Distance Education http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance Tue, 03 Mar 2015 20:17:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 More than chicken scratch: the benefits of hand-written work in an online class (and some apps that assist!) http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/03/more-than-chicken-scratch-the-benefits-of-hand-written-work-in-an-online-class-and-some-apps-that-assist/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/03/more-than-chicken-scratch-the-benefits-of-hand-written-work-in-an-online-class-and-some-apps-that-assist/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:00:36 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4961 a hand writing on paper

Image credit: Sevenheads – Pixabay

For the most part, having students use a computer or other electronic device to complete their online coursework suffices quite well. But have you ever felt that it was sometimes limiting or that something was just lacking? As I mentioned in a previous post, when I first started teaching math online it was clear that requiring students to type their assignments was an overwhelming barrier for some students. Those that were naturally tech-inclined caught on quickly and enjoyed it, but others seemed to waste hours (and sometimes tears) every week struggling with an equation editor. Incorporating hand-written work as an option into my online course has had a lot of benefits, many of which were unexpected. Additionally, there are a handful of (free!) apps for tablets and smartphones that make submitting hand-written work in pdf format quite easy.

Benefits of hand-written work

Increased submission rate

This benefit was the one that I expected when I first allowed hand-written work to be submitted. By allowing student to hand-write and scan their work, students submitted higher quality work more often. It removed multiple barriers they were experiencing, from struggling with an equation editor to having infrequent/unreliable computer access.

Increases knowledge retention

A handful of articles and studies cite the benefits of hand-written work over typed work. One advantage is the increased understanding, synthesis, and generalization of knowledge gained when taking notes by hand (as one cannot simply transcribe), as discussed in this Scientific American article. Further more, this Wall Street Journal article refers to the increased cognitive function that handwriting enables, stating that, “For those writing by hand, there was stronger and longer-lasting recognition of the characters’ proper orientation, suggesting that the specific movements memorized when learning how to write aided the visual identification of graphic shapes.” Case in point: I’ve lost count of the number of times an online student has written “In”(as in capital i, lowercase en) instead of “ln”; it’s an abbreviation of logarithmic naturalis…

Reduces plagiarism

When assignments are typed, it can be very challenging to identify plagiarism, particularly anything that is skill-based or fact-based and does not heavily involve creative or deep thinking. I’ve found copying much easier to identify in hand-written work because the process of re-writing causes students to leave strange tell-tale errors/omissions. Plus, it requires more than Ctrl+C. Case in point: I didn’t realize that two students (in different sections) were copying off each other until week 5, when they made their first inexplicable and unique error.

Mirrors in-class assessment

This might be specific to math, where we require two proctored, on-campus exams. Per our CCOGs, these are hand-written, closed note, and closed book. In the course I teach, the CCOG also requires that these exams constitute a minimum of 60% of their grade. Having students complete work and receive feedback in the exact same manner that they will complete their exams—this one just makes sense.

Allows more flexibility in assessment design

Once you open the door to hand-written work, you can simply do more. Want students to demonstrate something with a picture or a graph? You can do it. Want to take a look at the brainstorming that happened before their finished product? You can see it, chicken scratch and all. And the best part of this flexibility? Your tech-savviest students will find a way to do the same thing using technology—in a seriously impressive way.

Free scanning apps for tablets and smartphones

Physical scanners are fine, but students don’t always have access to one. An alternative is to use a scanning app on a smartphone or tablet. Truth be told, these scanners create far better quality documents than most physical scanners a student would have at home or use in a library.

If you Google “scanning app,” you’ll find that there are dozens available for Android and iOS. My favorite scanning app is Scanbot. It’s free and available for Android, iPhone, and iPad, including older versions of each; it creates quality pdfs directly; it allows you to edit/mark up/sign pdfs; it automatically identifies backgrounds and crops/squares images; and it allows immediate uploading to Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud Drive, Box, OneDrive, email, and others. Evernote’s Scannable is a close second, but it wasn’t available to my outdated Android phone or have as versatile of options to immediately upload documents.

