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Tech for Teaching @GC

Community-based, student-centered, technology-enhanced learning and teaching

Posts tagged D2L


ePortfolio is for everyone.

Posted Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 Tagged:

ePortfolio is a tool in Desire2Learn that simply means Electronic Portfolio. Students, Faculty, and Staff all have their own ePortfolio. This tool is a great way for the users to showcase the work they have done in digital form.  The way the presentation is presented is in the form of a standard website. For faculty review, it eliminates the waste of paper and troubles with the mobility and storage of those bulky binders. ePortfolio is much easier to store and submit to the VPAA Office. It can be shared with others across the institution for feedback and even collaborative work.

For students, they are able to save and upload their best works and showcase them for graduation. Students are even able to save their presentation and use it for their future in Grad School or job seeking opportunities.

Users are able to place many forms of media including: documents, images, videos, audio, and text. It is up to them to be creative and make it look nice.  There are some limitations in the themes, but the portfolios can look professional.

After doing many training sessions for students, I have seen a lot of good presentations and a few not so good ones. The students seem to enjoy making the presentation after they get adjusted with using the tools. I see using the ePortfolio engages students with using new technology. Students are so used to the standard papers and tests that they could easily not get excited. The presentation can show the students’ skills in a different way than tests and papers, and ePortfolio is something they can be proud of creating themselves. It allows the instructors to have a window looking into the students learning and seeing their progress and achievements. Instructors can see in this window and are able to give feedback on their learning to help them with future work. The students have the opportunity to be creative, think critically, and reflect upon the work they have done.

I think using ePortfolio just for a single class can be a great aspect. The ability for sharing and collaborating work would make it ideal for group presentations. My idea is using it as a final presentation for the whole semester experience. It could be filled with reflections, summaries, and pictures (for art classes and COR 103 classes.)

Some people may not know that ePortfoilio has the capability to make multiple presentations.

If you want to use ePortfolio for a class or are already using it for a major requirement, here is some advice to have more success and have high quality presentations from your students:

◦ Let the students know early on in their career or class about ePorfolio. They will want to make sure they are saving their works to add it later.

◦ Let them know your full expectation with the final result. I have seen some students lost and unaware of what they need to have in their presentation.

◦ Create assignments that will go well in an ePortfolio.

◦ Let them know that the ePortfolio is a professional tool and the text should be used in that manner. I have seen text used identical to a social media site. This would not be good if they were using it for a job search.

◦ Encourage them to be creative when they show their work off.

◦ Show them examples of other presentations to inspire them and see that it can be done.

◦ The last piece of advice is to get them trained. Schedule a demonstration time for ePortfolio. I am free to come to your class to show the students how to use the tools properly.

Here is a video that D2L made about ePortfolio:
YouTube Preview Image

If you personally want to learn more about ePortfolio or have training, feel free to schedule an appointment or stop by my office.


Communicating with Technology Natives

Jane F. Bell
Management professor

This summer, my husband and I are traveling to Europe for the first time. We are a bit anxious about our ability to communicate in a foreign country. But wait! I have experience with that. You see, I am a technology immigrant. I was not born into technology, unless you consider mimeograph machines, adding machines or hi-fi stereos as technology.

The challenge is that every day I’m communicating with technology natives. My students were born with TV remotes, video game joysticks, smart phones and fast computers at their fingertips.  One of the primary pathways of communication for college students is technology. Which means I’d better learn their language.

So how do we learn to communicate with these technology natives? The same way we learn a foreign language – observe, listen, read, learn, try, fail, try again and master.

I am fortunate to have four children in their 20s, and they are constantly challenging and teaching me new things. Every time I am with them, I watch them and ask them about what’s new in the world of technology. They are eager to share, and I’m willing to learn.

Their best nuggets of wisdom have been: “Mom, you have to play around with it” and “Just Google it.”  I have learned a lot from clicking around on links and, when in a pickle, putting my question into the Google box. It’s amazing how many answers are out there for the asking.

Here are some suggestions about using technology to communicate with the technology natives in your classroom:

Use D2L. Learn one new function each semester, but at least use the basics like keeping students’ grades up to date, communicating via group emails and posting important content. That will enable your students to take responsibility for finding the next test date or term sheets and knowing where they stand grade-wise.

Use visuals. When reviewing a schedule, making an announcement or reinforcing a key point, make power point slides. It just takes a few minutes to gather interesting graphics from the Internet. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Jump into the world of social media. OK, Facebook has been around and it’s losing favor with the younger generation. (They say Facebook is for “old people.”) Don’t delete your FB account just yet, but try something new like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or Vine. You don’t need to communicate directly with students, but you can keep your finger on the pulse of their world.

Incorporate video. Youtube is a great source of interesting videos that can add to your lecture. A short movie can add a little spice to your lecture and get the technology natives’ attention.

Experiment with apps. Try out the latest app for your smart phone or tablet. This week I got Viber, an app that let me text, for free, with my son who was overseas on a college trip.

Make virtual connections. Invite guests to speak to your class via Skype, Facetime or Gchat. It’s a great way to link students to those in the “real world.” Both students and speakers come away invigorated.

Other ideas: create a QR code that, when scanned, opens links to articles or websites. Design a meme or use one to communicate a point. I haven’t done this yet, but my son’s college professor posts short videos on Youtube explaining various subjects. Wonder if I can get something to go viral?

So, technology immigrants, and even you younger technology natives, get communicating using some of the wonderful tools available. Remember, it’s like learning a foreign language ­– observe, listen, read, learn, try, fail, try again and master. And when all else fails, ask for help from Rhonda, Mark, one of your students or anyone under the age of 20!



Desire2Collaborate: How can we learn from other D2L clients?

Posted Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 Tagged:

Online learning isn’t about using technology for its own sake. Rather, the technology is seen as a medium by which we can engage learners in new and creative ways. I know this ideal and truly believe it, but I also recognize that good technology surely can make e-learning more effective when applied in the right way and at the right time.

Thanks to our partnership with Desire2Learn as our learning platform, I recently had the privilege to hear from the University of Wisconsin about their award-winning instructional approach, U-Pace. The U-Pace approach is a prime example of using technology to improve learning online and lead to greater success academically. In this post, I am sharing resources to help you learn more about U-Pace and the Desire2Learn Community, wherein I was able to learn about this innovative approach. I hope to inspire some online instructors at Greenville College to consider the U-Pace approach, and perhaps apply it in their courses.

The University of Wisconsin U-Pace Approach

The webinar recording “Implementing an award-winning, technology-enabled instructional approach in your online program” linked below is provided courtesy of Desire2Learn.  The webinar explains how developers used a combination of D2L’s release conditions and repeatable quizzes along with instructor-initiated amplified assistance to improve student learning.

Webinar Recording (March 12, 2014)

U-Pace Website

U-Pace Whitepaper

University of Wisconsin System Case Study

Desire2Learn Community User Network:
Perhaps the best way to collaborate with other D2L clients

This site is a free resource available to all clients who are using Desire2Learn, giving everyone a direct way to collaborate with Desire2Learn and other colleges and universities. Every Greenville College instructor using Desire2Learn is highly encouraged to join the community.

What kinds of things can you do in the D2L Community? You can ask questions. Look for answers. Learn from what other schools are doing.  Post new ideas. Suggest product improvements. “Vote” on product ideas others have posted. Ideas with the most votes get the most attention from D2L developers!

To learn more, contact me. I’d be happy to collaborate with you!

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