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Jan 23, 2013

Course Countdown

6 weeks before class:

4 weeks before class:
2 weeks before class:
Day 1/Week 1:

To follow up on any of these ideas, please contact me at This Weekly Teaching Note was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium sponsored by Western Kentucky University.

Judy C. K. Chan, PhD
Educational Developer
Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology
The University of British Columbia

Author: francine_glazer

Dec 12, 2012

Holistic Conversations about a course: Activity for the last week of the semester

In some classes, you may want to obtain information about what assignments and experiences were valuable – especially if you are preparing to teach the same course the next semester. Here’s a way to get feedback from your students at the same time that you review the major course goals and objectives with them.

1. Prepare a sheet of paper that simply has a label for the assignment or experience on the top – one for each area you are interested in obtaining information.  For example: 

2. Create groups of students – the same number of groups as there are assignments that they will explore.
3. Give each group one of the sheets of paper, and ask one person to be the scribe.  They are to write what was effective about the assignment/experience and what was ineffective about the assignment.  Give the group about three minutes to do this.
4. Rotate sheets clockwise.  The next group reads what is on the sheet and adds effective and ineffective aspects.  Give the group about three minutes to do this.
5. Rotate sheets clockwise again…same task as above.  Give the group about three minutes to do this.
6. Rotate sheets clockwise – this is the last time – the group is to read all the comments and then rank order the three most important comments on the sheet.  The groups may need more than three minutes but are usually done within five minutes.
7. Bring everyone back together and open the floor for discussion.  Start with the area you are most interested in and ask the group that has that sheet to talk about their ranking and explain why they rated things this way. Ask the rest of the class to comment, if they’d like. The ensuing discussions allows you to hear, respond to, and acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of the various activities.  Because the group that speaks first is the group that ranked the responses, they are more comfortable engaging in the conversation since they are not responsible for generating the items on the sheet.  What I have found is that this acts as a catalyst for a healthy whole class discussion of what was learned during the course.
In addition to providing you with guidance for the next time you teach the course, you will be able to reemphasize course outcomes, rearticulate interconnections of concepts and experiences, and communicate intent while having a chance to review material.  Collect the sheets so that you can read everything and use them to shape aspects of the course the next time you teach it.

To follow up on any of these ideas, please contact me at This Weekly Teaching Note was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium sponsored by Western Kentucky University.
Rebecca Clemente, Director for the Center of Teaching and Learning
North Central College
Naperville, Illinois

Author: francine_glazer

Dec 05, 2012

The Graphic Syllabus

I remember taking Physics in high school, where for the first time, a science class was not only easy to understand, but fun. I recall it was all because the new textbook explained Physics with simple drawings of how objects moved in space, instead of using merely text.  Now, 25 years later, I am applying this principle to the course syllabus.

In “ARTC401-Senior Project I”, students acquire various skills of 3D modeling and animation to produce short animations from start to finish.  Image 1 shows an excerpt of the text syllabus, with detailed description of weekly topics and assignments.  Every semester I start with a syllabus overview, leading the students through an 8-page text syllabus.    

text syllabus

This year, I supplemented it with a graphic syllabus and discussion (Image 2). This simple diagram illustrates the interconnectedness of all the modules in the course. There is a clear direction; each module feeding into the next, culminating in the central module, M8 Final Project. I utilized color and size to visually communicate the type and magnitude of each module.

graphic syllabus

I also thought it would be valuable for students to visualize the implications of their coursework, and how much each of their efforts counts towards their final grade. 

pie chart

Many fine arts students have complained to me about the interface design of Blackboard, so I faced a challenge. How can I make art students excited about using Blackboard?  How can I make the interface more accessible?

Blackboard permits uploading of graphics, and I realized this feature could allow me to influence the graphical interface, enhancing the student experience while simultaneously communicating the schedule of each module period.  I wanted it to be as easy as finding a New York subway train, so the graphics were inspired by NYC subway symbols, with colors and numbers for the different days of the module.  This graphic was the first item that loaded in the course sections on Blackboard. (Image 5).

Bb view

Overall, my students seem to appreciate these visual enhancements to the course.  They can always refer to the text syllabus for details, and visualize how the pieces fit together into the big picture.

Yuko Oda
Associate Professor, Fine Arts
College of Arts and Sciences

Author: francine_glazer

Nov 27, 2012

Beyond Four Walls: Leveraging Technology for Learning

Have you ever had a discussion with your students that was so rich that you wished it could continue beyond the end of class? Good news – technology can help! There are many easy-to-implement technologies that can be used to have discussions, deliver content, and facilitate interaction. This week’s Teaching Note describes a set of educational technology resources that can help you extend your courses beyond the traditional classroom. 

New Web Site: Educational Technologies for Teaching and Learning

Members of the Educational Technology committee have contributed to the development of a website that lists various tools, most of which are easy to use. Each tool has been used by one or more NYIT faculty members for instructional purposes. Names of faculty and staff who are willing to share their experiences with you and support your initial attempts at using these technologies are listed on each page.
The web site is built using Google Sites, part of NYIT’s Google Apps for Education. Google Sites, itself, may be a useful tool for your students as a way to collect, organize, and present information. Some of the tools listed there are synchronous, like Skype. People can connect from different locations, but must use the technology at the same time. Others are asynchronous, like a bulletin board, meaning that people can contribute from different locations and at different times.

