Maybe I should be used to the situation by now, but it continues to be surprising how difficult it is to find a reliable way to post streaming content privately on our LMS. We have done long-term pilots with two companies that both failed for one reason or another. Last spring, I was in on a discussion with another company and, despite getting a promise that it would all be done “very soon,” they too failed to provide a workable solution by the start of our summer program this year. And here is where most of the companies working in educational technology don’t get it: the show must go on. In this particular case, providing video capabilities to teachers and students of that program could not just get cancelled, or wait until some company figures out a more robust solution. In general, instruction can’t wait for an elegant solution, so teachers usually have to come up with some sort of workaround.
A couple weeks ago we had just over 50 participants for a three day Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant orientation, a program that we have participated in for several years now. I have been trying to implement some sort of LMS training using our own Sakai instance, but we have constantly run into the reality that participants can’t get access until they arrive, and then the schedule is just too short to really do anything of substance. At the same time, we had two additional components that we wanted to accomplish this year, video clips and homework, so we needed some online way to facilitate that. I decided to try Instructure Canvas for this purpose, mostly out of curiosity about this relatively new entry into the LMS market.
One resource that I use and often recommend to English learners is the PBS Newshour site. While it is clearly not intended specifically to be used in that capacity, it has several characteristics that make it well-suited to that purpose.
Just finished these. They will eventually be on the Language Center website:
When I teach a pedagogy class, I tell the students that I think in PowerPoint. I do this partly to spite the large community of Microsoft haters, but also to illustrate a point: planning a lesson is a step that a teacher should never skip, especially if they have not taught that lesson at least 5 times. And, while it is important to be flexible, it is also important to visualize the short period of time that we spend with our students in a structured, chronological way, so that we make the most of every minute.
Last quarter I taught EFSLANG-693B, an advanced listening comprehension and discussion course for international graduate students. I have written about my efforts with the media in that class before, and wanted to follow up with a few reflections on the most recent iteration.
As we approach the end of the academic year, there is often a tendency to look for ways to assess how we have done and what we should do next year. One of the easiest tools for doing this is the survey, but I would suggest that querying network and software logs might give a more accurate picture of what is going on. At the very least, there is a strong argument that we really should take advantage of the resources we control before we start asking students and faculty who might have time to report what they think they can recall about their computer use. Below are a few questions that might be answerable, followed by some guiding principles behind them. These lists are by no means complete, but hopefully they give a direction that might be productive. The basic idea is to get a more accurate picture of how the learning management system (LMS), clusters, and other university controlled resources are used in order to possibly find opportunities or lacks that could be addressed.
On one level, this post is about Quizlet, a tool that I use in a couple different ways, but what I really hope to convey to readers is an approach that I am taking in my curriculum and how I implement that with both high and low tech, or online and traditional technology.