CTLT Dialogues

The Blog of the Center for Teaching & Learning with Technology

Archive for May, 2008

Excellent resource for sciences

Posted by Cathy Kelley on May 29, 2008

The following appeared in today’s Wired Campus blog (a service of The Chronicle of Higher Education):

Pedagogy in Action Online

This blog post describes the Science Education Research Center at Carleton College, an online resource available here:


This resource gives wonderful ideas for teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to undergraduates.  Not all are technology-enhanced, but all are great ideas to consider for re-invigorating your classes and helping your students learn. I am a particular fan of the “studio teaching” approach which gets prominent mention on the front page of this website.

If you are reading this and you are not a scientist, but know some scientists, please pass this along! I’d like to get broader readership of this blog at FDU. And if you stop by, drop a note in the comments to let us know you’ve been here.


Posted in Article Alerts, Effective Practices | 2 Comments »

Moving from Passive to Active Learning

Posted by ctlt on May 27, 2008

Thursday morning began with a presentation by Raymond Schroeder, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Springfield, using an Internet-based teleconferening platform to speak with us from Spokane, Washington.

Ray based his presentation on posts that are available on one of his blogs: Active Online Learning. He contrasted a list of teaching activities that Passive approaches prefer to a list of activities Active approaches emphasize:
Passive approaches emphasize:

  • Lectures
  • Readings
  • Watching video
  • Listening to audio
  • Observing demonstrations

Active approaches emphasize:

  • Interaction through discussion
  • Studentstudent / facultystudent interactions
  • Student presentations
  • Group projects
  • Simulations
  • Problem solving

From: http://activeonlinelearning.blogspot.com/2008/02/passive-learning-active-learning.html

Ray shared with us an engaging YouTube clip from the Digital Ethnography program at Kansas State University, a clip that provided “A Vision of Students Today.” He noted that a more passive approach could be turned into a more active approach, in this case by leading a short discussion of the online video clip we had just watched. (Class discussion was facilitated by Michael Koskinen, an Instructional and Technical Support Specialist in CTLT, who carried a wireless microphone around the room, to capture the remarks of individuals who offered comments on the clip, and at other times during the teleconference.

Ray introduced us to this discussion by Ronald Berk and others of how active learning leads to greater recall than passive learning: http://courses.science.fau.edu/~rjordan/active_learning.htm He pointed also to his blog post summarizing Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson’s landmark discussion of Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. His blog also links to a more extended consideration of the Chickering and Gamson article.

Several additional resources are available through Ray’s blog posts, notably Constructivism Online, Active Learning with PowerPoint, and Bloom’s Taxonomy Revised – Actively! Be sure to click on the titles for these posts on Ray’s blog; they link to supporting resources available online.

We encounter some technical difficulties with continuing Ray’s presentation, so we finished with watching another intriguing YouTube video from KSU’s Digital Ethnography Program: “The Machine is Us/ing Us.”

The teleconference with Ray Schroeder is available online: Moving from Passive to Active Learning.
The following time points are of particular interest:

  • Sandra’s introduction at 31:30
  • Session break around 1:13:00
  • Session resumed around 1:28:00

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Blogging with Your Students: Pedagogical Approaches to Using Blogs

Posted by ctlt on May 27, 2008

After lunch on Wednesday, Jonathan Goodman (Silberman College) led our first hands-on workshop. His guide to creating a free blog and installing resources to encourage and track its use is available for download as an MS Word document (.doc) here.

Jonathan recommends that faculty creating a blog for pedagogical purposes should use their own Google gmail accounts, or create new ones, and then go to Blogger.com and sign up for a blog. You’ll need to think up a name for your blog, which then becomes part of the URL for directing people to your site.

Jonathan took the workshop through some basic steps for creating a title and a description, and for listing a new blog . He then showed us what choices were preferable for formatting posts, for managing comments on the blog, and for archiving. Design considerations were mostly resolved by selecting a Blogger template, though that left some font and color choices for people who wanted to customize the look of their blog. Another consideration for Layout is how to select and arrange Page Elements, which may include advertisements.

He then showed us how to install Google Adsense, including how to create an account. Bloggers who add Page Elements (ad units and link units) for advertisements can sign up for Google’s AdSense, copy some specialized HTML/JavaScript code to their template, and Google will place ads on their blog automatically, based on topics and keywords appearing in posts on that blog.

