Distance Education http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance Thu, 18 Dec 2014 22:58:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The era of mobile learning: a revolution of true anytime, anywhere learning (part 2) http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/12/the-era-of-mobile-learning-a-revolution-of-true-anytime-anywhere-learning-part-2/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/12/the-era-of-mobile-learning-a-revolution-of-true-anytime-anywhere-learning-part-2/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 18:00:48 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4697 Last time in part 1 best practices blog, I covered about best practices for online instructors to create mobile-friendly courses. I suggest reading it first.


credit to Eric Skilling, Vantage Path


This time, I would like to continue the conversation by focusing on using mobile devices to access our LMS, Desire2Learn and teaching using mobile devices. Let’s explore how to use mobile phones for learning and talk adopts learning theories and instructional design factors to maximize mobile phone educational opportunities. These include theories like situated learning, collaborative knowledge, constructivism, and behavioral learning theories, as well as cognitive load and dual coding, among many others.

Examples of learning activities using mobile devices.

PCC Course Content viewed on iOS devices

Using mobile devices to access D2L

You can access Desire2Learn from your mobile device, such as an iPad/iPhone, Android, or Blackberry. You can post in discussions, but other than that, the mobile site is read-only. The mobile version of D2L is not intended to do everything that the full software version will do. Different types of mobile devices may behave differently. Some features, such as Dropbox, Chat, Groups, and Quizzes are not available on the mobile site at this time, but D2L has plans to add more features. The D2L mobile version can be used for the following:

  • See global and course-specific news item
  • View course and course content
  • View course events
  • Participate in course discussions
  • Check grades
  • Create bookmarks to quickly access content later

Tips for faculty

  • Click on the Desktop Version link at the bottom of the mobile site’s welcome page to see the standard site and access all of the tools.
  • It is hard to access your email in D2L because of the design layout. Change the settings of the email layout prior to viewing and accessing your D2L email on the mobile devices.
    • Use a computer and go to your D2L Email.
    • Click on the Settings
    • Uncheck the box for “Show the Message Preview pane”
    • Click the Save button to save your changes.

Desire2Learn Apps

d2l binder app

 Binder Tablet App

Students can view course content live or download course content into Binder app for reviewing later. Binder is available for iPad, Windows 8, and Android tablets. Learn more about Binder tablet App from Desire2Learn and how to use it.

Note: students who download/access course content using Binder cannot be tracked in the User Progress tool.


d2l assignment grader app

Assignment Grader App

Use Assignment Grader App (only available on iPad) to grade your Dropbox assignments. Learn more about how to use the Assignment Grader App.

http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/12/the-era-of-mobile-learning-a-revolution-of-true-anytime-anywhere-learning-part-2/feed/ 1
Happy Universal Design Monday! http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/12/happy-universal-design-monday/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/12/happy-universal-design-monday/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 15:32:23 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4679 Are you an early adopter of technology? Do you like to try out the newest and grooviest devices and apps? I saw a picture on Twitter (check out Alexa Maros’s post on how to Tweet) that said, “People with disabilities are early adopters.” I thought it should be a t-shirt slogan because it’s so true!

When you are out perusing the Cyber Monday deals, think about how technology has made things easier for you. So many technological advances originated from assistive technologies but have also been found useful in the mainstream.

Speech to text technology/ Voice recognition software: originally designed to help someone who can’t type or write is now used by many to send texts while driving and to ask Siri to dial your Mom.

Captioning: originally developed to help people who are deaf, but also used by aging baby boomers, people learning English, and people in a noisy setting. And captions make video content searchable. Search a phrase on YouTube, and you’ll see what I mean!

text to speech

Text to Speech. Image Credit: Wikicommons

Screen reading / text to speech technology: Many of us (me included) thought screen readers were just for people who are blind. But that’s not true. When Siri or Google reads your text message aloud, that’s the technology they are using. Adobe Acrobat Reader has a read aloud function built right into it (View > Read Out Loud).