Have you incorporated hand-written work into your own courses? Do you have any other apps for scanning that you use? Add these to the discussion below!

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Finding online classes that aren’t full http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/02/finding-online-classes-that-arent-full/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/02/finding-online-classes-that-arent-full/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 00:16:02 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4946

When you are planning your schedule before the start of a term, you might find the advanced course search very useful. It will let you look up classes based on their instructional method (classroom, online,etc.), date and time, and other important factors. These instructions will show you how to find an online class and determine if there is any space left in the class.

  1. Log in to MyPCC and click on Add or Drop Classes link in the Registration Services channel.
    Add or Drop Classes
  2. Click on Look Up Classes
  3. Select Term Details
    Select the current term (e.g. Winter 2014) from Search by Term and Credit Class from the Class Type of Search field then click the Submit button.
  4. Find online classes
    To specifically find online classes (WEB), click on the Advanced Search button.
  5. Use Advanced Search. The Advanced Search page has many options. This example will show how to find an online Economics class.
    1. Select Course Subject (e.g. Economics).
    2. Click the Selection Search button.
    3. Select the Instructional Method (Web).
    4. Note: You can also select the a specific instructor. In this example, we’ll look at all the options.
  6. View the results. The results will list the courses found based on your search options. In our example, we can see the online Economics classes listed.
  7. Register for a class. After deciding on which class(es) you wish to register for, click on the check box to the left of those class(es). Click the Submit button to register.

Note: After the term starts, you will not be able to register for the course or add yourself to the waitlist. You will need to contact the instructor for an override after the first day of the term.

Do not forget to attend your class in the first day to be sure you are not dropped for No Show.

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A smorgasbord of strategies http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/02/a-smorgasbord-of-strategies/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/02/a-smorgasbord-of-strategies/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 18:00:59 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4932 Image of smorgasbord of cheese & fruit

Image credit: Zhanna Tretiakova

What a rich knowledge base, a smorgasbord of online teaching strategies we have being shared among online instructors at PCC through the Faculty Learning Communities. Consider a few new strategies to blend into a rich online learning experience. Be sure to check out the upcoming schedule, which will soon include sessions for spring.



Specific strategies shared at a recent FLC sessions

Cool tools & features (SY)

  • Create quiz questions in D2L that use variables, so students get different number values with each quiz attempt. (Erik Dean, Economics)
  • Increase class survey participation be embedding it as a widget right on your course home page. At PCC we have license to use Qualtrics for such surveys. (Rhonda Collier, Economics)
  • Prezi can be used as an alternative to PowerPoint to liven up those presentations and help students make connections. (Rhonda Collier, Economics)

Effective online discussions (CA)

  • Give students a choice of discussion topics and have them interact in small groups to increase their motivation to become engaged and bond with other class members. (Sheila Brown, English)
  • Have a different member of a small group discussion post a comprehensive summary of the group’s findings for each topic. (Elizabeth Bilyeu, Art History)

Create an engaging home page (RC & SE)

  • Add a “Q & A” Discussion widget right on your home page for easy access. Include a good icon with it to direct attention. (Rondi Schei, Economics)
  • Add a “News feed” and/or a “Twitter feed” to your home page to keep it dynamic and engage students. (Alexa Maros, Business, & Rondi Schei, Economics)
  • Use new images with weekly news items as an alert that something new has been posted. (Greg Kaminski, Distance Ed & ESOL)

Time management / How to reduce online instructor workload (SY & SE)

  • As an effective time saver, in “Grades” use “Grade All,” and follow the link to “Details and overall feedback” to offer feedback that applies to the whole class. You can also add personal feedback for each student, and both types show up in student grades. (DeLyse Totten, Business)
  • As a time saver as well as something that benefits the whole class, encourage students to post questions to the “Q & A” discussion instead of emailing the instructor. (Ron Bekey, CAS)
  • Front load the feedback — Intensively grade the early assignments, offering tons of formative feedback. This gives students ideas they can apply early on creates a sense of high expectations. (Phil Seder, Business)
  • Break up a longer assignment into phases to provide early opportunities for feedback. (Lisa Regan-Vienop, ABE/GED)
  • Students discuss topics in small groups and then collaborate on one group post, or a different person from the group posts a summary each week. (from Strategies for Managing Online Discussions, Rob Kelly)
Smorgasbord of canapes & desserts

