What is Digital Literacy? An Abridged Twitter Chat

On April 8th, @digpedlab hosted a Twitter chat about digital literacy. I participated and saw some great thoughts and conversations take place and I thought I’d try to make something that would let others see what I’ve seen and put out an invite for you to join in on future #digped tweetchats or the Digital Pedagogy Lab Summer Institute in Prince Edward Island this July.

If you’re not familiar with a tweetchat, it’s a largely synchronous but chaotic conversation that takes place on Twitter. Participants mark their messages with a tag, in this case #digped, to let others find and respond to their comments without having to have known or be following the person beforehand. When you include a tag in your tweet, it lets people who are searching that particular tag to see your tweet, they can also respond to that tweet as well.

This means that you might coordinate a conversation on Twitter with people you know, or people who regularly participate in a particular tag, but others may stumble across your conversation and be able to offer their own perspective and responses.

In the poster below are some highlights of the conversation made of little speech bubbles, the person who made the statement is identified by their twitterhandle or online pseudonym right beneath the speech bubble. Bubbles that are touching are responses to each other, whereas ones by themselves are replying to the overall question of the section.

What is Digital Literacy

If you’re interested in using Twitter, send an email to us at elearning@upei.ca

 

Getting the most from your Instructional Designers

Do you know who these cute faces belong to?

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We’re your friendly neighbourhood Instructional Designers! We work in the E-Learning Office and spend our days working with faculty, supporting the use of Moodle, developing resources, and (obviously) writing awesome blog posts.

We get really excited about helping you find new and exciting ways to deliver content, engage with your classes, and assess student learning. In the E-Learning Office, we get most excited about teaching with technology and spend most of our time supporting online courses. But we also work with faculty doing innovative things in face to face, blended, and hybrid courses.

But what, exactly, do we do? Good question. Every person we work with has different needs, but we can help with things including:

  • reviewing your course outline and offering feedback and suggestions;
  • discussing teaching methods and offering ideas for approaches to meet outcomes;
  • brainstorming and offering new ideas;
  • helping you sort through all those great ideas (see previous point) to find things that will work for you;
  • developing (or co-developing) assessments and instruments (e.g. rubrics, marking guides, grading schemes) for implementing assessment;
  • managing the course design (or re-design) process;
  • creating resources;
  • training on the use of Moodle, Blackboard Collaborate, Google Apps, and other tools;
  • supporting the use of Moodle in your courses (including content, activities, grading, reporting, etc.);
  • ensuring accessibility in your course content, activities, and assessments;
  • offering in-class (face to face or online) presentations, workshops, activities;
  • facilitating post-course debrief, self-assessment, and goal setting.

And much more!

As you can see, we are prepared to assist with any stage of course design or delivery. If you’re not quite sure what role we can play – get in touch with us! If nothing else, we can have a coffee and chat about your teaching. We’re very friendly.

So what can you expect when you start working with an instructional designer? And how can you make sure you are getting the most from us? Here are our top five tips for getting the most from your Instructional Designer.

Be honest.
It’s okay if you’ve never used Moodle before, but it’s important that we know that. It’s also okay if you are totally committed to a particular type of assessment or instructional method, but if we don’t know that we can’t help you find strategies that align with your philosophy and style. Every course will not look the same (nor should it!); it’s our job to learn about you and your students and find ways to meet your goals. You’re not going to like all of our ideas, and it’s okay to tell us that. We’re here to help you create something that you are proud of – honesty really is the best policy to get us there.

Stay in touch.
The people that have had the most success are those that book regular meetings, e-mail updates and questions, and attempt to touch base often. One of our favourite strategies is a standing meeting (every month, every other week, every week) to keep on track. This ensures that the project keeps moving forward with regular deadlines. As you get more comfortable with the tools and strategies you are using, your meetings will become more infrequent… but we still want to hear from you!

Do your homework.
Okay, maybe it’s not homework. But after a meeting or conversation, we will both leave with a list of things to do for your course. Maybe it’s research, reflecting, developing something, or writing questions for quiz banks. It’s really easy to push these things off, but please don’t! We want to alleviate some of the stress of designing your course, and regular communication and staying on top of the project will prevent us from falling behind.

