The Micro-Lecture

Post-it note with smiling face

Post-it note with smiling faceShort, focused discussions of key concepts or ideas can be a great way to support student learning when they’re working independently or at a distance. This summer I’m teaching a fully online course and one of my big concerns for online teaching is maintaining a high level of student engagement. One of the ways I’m approaching this is through regular use of focused 5-minute videos.

Take a look at my post on GradHacker about some strategies for recording your own micro-lecture.

Make a Better Writing Assignment by Design

[Image by Flickr user James Harrison and used under Creative Commons license]

[Image by Flickr user James Harrison and used under Creative Commons license]I work with a lot of instructors who use writing in their teaching. One of the challenges of teaching with writing is that without the right kinds of support, students might struggle to accomplish learning outcomes, get frustrated about the writing process, and result in more work for teachers when it’s time to give feedback. By situating writing assignments in a sequence of well-scaffolded activities, students can get support from the process, and you can write holistic feedback that will help students make progress toward your learning outcomes.

Take a look at my post on GradHacker with strategies for designing writing assignments that can help students refine the skills they already have, as well as hone new skills through practice, exposure and feedback.


[Image by Flickr user James Harrison and used under Creative Commons license]

Build More Collaboration into Your Online Class

Speech bubbles made of different kinds of paper

Just because you’re teaching an online class doesn’t mean you can’t have students work and learn together. As I’m building an online class in preparation this summer, I’m also trying to plan activities that students can do in collaboration with each other and to contribute to content of the course.

My post on GradHacker discusses some ideas for online activities that go beyond the typical discussion board conversation. Take a look!

[Image by flickr user Marc Wathieu and used under Creative Commons license]

Give Your Syllabus an Extreme Redesign for the New Year

Syllabus bWho says that your syllabus should only be used on the first day of class? Perhaps it’s an issue of design. After getting some inspiration from a post on Creative Approaches to the Syllabus, I decided to undertake a full redesign of my syllabus, including visual design.

My post on GradHacker has some tips on making a syllabus more clearly represent your values, tips for coming up with a sound design, and how to incorporate the syllabus throughout the term, not just the first day of class.

See the full syllabus here.


Image by Travis Grandy, all rights reserved.