Image credit: Zhanna Tretiakova

Rubrics (RC)

  • Rubrics help define our expectations for students. Add a rubric to discussions only to show it to students, but since that one doesn’t transfer to the grade book, grade using the rubric in the grade book. (Rondi Schei, Economics)
  • Tell students how to update “Instant Notifications” to be notified when a grade or news item is released. (Rondi Schei, Economics)

Online Rooms (SY & CA)

  • Online Rooms in connection with a tablet provides a great opportunity to meet students to clarify difficult concepts live, e.g. chemical bonding structures. (Kathy Carrigan & Ken Friedrich, Chemistry)
  • Hold “Town Hall” style discussions virtually in Online Rooms. This gives a chance to engage students in dialog to see what they don’t understand. (Doug Jones, CS)

Retention (SE & RC)

  • Front load week 1 to give a realistic picture and to improve retention. Make a number of things due the first Thursday. Friday morning drop those you haven’t hear from. (Samm Erickson, English)
  • Make sure students are reading your feedback by adding a “hidden word” to your feedback. Students tell the instructor the “hidden word” before adding the grade. (Kris Fink, English)
  • Make sure students have a realistic sense of what the course will be like in terms of rigorous expectations. (Carey Larson, Distance Ed)
  • Quiz students on the syllabus and course information. Set a conditional release on content, dependent on completing the syllabus quiz. (Rondi Schei, Economics)

Join the gathering to share expertise at a Faculty Learning Community near you.

Upcoming Faculty Learning Community sessions – Schedule & topic details
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Presidents with Disabilities http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/02/presidents-with-disabilities/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/02/presidents-with-disabilities/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 18:00:55 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4894
President George Washington

Image credit: Gilbert Stuart [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In honor of Presidents day, let’s take a look at the U.S. Presidents who have or have had a disability.

According to the The Ability Center’s post on the subject:

  • Presidents Ronald Reagan (40th) had and William Jefferson Clinton (42nd Pres.) has a hearing impairment
  • President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (32nd) had polio
  • Presidents George Washington (1st), Thomas Jefferson (3rd) , Woodrow Wilson (28th), Dwight D. Eisenhower (34th), John F. Kennedy (35th) all had learning disabilities.
  • President Kennedy (35th) suffered from chronic pain.
  • President Abraham Lincoln (16th) had severe depression
  • President James Madison (4th) had epilepsy

I don’t have a disability, although I certainly have plenty of my own limitations. So I don’t want to come off as an expert on disability, because I’m not. But here’s what I’ve learned in the last few years working closely with Disability Services and students and employees with disabilities.

Don’t let your expectations of someone with a disability limit them. Asking if you can help is OK, but don’t assume help is needed.  

We don’t have to do anything special for students with disabilities. We just have to provide them with the same learning experiences as other students. We can make D2L pages, word documents and PDFs accessible pretty quickly, but what we cannot do is make materials on other websites accessible.

Text based articles on other sites are usually accessible. (The test is: If you can copy and paste the text, the text should be readable by assistive technology).

Accessibility problems arise mostly from forms, media players and other things that require user action. If you are using 3rd party materials like these, especially publisher’s online homework sites, please have them tested for accessibility soon by emailing karen.sorensen@pcc.edu.

Let’s remember that students with disabilities might become President one day if given an equal opportunity to succeed.


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Regional OER Conference coming to PCC http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/02/regional-oer-conference-coming-to-pcc/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/02/regional-oer-conference-coming-to-pcc/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 18:00:42 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4885 OER Regional Conferences: Registration Open – for immediate release

Be a champion! Use open resources to reduce student costs

Open Educational Resources – materials that are freely available on the web or in the library – benefit students immediately through cost savings and can be a great vehicle for faculty looking for new ways to refocus their teaching. The purpose of this workshop is to share ideas on quality content, effective teaching practices, and institutional needs in order to move OER from a great idea to implementation. Faculty, administrators, librarians, and other community college stakeholders are invited to attend a lively discussion on setting achievable targets and reaching those milestones in this important effort to support student success. Please attend if you are new to OER, have found ways to reduce student costs in your course, or already the greatest champion of open resources on your campus – we want to talk with you!

