Padlets to demonstrate different uses. Here’s a padlet that I used as a forum for people to introduce themselves: http://padlet.com/rebeccaleon/aboutme Here’s another Padlet I made based on the video in this post. If you don’t like the chaos of letting people write anywhere they want on the wall, you can make columns, as seen here: http://padlet.com/RebeccaLeon/psr Here is the 4 minute video that shows you how to make columns in Padlet:

You can find Padlet here: https://padlet.com/ It’s free!

Easy Interactive Tutorials

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Have you ever tried to follow steps for using a website or database, but had to keep switching back-and-forth between the instruction screen or video and site you were trying to use? The University of Arizona libraries developed an open-source tool called Guide on the Side for creating interactive tutorials that helps alleviate this problem for users. The left frame of the screen contains instructions and can also have quizzes or links to other information, and the larger, right side has the live website to interact with, without losing your place in the tutorial.

Guide on the Side is an open source PHP and MySQL program and needs to be installed on a server. The program requires a handful of common PHP packages enabled. The full requirements can be found at https://github.com/ualibraries/Guide-on-the-Side/blob/master/README.md#about. Once installed, it is very easy for someone without programming experience to create interactive tutorials. One of my favorite aspects is that it can be very easily updated if the interface of the database or other web resource your teaching about changes — no re-recording of audio-visual tutorials!

You can see examples of our Guide on the Side tutorials or those from McGoogan Medical Library at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (thanks to Heather Brown for sharing).

Welcome to the (Virtual) Class

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Welcome Door Mat

Are you adding virtual classes to your teaching repertoire? When starting to teach online, you might miss some of the face-to-face interaction that you’ve previously enjoyed with your students. Building rapport in the online classroom doesn’t have to be all that different than traditional instruction. Here a few things you can do to create a friendly environment online, even if you might not be able to share your warm smile with your class participants.

  • Welcome students as they enter the room, by name if possible.
  • Conduct a brief warm-up activity. The warm-up can familiarize students with the conferencing software, draw on pre-course readings, or help participants get to know each other.
  • Show enthusiasm and excitement for the class using your voice or feedback icons.

For additional tips, see this short checklist from Langevin Learning Services.

NIH Videos

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Did you know you can watch thousands of recorded videocasts from the NIH? The videocasts are recorded lectures on a wide variety of topics that you can stream or download. You can tune in to watch lectures on bioethics, health disparities, neuroscience, science education, and more. You can also watch Clinical Center Grand Rounds, lectures from Distinguished Women Scientists, seminars from the NIH Director, or a series on Medicine for the Public. You can  search the archive of recorded events for particular topics or find a list of upcoming events.

Here’s a sample of what you might see looking under the topic Bioethics:

Three descriptions of videocasts with thumbnails

 

This could be a great source to share with researchers you work with or for your own learning!

Writing for the Ear

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Recently, I downloaded a copy of No More Spilled Ink: Writing for Instructional Design by Connie Malamed. I recommend the free resource as a great guide if you’re writing content for any kind of online learning.

One section of the guide addresses writing audio scripts, and I thought I’d share a few of Malamed’s tips here, and use them to evaluate an audio script that I recently wrote for a short tutorial.

  • Tip 1: Write like you speak. This means using short sentences, everyday words, and contractions.
  • Tip 2: Keep it brief. Consider how much your audience can process at once and avoid overloading them.
  • Tip 3: Repeat key points. Use emphasis or new wording to help the learner understand.
  • Tip 4: Notate silence. A pause give learners processing time and keeps you from rushing.

So how does my script measure up?

I think my script sounds pretty close to my natural language. I’ve used contractions, such as “let’s” and “don’t”, my sentences are relatively short and straightforward. I have incorporated a few words of jargon, so I’ll review to make sure that they make sense to my intended audience. The script is brief (about 2 minutes) because I narrowed the topic ahead of time. I was tempted to explain a much larger concept, but decided to keep it tightly focused. However, I did not use any of my time to repeat key points. As I revise, I’ll consider adding a sentence that summarizes the take-home message. Finally, notating silence. I’ve never done this before, but I think it’s a great tip because I often find myself speaking more quickly than I would with a face-to-face audience. I seem to forget to pause and breathe, so I think putting the breaks in the script will help me find a more relaxed rhythm.

Check out the full version of the guide for more great tips!