In integrating technology into teaching and learning, we constantly encounter hardware and software issues, as well as issues related to how people interact with machines. Some of these issues are unique, but most of the problems are common to the Queens College community and beyond.
For this Tech Tip, we assembled stories about teaching with technology from the Teaching Circle blog. Established in January 2014, to provide adjunct faculty an online space to describe their best practices in teaching and learning and share their frustrations and uncertainties. It is also a place where participating bloggers support each other by offering suggestions and advice.
A Selection of Tech Tips from the Teaching Circle Blog
How do we meet the technology challenge: the digital divide? Robin Hizme (English, College Preparatory Programs) describes the challenges students sometimes face getting access to technology and how we can help as an institution, through our departments, and as individual instructors.
Using Piazza, an alternative to Blackboard, in classroom instruction. Jared Mijares (Economics) outlines his use of Piazza as an online discussion and polling space, whose combined functions seem to offer instructors an alternative to Blackboard.
Tips for setting up online Blackboard exams. Phil Lewis (Sociology) shares tips on the benefits and risks of this method of assessing students.
How to grade assignments submitted online. Jeanette Cherno (FNES) solicits tips or ideas that will help make the transition to online grading a little easier. Collecting hard copies of student assignments is intuitive to many of us, so changing to a methodology where we collect student work online takes some getting used to.
Adjunct co-teaching model. Phil Lewis (Sociology) describes a method he uses to team-teach classes with a fellow instructor who tunes in remotely, using video conferencing software. It’s more than just setting up the tech correctly: trust between the two instructors is a critical ingredient.
The Move to Hybrid/Online – teaching with co-instructors. Alan Gonzalez (Sociology) describes a similar team-teaching model. While admitting his preference for in-classroom instruction, he advocates experimenting with technology and takes into account feedback from students on their experience.
Did students finish required reading before class? Use a blog to check. Carol Hacker (SEYS) addresses a big issue we all face as instructors: getting students to read their assignments before class. Carol uses a class blog to elicit reflections on the readings before students come to class. The post goes on to describe the evolution of writing assignments in the online medium.
Blackboard’s tips and tricks I. Susan Tietje (FNES) uses Blackboard extensively in her teaching, and describes here some of the properties of this learning management system, including how assignments can be posted electronically, automatically flagged if they are late, and automatically scanned for plagiarism.
Blackboard’s tips and tricks II. In a follow-up to Susan’s Blackboard tips, Carol Hacker (SEYS) offers her insights, including how she uses the Early Warning System/Retention Center to monitor student progress. Like Susan, Carol also stresses the importance of getting students oriented to using the system and knowing where to go for information.
Synchronous session: if at first you don’t succeed… Carol Hacker (SEYS) describes her experience setting up a live class with students, using Adobe Connect. How do you orchestrate a synchronous online session, when the campus is not closed but the weather is going from bad to worse?
Many other topics are also discussed on the blog, including the adjunct experience, classroom teaching, and things I wish I knew. We invite you to read your colleagues’ posts and join the conversation! (Add your comments under any blog entry.) We would love to hear your suggestions and advice. And if you’d like to join the Teaching Circle as a blogger this year (12 month commitment), click here for more information: http://ctl.qc.cuny.edu/cfp-teaching-circle-2015