Bring your ideas, teammates, and laptop to discuss your real needs for planning and support in order to redesign courses and programs around high-quality, freely available materials. Registration includes travel reimbursement as well as stipends for part-time Oregon community college faculty. Please register by the Early Bird deadlines for first consideration.

Register online

Dates and locations

This one-day workshop will be offered on the following dates:


Thursday, February 26, 2015, 9am-4pm
Portland Community College, Sylvania Campus, Oak Room
Early Bird registration: February 17

Friday, February 27, 2015, 9am-4pm
Portland Community College, Sylvania Campus, Oak Room
Early Bird registration: February 17

Friday, March 13, 2015, 9am-2:30pm*
Blue Mountain Community College, Pendleton, Science and Technology Room ST-200
Early Bird registration: March 2

Friday, April 24, 2015, 9am-4pm
Lane Community College, Eugene, Center for Meeting & Learning
Early Bird registration: April 13

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What do you think about online course materials sharing? http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/02/share-your-thoughts-about-course-sharing/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/02/share-your-thoughts-about-course-sharing/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 17:33:05 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4880 What do you think about online course materials sharing?


Online Course “Sharing Models That Work:” An Inquiry to Learn More

Distance educators at PCC have asked questions about online course sharing for a long time. For example, the Distance Learning Task Force (DLTF), in work conducted for the EAC around 2011-12, asked in a Gap Analysis some important questions about course sharing: “Who owns a “shell” and who can use it?” “How is academic freedom impacted?” and “[What is the] SAC role in determining which course will be offered in a DL modality[?]” Among other things, the DLTF Gap Analysis points out a lack of understanding of the impacts on academic freedom, personal creativity, and intellectual property when online course materials are shared among instructors. Four years later, for the most part, the answers remain fuzzy. As we have learned more about this complex topic, other questions have emerged as well. We need to learn more about this.

Sharing Gears (a metaphor for work)

Sharing Gears (a metaphor for work)

As the college’s eLearning Manager and an academic, I think it is important to better understand the range of thinking about course materials sharing among stakeholders at PCC. Our practices around sharing potentially impact the overall health and efficacy of PCC’s DL programs, students taking online courses, online instructors working within a discipline, and DL staff.

It is particularly important to determine best practices around course materials sharing. What is the best practice when, faced with situations within a particular discipline, instructors are assigned to teach an online course for the first time? We should consider situational factors, for example, the experience levels of instructors, students taking the course, and the needs of adjunct instructors, in this inquiry. The DL department wants to better broadly understand subject area approaches to course materials sharing. By improving our knowledge and teaching others, DL also hopes to improve understanding within subject areas.

During this (winter 2015) term, I will work to begin this inquiry. The inquiry is an early step towards the adoption of several EAC DL task force recommendations, brought forth in June 2012, to identify the online course development and sharing strategies and models in use at PCC, that work for any particular Subject Area Committees, and that deal with the operational aspects of such decisions. These recommendations (#26 to #31) can be found in the final EAC DL Steering Committee recommendations.

Helping a subject area identify “sharing models that work” (Recommendation #27) must include educating others about the concepts and perhaps exposing them to new ideas around course materials sharing, so part of the inquiry will be focused on learning what others know, and do not know, about this concept.

I wish to know what others think about online course materials sharing. To spur discussion, I would like to present some merits and demerits of course sharing, from the perspective of a DL manager, and to invite responses from individuals within the college community as to how you, as a practitioner in your area or discipline, view my perspectives. I invite your critical responses. Please reply with your comments.