Zoom and Reflow: If you are reading a PDF on your phone or computer and you can’t see it well, you probably zoom in on the text. Well not only is that an assistive technology in itself, but did you know that you can also choose View > Zoom > Reflow from the Adobe menu and that will reflow the text so you don’t have to scroll horizontally? Try it out!

This is the idea behind Universal Design. If you design with diversity in mind, more people will find the product useful, right? No more does it make fiscal sense to design for the typical user, whoever you may think that is.

The same is true for online course design. There is no typical student to design for. It doesn’t make fiscal or pedagogical sense to design for the typical student. As educators, we need to consider diversity when we design our classes. We are legally required to make our course content accessible for students with disabilities, but diversity includes more than just content and more than just students with disabilities. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides a framework to think about how to make content and pedagogy accessible and flexible to meet the needs of a diverse student body through:

  • Multiple means of representation
  • Multiple means of expression
  • Multiple means of engagement

This winter, Disability Services and Distance Learning will be starting a UDL interest group. Let me know if you are interested. We will also send out email announcements. In the meantime, you can learn more about UDL at Cast.org .

http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/12/happy-universal-design-monday/feed/ 1
Paperless Classroom. Bring your own devices! http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/paperless-classroom-bring-your-own-devices/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/paperless-classroom-bring-your-own-devices/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:01:53 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4638 Sharon Hennessy is ESOL instructor from PCC  Southeast Campus

Sharon Hennessy is ESOL instructor and technology pioneer from PCC Southeast Campus

Paperless Classroom for distance learning is the reality now, but it still can be a challenge for many Face-to-Face teaching instructors. This week Southeast-based ESOL instructor Sharon Hennessy talks about her experience with going paperless.

Sharon is not using D2L or any other LMS, but prefers Google tools to create online interaction with her students. She likes this technique for it’s simplicity and ability to work well on mobile devices and knows that these 2 criteria are very important to ESOL students.

Also, Sharon finds a great use of PCC’s WebEasy in her process to navigate students to their class resources, while many of us think of this tool as a technology artifact from the past.

This Best Practice can be helpful to not only many classroom-based instructors, but also could be implemented by online instructors as their “plan B” for the times when the LMS is unavailable.

http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/paperless-classroom-bring-your-own-devices/feed/ 0
Website Redesign http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/website-redesign/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/website-redesign/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:37:58 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4605 cat web designer

Photo credit: Julio Marquez CC 2.0

Welcome to the new and improved distance education student support website! It’s been a few years since we have made any major revisions to our web presence, and have high hopes for this new format. Our goal is to provide better information and resources for students as a they progress through their journey as an online student. You will find that the new site is separated into 3 main sections intended for specific student audiences:

  • Prospective students who are curious about online classes
  • Admitted students who are ready to register
  • Current online students who are looking for support

Our goal is to continue to grow our collection of resources for students in all phases of their online academic journey. The new website features some content that we’re especially excited to offer students, including:

The new content should help to better showcase the talented student support staff in our department and the services they offer to support our online students.


http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/website-redesign/feed/ 0
Be Brave. Be Bold. Tweet! http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/be-brave-be-bold-tweet/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/be-brave-be-bold-tweet/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 18:00:19 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4542 Social-Media Bandwagon

Social Bandwagon. Image credit: Juan Iraola

Social media is over-hyped to be sure. But when it comes to bringing a sense of immediacy to your class, it can provide options that can boost student engagement and make your class more meaningful. How?

  • Making textbook topics more current and appealing by integrating real-time news items and the latest published thought on an academic subject.
  • Using a popular social media platform to partner with your students to create more relevant discussion topics and other homework options.
  • Creating an ancillary feedback loop for students and teachers.

Using twitter in your class is as easy as 1-2-3. Be brave. Be bold. Tweet.

Just do it

Step 1: Create an account

First, create your own twitter account (specifically for classroom use). The account is free and takes a matter of minutes to set up. You will have some options to make your public profile appealing. Make sure to take a little time to include a background image and avatar that represents you as well as a concise but meaningful description of what you do and why you tweet. Now you are ready to start tweeting your thoughts to the virtual world!