Another tool Jonathan demonstrated is Google Analytics. Bloggers can create profiles for their Websites and copy some additional HTML/JavaScript code to their blog layout, and Google Analytics will track how users come to their sites, how long they stay, whether they visit additional pages on the site, and whether they become repeat visitors. That information is very useful in evaluating whether a blog is attracting visitors, and especially building a readership by encouraging repeat visits.

Another important tool is the AddThis Button, which encourages visitors to bookmark the blog and to share their bookmark with others in their social network. Jonathan demonstrated how to create an account, select the right look for the button element and how to add the HTML/JavaScript code to blog layouts on the Blogger platform.

Finally, Jonathan showed how to sign up for Google Alerts. Bloggers can identify topics they want to monitor, and Google will send email notifications to them when Google visitors search for those topics. This is a way to stay informed about new articles or posts

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FMG On Demand

Posted by ctlt on May 23, 2008

During Wednesday’s lunch, Denise O’Shea, the CoolCAT NJ Systems Librarian, demonstrated FDU’s new online resource, digitized educational films available through streaming video. Working with NJ’s VALE (Virtual Academic Library Environment) consortium, FDU has licensed an initial collection of about 50 digitized educational films. Any member of the FDU community who has a Webmail account can visit the FMG Access site to learn more about the films that are available.

Faculty and staff at FDU can also request Films On Demand accounts, and use more advanced features at the Films On Demand Web site. Account holders can identify films they’re interested in, and make a list of those films as “My Videos,” or they create playlists of films and film segments as “My Playlists.” Further, with a Films On Demand account, you may identify segments of films you want to use in class, generate a stable URL for each segment and use those URLs to make films or film segments available to your students, by putting links in your Webcampus courses. Faculty can use film segments that have already been identified (as “learning objects”), or set start times and stop times within a film to create their own, customized learning objects.

For more information on FDU’s access to Films On Demand, visit this page on the library’s Web site. There you can find a link for a form to request a Films On Demand account, in order to access advanced features. Or you can download a Films On Demand training manual.

Denise O’Shea has her own blog, FDU Library Technology, where you can find more information about her work for FDU and the College of Saint Elizabeth. There you can also find more information about additional efforts to make digital video resources available for NJ educators.

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Blogging for Dollars

Posted by ctlt on May 22, 2008

The second presentation of the day was “Blogging for Dollars: An Engaging Student Activity,” presented by Jonathan Goodman, of FDU’s Silberman College. Jonathan teaches e-Business classes for the Entrepreneurial Studies program. His goal is to teach students how to use advertising and marketing tools available (particularly from Google) to make money online.

Jonathan discussed how the introduction of Web 2.0 resources has changed the Web from something of a passive medium for receiving information, into an interactive medium, through which each person’s “voice” may be heard. His particular interest for the day’s presentation was Web logging, the creation of blogs. There are several different types of blogs, either personal or corporate, and involving different media types (such as photologs, video blogs (or vlogs), sketchlogs, linklogs, tumblelogs, in addition to the traditional, more text-oriented blogs). Blogs differ from Web pages because they are easy to update, easy to syndicate (using RSS, for example) and easy for visitors to contribute by posting their own comments.

There are various blog software platforms available, and students can create their own blogs for free at sites such as Blogger or WordPress.

For his course, Jonathan assigns a project requiring his students to create their own individual blogs. They choose their own subjects, build their blogs, and install Google’s advertising application and Google’s analytical program. These tools enable students to add revenue-generating advertisements to their sites and to track the way visitors come to their sites and use what’s on their sites. Other tools that help bloggers market their blogs are AddThis, to make it easier for visitors to bookmark and share information on blogs, and Google Alerts, which automatically emails subscribers with information about the latest Google searches based on query words or topics that subscribers have identified as of interest to them.

Jonathan compared user records for the blogs of the top two performers in his class, in order to explain in more detail how he compared the degree to which their blogs were successful in attracting visitors and whether those visitors made return visits to the blogs.

Jonathan also discussed sites that support searching for blogs on topics of interest for users and showed us how to use them. The most prominent blog search engine is Technorati. Another favorite tool is the aggregator site Bloglines, which lets users subscribe to syndicated blogs.