The merits and demerits of online course materials sharing are:


  • Providing an already developed course reduces the time required for an instructor to get ready to teach a course for the first time because much of the work of designing the course is already done.
  • Providing an already developed course allows instructors to focus on teaching and student learning rather than curriculum design and development. This is particularly important when teaching the course the first time as, presumably, students receive more feedback.
  • Using an already developed course provides a framework and working model for teaching the course as others have taught it. This helps the first-time instructor understand the course and how the pieces fit together. Providing an instructional guide within a shared course can enhance this understanding. Students receive a better organized learning experience.
  • Using an already developed course provides an understanding of the scope of the course as others have taught it. Allows the first-time instructor to learn what learning outcomes are, and are not, included in the course. Helps ensure that students are taught all of the pertinent learning outcomes.
  • Different sharing models can be used to support course- or program-level goals; for example, the sharing of “master” courses can ensure high levels of curricular consistency across multiple sections in programs where a state exam is administered for licensure. Students across different campuses have consistent learning experiences.
  • A shared course can be made highly accessible, with equally effective materials already included in a course before a student with a disability enrolls.
  • When a first-time instructor struggles with a course component, support /advice may be available from a course lead and/or other instructors who have previously successfully taught the course. This enhances collegiality.
  • Allows PCC’s norms of quality for design and delivery to be passed along, which is especially important for instructors new to the college or profession.
  • PCC has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in developing its online curriculum. Course sharing allows instructors and students to benefit from that investment.
  • Course sharing, when embraced by multiple instructors working together and over time, can lead to a course-embedded, outcomes-based, assessment-driven, continuous improvement cycle for courses, and opens numerous possibilities for creating built-in enhancements for learners, such as designs incorporating differentiation and remediation. The effectiveness of courses developed under these circumstances can greatly exceed those developed by individuals working in isolation.


  • The teach-ability of an already developed course is subjective. Sharing may be messy when the design strategies, teaching and assessment methods, and philosophies of the course developer and those of the teacher do not align.
  • An overly rigid application of course sharing can suppress academic freedom or lead to curriculum and instruction being so proscriptive that there is limited space for an instructor to share his/her own creativity, expertise, and growth. The course may be less rich in the display of instructor style/personality as a result. Course sharing decreases idiosyncrasy.
  • Some instructors do not want to share the materials they create for their online course.
  • Adopting course sharing within a subject area requires some degree of oversight by both the subject area leaders and individual instructors to ensure the curriculum meets the SAC’s professional standards. Setting and maintaining professional standards for online curriculum may take more time that many SAC leaders and instructors have available.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my assumptions about course sharing? Have I missed any important considerations concerning course sharing?

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Get Googly with Google Docs http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/02/get-googly-with-google-docs/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/02/get-googly-with-google-docs/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 18:00:28 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4842 PCC Bridge Newspaper clipping titled PCC Gets Googly.

PCC Bridge: PCC Gets Googly!



You’ve seen the latest email from TSS about PCC Gets Googly! It describes how much the PCC community loves and uses Google Apps. Its uses for education is clearly huge and it is one of the best cloud tools out there. Today I want to share with you some useful tips on how to make use of some hidden features in Google Doc for research.

Before we start, please read the following precautions:

  • Google Docs is still not 100% accessible.
    “Google Drive is great for sharing documents and media, but Google Docs are missing some key accessibility functionality. Docs with tables and images are especially difficult for users of assistive technologies and co-editing is also a challenge. Whenever possible, offer students a choice of word document applications to use.” (http://www.pcc.edu/resources/instructional-support/access/google-doc-access.html)
  • These tips only work with the full desktop browser version of Google Docs, not the mobile versions.


The research tools is a hidden gem! You can search without ever leaving the document, add citations, link articles, and more! You can use different Google services including: Scholar, Images, Quotes, Dictionary, or just regular website.

  1. To use the research function, click on Tools from the menu
  2. Click on Research.
  3. Research window will show up on the right side. Enter any text you would like to research and choose which tools (everything, images, scholar, quotes, or dictionary).
    How to activate Research function in GoogleDoc: Step 1 and 2

    Google Docs Tools – Research. How to activate Research function, Steps 1 and 2

    What you can do with Research function in GoogleDoc: Step 3

    Google Docs Tools – Research. What you can do with Research function, Step 3

  1. When you find a web link you want to add to your document, hover your mouse pointer on that link and you can click either on the Preview, Insert link or Cite. If you click on Insert link or cite, it will automatically be displayed in the place where you want it to show up on the document.