Step 2: Explore twitter

Second, explore the twitter musings of relevant thought leaders and publications in your field of interest. For example, I teach business classes so I look to online magazines like Fortune, Forbes, Inc. and Fast Company for interesting news and opinions about business topics like marketing or leadership. I also “follow” individuals like Malcom Gladwell and Warren Buffett who offer interesting insights on marketing and investing.

When you find content you like, you can “follow” them on Twitter. This automatically adds their content to your twitter feed, creating an interesting stream of “tweets” from various sources thus broadening the information available to your students. You can also “retweet” interesting articles to your “followers” e.g. the students and others who follow you on Twitter.

Step 3: Add it to D2L

Third, integrate your Twitter feed into your D2L course homepage. Start by clicking on “settings” from within your Twitter account. Then select “widgets” to create and copy the info you will need. Next, use the D2L widget tool to create your very own Twitter widget! Now you are ready to include your Twitter feed on your DL class homepage. You’ve just added the excitement of a real time, customized news feed to your class, bringing even the most mundane topics to life. Below is an example of what mine looks like:

Alexa's Twitter widget in D2L


Of course…there had to be some, we’re talking about social media here.

  • If a student “follows” you, don’t follow them back. I always assure my student about this because let’s face it, there is probably stuff on their Twitter feed they don’t want you to see and that you definitely don’t want to see!
  • Your students do not need to follow you on Twitter, nor do they have to create their own twitter account. That’s optional, as it should be. Remember, because of that nifty widget you created, students can see your tweets without joining Twitter. All of your tweets and those that you want to share are available right on your homepage. This way no one is left out, but neither are students “forced” to join Twitter.
  • Disclaimer. Sometimes weird stuff can pop up on anyone’s twitter feed. I let students know that up front. Hey, I can’t be responsible for every random tweet that may include a “bad” word or worse. Most students already know that. Still, always good to be on the record about it.
Twitter teacher. Image credit: Gust Mees

Twitter teacher. Image credit: Gust Mees

If you are interested in learning more about using Twitter in your courses, here’s a helpful article: Using Twitter in teaching. You can also follow me on Twitter @MsMpcc. Now, go forth and tweet!



http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/be-brave-be-bold-tweet/feed/ 14
Next round of Faculty Learning Community sessions http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/next-round-of-faculty-learning-community-sessions/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/next-round-of-faculty-learning-community-sessions/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 00:29:48 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4146 Although the Faculty Learning Communities are still in the beginning stages at each campus, they are starting to take on a character of their own. Details for the upcoming sessions are linked below, but first…

A few highlights…

Communities around the world

Image credit: Nopporn Suntorn, fgnopporn / 123RF Stock Photo

What a wealth of online teaching strategies online instructors have to share! Just to name a few, at the last Rock Creek session, Heather Mayer led us into the topic of “to what extent should the instructor participate in discussions.” Research shows that instructors might want to model what good participation looks like, but they should also be careful about participating too much.

At Cascade, Alexa Maros caught our attention with her ultra-dynamic course home page, complete with her Twitter feed and other types of active media. At the same session, Lori Wamsley shared how she makes student groups responsible for crafting their own communication rules for group work. Her students also evaluate themselves and each other using a special peer evaluation rubric. (Yes, she is willing to share ;-)

At our Southeast campus, Laura Sanders shared her tools and strategies for building a relationship with students, how to make that all important connection. Techniques for this include a weekly email message to each student to reach out to encourage engagement, and the use of audio feedback to add a more personal voice. Fran Bozarth flips that email activity around and requires each student to send her a weekly message of self-reflection. She also adds her personal voice through a weekly video message to the class.

At our Sylvania session, Rhonda Collier engaged us in a lively conversation about how to involve students in a group discussion. As it turns out, intrinsic motivation is not always enough. It’s often the case that the stick, or rather the reward is needed as well. It works best to offer some points. At the same session, Marc Goodman led us in a discussion about the main uses of discussion areas, e.g. for assessing student work or for more of a social use – to actively engage students in community and foster interaction. A related technique Marc offered is to send feedback to students in an email message as well, which helps to ensure that they see it.

