Earlier this month, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) hosted the Online and Hybrid Learning Showcase. At the event, the following faculty members and graduate students demonstrated the online or hybrid courses they developed over the last year:
- Robert Blake and Travis Bradley (Spanish)
- Arnold Bloom (Plant Sciences)
- Woutrina Miller and Sophie Papageorgiou (Veterinary Medicine)
- Carl Whithaus, Mary Stewart, and Jenae Cohn (University Writing Program)
- Jon Scholey (Molecular and Cellular Biology)
- Jim Shackelford (Engineering)
- Naomi Janowitz (Religious Studies)
- Liz Applegate (Nutrition)
- Jim Carey (Entomology)
The demonstrations showed various approaches and methodologies for integrating online learning tools, and many involved exciting uses of video. For example, Jon Scholey’s iBioSeminars are a collection of video lectures by professors around the world that students watch for homework each week. Robert Blake’s Spanish course contains video interviews with native speakers that are accompanied by subtitles to help students connect the auditory and visual aspects of the language.
Jim Shackelford”s engineering course utilizes picture-in-picture (PIP) technology. The video combines the computer screen that Dr. Shackelford is actually using and writing on in real-time while he appears superimposed in the corner of the video. Any drawings or equations he writes on screen appear to the students as he”s discussing concepts, virtually simulating a standard face-to-face lecture.
To view videos of the introduction and the eight individual sessions, visit the .
After the demonstrations, there was a question and answer session; I’ve summarized some of that session below.
How are we administering exams for online courses? Do we have plans for proctoring exams?
There is discussion about this happening right now; some people suggest a testing center. It’s a problem we haven’t solved yet.
Have any of the courses been put through the course approval system?
Naomi Janowitz and Jim Carey both have courses in the course approval process that have been there for over a year. Arnold Bloom has had his online course approved, and it was noted that Bloom’s course was only at the senate-level for a month. There are a lot of layers to go through for course approval.
What is the course on course redesign?
This was taught last winter/spring as an eight-week hybrid course; it operated as a professional development community. Faculty who are new to the hybrid/online experience know about the teaching and they know about their content, but they often don’t know how to select the right tools and what to do with copyrights and students with disabilities, and this course is designed to answer those sorts of questions.
Throughout the course, faculty from different disciplines worked together as peers – they redesigned their courses and reviewed each other’s work. People walked out of the workshop with a course that was ready to be proposed for the senate approval process.
What’s the feedback from students in online and hybrid courses?
A student at the showcase spoke up, explaining that lecture halls are not that much different from sitting behind a laptop and in the online environment, she felt that she could really get involved; it felt more like a discussion than a lecture.
Arnold Bloom said the students in his class felt like they got to know him and had a connection, even though he was just a talking head on a screen. Bloom’s teaching assistant further noted that the online environment is helpful for shy students – they can be interactive in an online forum in a way they can’t in front of people.