    Preview of one of the search results in GoogleDoc: Step 4

    Google Docs Tools – Research. Preview of one of the search results, Step 4

  2. You can apply citations, when you click on the Cite button, Google Doc will automatically inserts the citation according to the style you want (MLA, APA, or Chicago). Click on the arrow below the search bar to select the citation style.
    Using Research citation function: Step 5

    Google Docs Tools – Research. Using Research citation function, Step 5

    Changing Research citation style: Step 5

    Google Docs Tools – Research. Changing Research citation style, Step 5


Ever wonder where you can do spell check? Google Doc has an integrated spelling checker that automatically underlines any misspelled word. However, if you are working on a bigger writing document and you want to make sure your document is free of spelling-errors, click on Tools from the menu and select Spelling. All misspelled terms will be featured in the displayed window. If you use a  term repeatedly, you can add it to your personal Dictionary.

How to activate Spelling function: Step 1

Google Docs Tools – Spelling. How to activate Spelling function: Step 1


Word Count

If you require your students to write a certain number of words, they can use the Word count function to know how many words they have written in the document. Just click on the Tools menu and select Word count.

How to activate Word count function: Step 1

Google Docs Tools – Word count. How to activate Word count function: Step 1

Word count result

Google Docs Tools – Word count. Word count result


The paperless classroom with Google Docs

Eric Curts guides you through the different stages of turning your classroom into a digitally focused environment where you will no longer have any need for papers. This is all done through the effective use of the different Google Drive features and functionality.

That’s all for this week’s blog. If you have any tips you want to share, please write a comment. Hope you get a chance to try any of these tips.

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Copyright conversations for faculty http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/01/copyright-conversations-for-faculty/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/01/copyright-conversations-for-faculty/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:02:59 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4832 ©

Faculty and others who produce content, do you fear this symbol when it appears on content you want to use? What questions or concerns does the notion of copyright raise for you? Are you confused about how copyright applies in online classes versus face-to-face classes?

Rachel Bridgewater, Cascade Librarian and chair of the PCC Copyright Committee, will be doing a brief presentation about copyright as it applies to teaching, followed by facilitated discussion with plenty of time for specific questions.

Dates and locations

  • 10am – 11am, Friday, February 6, Southeast TLC, Mt. Tabor 108
  • 1pm – 2pm, Friday, February 13, Rock Creek TLC Classroom, 7/116
  • 2pm – 3pm, Thursday, February 19, Cascade TLC, Cascade Hall 102
  • 2pm – 3pm, Thursday, February 26, Sylvania TLC, CC 223
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LMS tricks from Northwest ELearning http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/01/lms-tricks-from-northwest-elearning/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/01/lms-tricks-from-northwest-elearning/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:00:31 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4794 I really like going to conferences, it helps to widen horizons, see the bigger picture, find new trends and there is a lot to learn in just 2 or 3 days. In October of 2014, I went to Boise, Idaho for Northwest eLearning conference. Tim Chase from Baker Charter Schools was one of the most engaging presenters at the event. He runs a resource page and blog  that I would like to refer you to.

I am sure you’ll find a lot of helpful info on it along with his LMS Tricks slide presentation from the Northwest e-Learning 2014. Here are my 5 top tricks (from his 30) that I use every day working with LMS. They are very basic, but can be a big help organizing your workflow and may save you lots of time.

Naming by numbers

Slide - Naming by numbers

Slide – Naming by numbers (click to enlarge)

Tim is using numbers to name the assignments files. This way just by looking at the file name gives you a lot of information – the number of the week that assignment was given, the number of the the assignment in this week and at the amount of max points the student can get for doing it.
Naming with numbers can make much easier  to sort the documents in a larger folder if the file name starts with a number corresponding to a number of content module (week) a document is included in. This practice can be adopted by some PCC instructors when uploading course documents in the Manage Files area.