Join us next week at a Faculty Learning Community near you…

Don’t stay in the silo ;-)  The next round of Faculty Learning Community sessions for online instructors is scheduled for the next few weeks. Please follow the link for all the details.

Upcoming Faculty Learning Community sessions – Schedule & topic details
http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/next-round-of-faculty-learning-community-sessions/feed/ 0
Free BEER!! http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/free-beer/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/free-beer/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 18:08:53 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4128
A frosty beer mug

A frosty beer mug. Image Credit: WikiMedia.org.

Ok, you know I’m sad that I can’t give you a cold frosty pint even if we do live in a microbrewing mecca, and our hops loving web analyst and DL network manager are both bastions of home brewing. Hopefully the details of my obvious bamboozle served to draft you in and find out what I’m actually alluding to – the ‘beer’ in this case being the world of Beautifully Engaging Education Resources freely available to you in Open Education Resource (OER) repositories.

At a meeting of the Open Government Partnership at the United Nations in New York September 24th, President Obama announced support for new open government initiatives which includes promotion of open education to increase awareness and engagement. At the state level, Oregon Community Colleges Distance Learning Association is in the process of hiring for a statewide position dedicated to forwarding the use of OERs in our community colleges.

Here at PCC, we’re also very interested in promoting and supporting OER adoption because we believe they align well with our goals of affordable access to high quality educational experiences:

  • Pedagogically innovative content vetted and rated by peers
  • Expands low cost access to more learners
  • Coordinated efforts to create accessible learning content

Using a well selected OER in a shared course shell can mean many hands make light work of maintaining a high quality engaging learning experience, giving you more time to devote to the teaching practice you love and being present in your online course.

Still new to what OER’s are and why you might be interested? Check out Educause ‘7 Things You Should Know about OERs’ for a brief overview.

While the Oregon CC OER position is getting up and running, here you’ll find an excellent vetted list of OER repositories provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst. For additional discipline specific help, contact your subject area librarian.

http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/11/free-beer/feed/ 0
Using BB Collaborate for assessment http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/10/using-bb-collaboarte-for-assessment/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/10/using-bb-collaboarte-for-assessment/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 17:00:51 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4123
An anonymous student with his face wrapped in aluminium foil.

Faceless and Anonymous. Image Credit: Splitshire @ Pixabay

One perennial theme in higher education, online or not, is cheating. In my role, I am often asked to help determine if cheating is occurring and what strategies can be used to reduce chances for cheating. I also get a lot of inquiries about using software or tools to monitor exams, scour written work for plagiarism, and catch cheaters. I understand that my role is more about supporting technology than about pedagogy, but evaluating the assessment methodology is an important way to prevent misconduct. And engaging your students is often more productive than indicting them.

The two most common types of assessment I see in online classes are quizzes and papers. I not going to make any judgement about the efficacy of these methods, but they are also the two most common methods where concerns about cheating take place. What if there was another way to assess your students and get a sense of who the students are at the same time?

Interactive assessment using online rooms

One option for assessing your students – individually or in groups – is to use an online room using Blackboard Collaborate. Collaborate works both on computers and on mobile devices (iOS, Android, Kindle) and allows multiple people to interact in a synchronous environment with multiple tools that supporting assessment.

Imagine being able to have group discussions with students about the lecture or a reading assignment and being able to hear directly from those students with the nuance of language about their views. Imagine being able to have a student diagram a molecule for you on a shared whiteboard. Imagine being able to connect more personally with the student during assessment. These activities might not scale for every assessment opportunity in your course, but it can certainly provide some variety and some opportunity to get away from relying on impersonal tools like the quiz and dropbox.

But don’t take my word for it. Check out these wonderful examples and guides for improving assessment using BB Collaborate:

One caveat

For now, BB Collaborate uses Java on the desktop. This means that some users will have trouble launching the tool due to the morass of security software. Don’t let this stop you – and don’t feel like you have to provide support to the students. The Student Help Desk is available until 10pm most evenings and can assist your students. (A Java-free version is expected sometime in 2015)

We often steer students towards the mobile app if they have a smart phone because it generally has fewer problems, plus it has a microphone built right in so the student can talk during the session.