If you would like to add anything to the site – your name as a faculty member who uses a particular tool, or another tool that we missed – please contact the Educational Technology Committee chairs, Jim Martinez ( and Fran Glazer (, or the Committee secretary, Tobi Abramson (
Blackboard Exam Converter
If you have ever tried to create an exam on Blackboard (Bb), you know how time consuming it is to create questions. Bb gives you a great deal of control over how the questions are presented and how the exams are configured, but the trade-off for that is a seemingly endless set of fields to fill in … for each question.
Thanks to the Web Systems group in the Office of Information Technology and Infrastructure, you now have a much more efficient option! The Bb Exam Converter allows you to copy and paste your “gently modified” exam from your standard text editor (e.g., Microsoft Word), and will produce a formatted file that you can upload directly into Bb. The Converter supports five types of questions: multiple choice, multiple answer, essay, true-false, and matching. After you’ve uploaded the questions file, it’s easy to go into specific questions to add an image.
The web page provides directions, a sample test so you can see the formatting and try it out, a brief video demonstrating how it works, and links for more support.
Pearson MyLabs now integrate easily with Bb
If you use a textbook published by Pearson, it’s very likely that you have received promotional materials from them about their online supplements. After careful evaluation and testing, the Pearson building block has been installed in Bb. It allows you to integrate their “MyLab” exercises, available in many disciplines, so that students can access them from within Bb rather than having to log out and go to a second web site.
If you are interested in taking advantage of this feature, you need to contact the publisher to see what resources are available for your textbook. You may also want to register for a free webinar offered by Bb on December 10, in which a faculty member who uses Pearson MyLab within Bb will discuss her experience with the tools and answer questions. For more information and to register, visit

Author: francine_glazer

Nov 14, 2012

Online Collaboration Through Evernote: A New Group Format

Like many professors "of a certain age," the transition from lecture based, traditional classroom models to technology inclusive, collaborative approaches to adult learning did not come easily or naturally for me.  However, I arrived at the realization that students today, even good students, were simply unable to adequately assimilate information with traditional, instructor-driven, models.  Continued effectiveness in the classroom would require new skills and adjustments on my part. 

I began to seek out various on-line tools to encourageinteraction and collaborative work.  I discovered a product called Evernote™ that allows students to share virtual “notebooks” so they can compile materials for group projects in one place.  Evernote™ is a free service available on most electronic devices.  It allows users to type notes into an Evernote™ notebook and access those notes from anywhere.  Students may record information in text, audio or visual format with text being searchable within images.  
In a project group, each student is able to go to the document stored in Evernote™ and edit or revise, thus eliminating thefrustration students often have in relation to coordinating schedules to arrange meeting times for group work. Everyone has access to all of the articles and other resources for the project and can add resources at any time.   Suddenly, students were contributing more, creating more as a group, instead of relying on one person to compile the project, and completing projects within the time frames assigned.  Complaints related to “social loafing” subsided.  My skepticism waned.   
As I pondered other ways that students might be able to work “together” from a distance, I discovered StudyBlue™.  The collaborative features of StudyBlue™ are part of what earned them a place in the 2012 listing of Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning, awarded by the American Association of School Librarians (Habley, 2012). StudyBlue™ created the ability for students to share virtual “backpacks” with their classmates, enabling collaboration of a flashcard database for their specific course, text or discipline.  Students can learn from classmates as well as approximately one million users worldwide, who add roughly 2 million new flashcards each week through the shared database (Klündt, 2012). As students enter their flashcard, they are shown approximately 30 related cards from their classmates or students in general.  They can then add another student’s card to their deck, use their own, or both. 
Evernote™ teamed up with StudyBlue™ to allow students to take their Evernote™ notebooks and transfer them to their virtual “backpack” in StudyBlue™ where they can make their interactive flashcards (which can include text, audio and imagery), study guides and quizzes that are available on both desktop and mobile devices without having to retype data.   Evernote™ accounts, or specific notebooks within accounts, can be set to automatically sync with StudyBlue™ upon login at StudyBlue™.
In my class, I encourage students to type notes in Evernote™ or export them from Word™ into Evernote™, sync and study with StudyBlue™.  This ability to access notes and flashcards quickly and easily, via mobile device, has increased interaction with the material and encouraged students to build their knowledge base together.  Both tools appeal to our tech savvy student population by providing a cutting edge, convenient way to accomplish courseobjectives and projects.   
To follow up on any of these ideas, please contact me at This Weekly Teaching Note was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium sponsored by Western Kentucky University.
Beth White Bigler
Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center
The University of Tennessee, Knoxille

Author: francine_glazer

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Amy Bravo Amy Bravo
Assistant Dean
Office: Career Services
Campus: Old Westbury
Jonathan Voris Jonathan Voris, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department: Computer Science
Campus: Manhattan
Ilvania Mendoza Ilvania Mendoza
Campus: Manhattan
Major: Graphic Design, B.F.A.
Class Of: 2014