Jonathan’s Powerpoint presentation is available here.

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Teaching and Learning Using Cell Phone Technology

Posted by ctlt on May 22, 2008

The first formal presentation for this year’s TNT Institute was “Teaching and Learning Using Cell Phone Technology,” presented by Patricia Kahn, Leslie Wilson and Jessica Brandt of Montclair State University. Kahn and her colleagues discussed how Montclair is using students’ mobile phones as teaching and learning devices. They presented on Montclair’s Campus Connect program, which takes advantage of features available for mobile phones through Rave Wireless, a provider of safety services through mobile phones. Rave offers access to resources through integration with Blackboard, including sending out course announcements and making grades available to students. The Rave system also supports various interactive methods for engaging students, from social networking to group collaboration, interactive quizzing and polling, and sharing learning materials (such as flashcards).

Patricia Kahn, the Director, Technology Training, & Integration, at Montclair’s Office of Information Technology, gave a detailed overview of the capability of the mobile phone system, and its integration with Blackboard. Dr. Kahn also noted that assigned course activities didn’t require the use of cell phones from Montclair, and could also be completed using desktop or laptop computers through online resources.

Dr. Kahn was accompanied by two faculty members from Montclair’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, who presented on their experiences using cell phone and associated technology for enhancing student engagement with course work. Leslie Wilson discussed the use of the phones as “clickers,” to provide responses during class, or for conducting polls (usually outside of class), or to provide portable access to resources on the Web. Results of polls could be reviewed in class during the next meeting, as bar graphs or pie charts; reviewing poll results often sparked conversations about course topics, which continued inside and outside class. Dr. Wilson noted that students found these activities provided an engaging learning environment, an environment that made learning fun.

Jessica Brandt discussed how she’s used cell phones for polls and for fieldwork activities while teaching German language courses. She pointed out that the phones had cameras built in to them, so that students could be assigned the task of collecting photos of people engaging in various activities corresponding to items on a vocabulary list of German verbs Ms Brandt distributed before sending her students out for the short field assignment. Part of the task was for students to match photos of people performing the actions that matched the verb forms in gender and number. Ms Brandt has also assigned a list of trivia questions on well-known German public figures and required students to use available reference resources to answer the questions by texting before the next class meeting.

Ms Brandt also discussed a semester-long project she has assigned that required students to respond to a series of questions by posting to an autobiographical blog (for themselves or for a fictional person). At the end of the semester, students were required to present this autobiographical information for the class, in German. Most students used their own computers to post to their blogs, and some created MS Powerpoint slideshows for their presentations.

According to Ms Brandt, students quickly became comfortable with the technology involved in these activities quickly, and these methods were a useful way to add to the contact hours she had with her students.

The Powerpoint presentation from our colleagues at Montclair State University is available here.

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Rave Wireless for Teaching and Learning

Posted by Cathy Kelley on May 21, 2008

Faculty who attended this morning’s presentation at our TNT Institute by Patty Kahn and two faculty members from Montclair State learned a great deal about using cell phones to enhance teaching and learning. This engaging presentation showed some very interesting ways to keep your students learning once they have left your classroom.

As I mentioned during the presentation, FDU has a relationship with Rave Wireless. All of our residential students get Rave / Sprint phones and all of the Rave services that go with it.  (I also said that all Freshmen have the phones, but that is inaccurate – for now, only residential students have the phones.) But as our faculty saw and experienced first-hand, your students don’t need to have Rave phones to participate in most of the engaging class activities that were presented.

If you are interested in participating in a pilot project to use cell phones for teaching and learning, let me know. Over the next week or so, Neal Sturm and I will be working out some details about a pilot project to run this fall. I’ll keep you posted about this opportunity.

Posted in Effective Practices, New and Improved | 2 Comments »

Pay Attention

Posted by ctlt on May 21, 2008

The Fifth Annual TNT Institute began this morning in Dickinson Hall, on the Metropolitan campus of FDU. After registration and welcome remarks by Catherine Kelley and Sandra Selick, we watched “Pay Attention,” a short YouTube video on the digital and screen media experiences of today’s college students. The content of the video is also available as a .pdf file.

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