 Control click

 Slide - Control click

Slide – Control click (click to enlarge)

Control clicking gives you an option of opening that link in a different tab instead of taking you directly there. This simple trick can be priceless, when working with a list of of submitted assignments, discussions or even courses and when you want to keep that list handy on a separate tab. Working between the tabs can be much easier than navigating with Go back button.







 Bookmark folders

Slide - Bookmarks folders

Slide – Bookmarks folders (click to enlarge)

You can store all open tabs and get back to your browser’s configuration at any time later.
When using Bookmark All Tabs option you’ll create a folder that will store all of your open tabs and you can open them all again.






Clipboard History

Slide - Clipboard History

Slide – Clipboard History (click to enlarge)

Download and install Clipboard History, a free extension for Chrome browser. Now you have an access to the content that has been recently copied to the computer clipboard. The tool works with any data: text, images, files, etc. and can be used to paste data to any application. Clipboard history is available after computer reboot and has a search function.






 Browser Clipboard

Slide - Browser Clipboard

Slide – Browser Clipboard (click to enlarge)

Download and install Browser Clipboard, a free extension for Chrome browser. This tool can store for your multiple copy/paste items. Just drag and drop a portion of a text to the text container that will hold it for you. This technique can ease your life when providing feedback to your class, because quite often you are going to use the same phrases assessing your student’s work. Just drag a phrase from the container and drop it in your text.




Visit Tim Chase’s page  for more LMS tricks and help him to collect more by submitting your own ideas following this link.

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Announcing the Start Guide for Online Learners http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/01/announcing-the-start-guide-for-online-learners/ http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/2015/01/announcing-the-start-guide-for-online-learners/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 18:00:10 +0000 http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/?p=4764 Virtual Backpack

Virtual Backpack: The Start Guide for Online Learners

After January 20th, 2015, students who want to take their first online class at PCC will need to complete the Start Guide for Online Learners before they can register for an online course. The Start Guide, identified as the Virtual Backpack, is a collection of modules to help student learn more about online learning and decide if online learning is appropriate for them. The Backpack helps students prepare for their educational journey. More than just basic information, the Start Guide also includes information about additional support available to online students and what to expect in your first online course.

Why are we doing this?

We’re doing this is because we care about student success. We’ve spent the last several years researching, testing, and working with instructors, students, advisors, and other student success specialists to see how we can help students improve their success rates in online classes. We found that even the most competent technology users in online classes are unaware of all the resources the college provides to support their success.

What does it cover?

This is a sample SmarterMeasure report. It gives overall scores in the major areas of the assessment.

This is a sample SmarterMeasure report. It gives overall scores in the major areas of the assessment.

We’ve had a pretty good orientation for a couple years now, but we’ve updated the content with some exciting additions that will really help students prepare for online learning. The biggest addition is a Readiness Assessment, an interactive tool that helps students consider how non-cognitive skills and lifestyle factors may contribute to (or work against) their ability to be a successful. This Readiness Assessment, provided by SmarterMeasure, provides students with a custom report with their readiness scores and identifies resources that tell the student more about the different aspects of the assessment.

Overall, the Start Guide contains the following major topics.

  1. The Readiness Assessment
  2. Overview of what online learning entails
  3. Academic integrity
  4. Online student services
  5. Completion and Next steps

Who has to take it?

The Start Guide is required for any student who wants to take their first online class at PCC. Students who have already taken an online class at PCC do not have to complete the Start Guide. It takes most people less than an hour to complete, and according to one student who participated in the pilot, it will “pay mad dividends” for students down the road.

Where do I start?

If you’re considering taking your first online class at PCC, you can start any time you’d like. You can either read more about it first, or you can log in to MyPCC to access it. Here’s how.

  1. Log in to MyPCC
  2. Click on the My Courses tab
  3. Locate the “Ready to take online classes?” channel and click the link for the Start Guide for Online Learners.

If you’ve already take it, or you’ve taken online classes at PCC before, you’ll see a backpack with a green check mark and a message that you’re ready to register for online classes.

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