Learn more about BB Collaborate support at PCC, and reach out to one of our Instructional Technology Specialists if you’d like some help learning how to use the software.

http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/10/using-bb-collaboarte-for-assessment/feed/ 0
Faculty Learning Communities for online instructors http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/10/faculty-learning-communities-for-online-instructors/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/10/faculty-learning-communities-for-online-instructors/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:00:48 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4102 What a wealth of expertise we have right here within our PCC community. It’s amazing what one can share in 5 minutes. The “lightning-round” style sharing of online teaching strategies during various in-service week sessions were filled with excellent and often unique approaches to the teaching and learning issues we grapple with each day. Here’s a sample of the topics shared.

  • Reaching out to students – making connections – “digital love”
  • Using Collaborate to promote connections with students
  • The power of choice to engage students
  • The most important characteristics of an outstanding online instructor (in the eyes of students)
  • Effective group collaboration
  • Flipping the online class
  • The importance of creating the instructor voice
  • Fostering student engagement & building community
  • The importance of rich feedback
  • Designing effective discussions

Thanks so much to all who shared: Laura Sanders, Fran Bozarth, Tani McBeth, Kathy Carrigan, Ken Friedrich, Rebecca Robinson, Lori Wamsley, Alexa Maros, Ann Cary, Marc Goodman, Doug Jones, Usha Ramanujam, Gayathri Iyer, Heather Mayer, Bryan Hull, Greg Rapp, and Phil Seder.

Next steps

Now we have an opportunity to move this forward, to become involved with a Faculty Learning Community focused on online teaching issues. Are you interested in discussing online teaching strategies with other instructors? Would you like to connect with other faculty to share online teaching tools, resources and best practices, or to discover new technologies that might help build connections with students and teach more effectively?

Welcome to the Faculty Learning Community! These communities are being formed at each campus, and there will eventually be a virtual community as well. Each community will be meeting a couple of times this fall. You are invited to participate at any campus. We look forward to gathering campus-specific input at each location regarding topic focus, a standard meeting time, and session format. If the next meeting doesn’t work for you but you’d like to participate, please contact me to discuss your availability.

Here are the upcoming sessions. Each of the sessions will include time for sharing and discussion of the proposed topic. You are also welcome to think of a strategy you would like to share at the session. That might involve showing something from an online class, or simply talking about something briefly.


Communities around the world

Image credit: Nopporn Suntorn, fgnopporn / 123RF Stock Photo

Oct 21 (T), 1:00 – 2:00, CA TLC (CH 102)
Topic: Promoting online student engagement

Rock Creek:

Oct 27 (M), 2:00 – 3:30, RC TLC (7/117)
Topic: Faculty Engagement online


Oct 28 (T), 3:30 – 5:00, SE TLC (Mt. Tabor Hall)
Topic: Promoting online student engagement


Nov 3 (M), 1:00 – 2:30, SY TLC (CC 223)
Topic: Promoting online student engagement

Faculty Learning Communities can be an excellent way to stimulate innovation and to increase communication and collaboration among faculty who are often isolated from their colleagues. I hope you’ll consider joining us to share your ideas!

http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/10/faculty-learning-communities-for-online-instructors/feed/ 0
Efficiency or Bust http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/10/efficiency-or-bust/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/10/efficiency-or-bust/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:35:36 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4089 A recent study done at Anne Arundel Community College found that instructors who “responded at least three times daily to all online course emails, graded all papers within 48 hours of submission, offered specific feedback on all written work, and were compassionate to students’ needs” had pass an average pass rate of 82%, compared with a 59% pass rate for instructors who were not required to do the above. Although this study was small, it makes a strong statement about the role that delivery plays in the online classroom. It’s also a bit daunting. If we as online instructors are to even come close to these standards, we have two choices:

  1. Spend every one of our waking hours teaching our online course, or
  2. Be really efficient.

My first full time job was an internship at Thomas Keller’s restaurant Per Se. The shifts were either 6am-6pm or 1pm-1am, and no one stopped moving. Ever. Directly underneath the clock, so planned that it was tiled into the wall, were the words “Sense of Urgency.” This is not to be confused with hurrying though, which in a kitchen has consequences that are either painful or unforgivable. Thomas Keller’s sense of urgency is one of extreme planning, scheduling, focus, and ingenuity—one that results in unparalleled efficiency and quality. Coincidentally, these four components can also make a substantial impact on the efficiency of an online course.

High Efficency

Image Credit: Tom Magllery


We’ve all probably done it. We set up our course before the term starts, think we’ve checked everything, and then WHAM, partway through the term we find a glitch that takes hours to fix. And we have endless emails to reply to regarding it. Or we realize we forgot one aspect of setup and we’re scrambling at midnight to finish it before anyone in the course notices. If you haven’t made one of these mistakes—then you can probably stop reading this because you’re either a genius or God.

Being more intentional in planning my own setup for each term has been really instrumental in minimizing wasted time. I created a checklist I use each term, making sure that the order minimized the process as a whole. Here’s my current Math 111 Course Transfer Checklist if you want an idea of what it looks like.

Once the course is running, I always keep an eye out for areas where unnecessary repetition occurs. Did four students email me a question on the exact same topic? Then my notes or videos need an update. Did someone ask me where Document X was for the eighth time this term? Then some aspect of my course organization has gone afoul and needs to be fixed. These updates are not always short, but they definitely save time long term… and will make you stop wanting to pull your hair out.


There are a lot of ways that scheduling can improve one’s efficiency, so I’ll focus on my top two.

The study at Anne Arundel noted improvement when assignments were returned within 48 hours. This short turnaround time would have been unfathomable to me my first few terms teaching online. But since then I’ve made shorter, weekly assignments and placed their due dates right before a 48 hour window when I know I can get them graded. For me, the main due date is Wednesday. My goal is to finish grading them on Thursday, my backup is to finish them on Friday, and my last resort is Saturday morning.

The study at Anne Arundel also emphasized that it’s important for students to feel that we are available and present in the course. But for our sanity’s sake, it’s important that they feel this way without us feeling like we’re on-call 24/7. I find it helpful to schedule self-sufficient activities for my students on days that I want to grade or not be working. I open my modules on Thursday and expect my students to be primarily self-sufficient until Monday morning. Their weekend tasks are low-level cognitive tasks (reading, watching videos, etc.). Any assignments that are due are no-stakes (i.e. they are graded as credit/no-credit or can be resubmitted for full credit).


As I mentioned with regard to planning, mistakes and repetition can be a major time drain. But unfortunately some things have to be done over and over again in an online course. In a kitchen, it’s critical to make any repetitive task require as few steps and movements as possible. The same is true of an online course. With discussions posts, I read them once, assess them immediately, and never re-read. If a student resubmits, I reference my feedback, read their resubmission, re-assess, and it’s done. Any process that you have to do over and over is worth scrutinizing.


With technology constantly changing, there are often ways that something we originally created for our course could be greatly improved. Or maybe something is simply outdated or no longer necessary. The Google apps (Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Spreadsheets, etc.) are endless examples of this.

The biggest impact technology has had on my own course is with regard to providing feedback on worksheets. The first set of worksheets that I graded for my first online course took me 13 painful hours, and they might have been equally painful for my students. At that time, it was standard to require that students write their math homework with an equation editor and feedback was then input directly into their assignment with said equation editor. The feedback they received wasn’t same as the feedback I provide in an on-campus class though, and it’s little wonder why students rarely read it.

Fast forward 3 years, and I have this magical machine on my desk called a Smart PodiumTM. It’s basically a giant tablet. I have to convert every assignment to a Smart Notebook file in order to electronically write on it, but my total grading time is down to 2-4 hours for a set of worksheets. And because I can emphasize minor details without writing full sentences, my online students receive feedback that’s just as effective as my on-campus students’ feedback. In addition, I let go of requiring typed assignments. A picture of a hand-written assignment taken on a student’s phone is surprising clear and easy to read. Not to mention far more likely to be submitted in the first place.

Have any of your own tips for being efficient? Share them below!

http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2014/10/efficiency-or-bust/feed/ 5