Let us help you.
Often we will say that we can teach you to do something or do it for you (e.g. setting up your gradebook, importing quizzes). We mean it. There are a lot of things to learn. You don’t have to learn them all at once. We will share the work, and as you get comfortable and gain new skills you will discover you need us less. Which brings us to our next point…

Stay realistic!
You want to be the best, most amazing teacher ever. We get that. We’re also overachievers who don’t do anything halfway. But it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t have to completely re-design your course in one semester, but a few intentional changes every year will shape your courses into something you (and your students) will enjoy.

We are very excited to work with you and help you discover some new teaching strategies. Please get in touch with our office to discuss how we can support you! There are lots of different ways to get in touch with us: e-mail, twitter, or visit us in the Office of Skills Development and Learning. You can also check us out on our new Pinterest page, where we pin things that we think are cool and interesting – check back often for new resources.

Stay tuned to this blog, where we post new content every Thursday! If you have ideas for future blog posts, let us know!

Video Lighting Tips

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This week we have another installation for our video production blog posts. So far we have covered video basics and a more in depth look at audio. Now let’s think about visuals, specifically lighting which you probably already noticed from the title. This is one of those things that isn’t the be-all and end-all of a video but if you put a little thought into your lighting it can definitely increase the quality. Let’s not make this too complicated and stick to some easier concepts to give you a beginners guide to lighting.

Unless you have lighting equipment available to you, natural light will be your best friend. Become aware of the lighting throughout the day if your recording room has a window. If you are relying solely on natural light this may predict what time of day is best for you to record.

This brings us into the different types of light that works best for video. Other than the fact that you might get incredibly warm there are many reasons why it is important not to use direct lighting. I’m not sure if I have to explain some of these reasons such as not being able to see and causing some funny faces. Direct lighting can cause very harsh shadows on a subject and is in general unflattering to most.

Now that we have determined that you should avoid direct lighting as much as possible I’m going to introduce diffused lighting. This is exactly what you want to aim for. Diffused light can be achieved by creating a barrier between the subject and the direct light source. This barrier should still allow light to come through but it will take away those harsh shadows. The easiest diffused lighting comes from an overcast day. We aren’t always that lucky so it can be created by moving into a shaded area or hanging a white sheet in front of a sunny window.

The principles of direct and diffused light are the same when it comes to artificial lighting as well. This is why you may have seen soft boxes or umbrellas used by photographers. Direct vs. diffused light is important but not the only things you have to think about when lighting your video. The direction of these lights can make a huge difference. It is recommended that the key light, which is the brightest light source, should be facing the front of the subject. If the key light is facing the back of the subject the camera might have problems with exposure and lens flare. The video could look too dark or hazy due to the direction of the light source and the angle of a camera lens.

In the end it is always best to try different lighting styles and see what works for you. Video production is a process and this is just another thing to think about!

Here is a short video to give you examples of direct, diffused and backlighting which we covered in today’s post.

If you have any questions about making an audio or video project send us an email at elearning@upei.ca!

 

What are Learning Outcomes?

By the end of this blog post, you will be able to:

  • Explain the difference between General Learning Outcomes and Specific Learning Outcomes
  • Compose General Learning Outcomes
  • Compose Specific Learning Outcomes using your General Learning Outcomes

An outcome is a statement that tells students what you expect them to achieve or be able to demonstrate by the end of the course. You can present your outcomes in your course syllabus or as a separate resource. And there are a lot of benefits to taking the time to provide your course outcomes:5 Ways Outcomes Can Benefit Your Course

So how do you write an outcome?

If you’ve decided that you want to try providing course outcomes, the first thing you should check is whether your department has already prepared Program Outcomes. Program Outcomes can provide a great starting place for you, and could also be provided with the outcomes for your course.

For this blog post, we’ll stick to two types of learning outcomes: General Learning Outcomes and Specific Learning Outcomes.

Like the name implies, General Learning Outcomes are going to be broad statements about the expected outcomes of your course. They’re are almost how you might answer someone you meet in a hall, “Why should I take this course?”. Your answer would likely summarize the core goals of your course without getting into too much detail of the topics or assessments.

Some examples of General Learning Outcomes would be “By the end of this course you will be able to: “Identify key historical events that have shaped modern Istanbul”, or “Describe the process of DNA replication”.

As you might expect, Specific Learning Outcomes are more specific. They should be written in ways that are assessable. These statements help students identify the expectations of how they’ll have to demonstrate their learning. The Special Learning Outcomes are the measurable pieces that make up the larger General Learning Outcomes.

Specific Learning Outcomes are usually structured to be short statements that have a single descriptive verb. Some examples of specific learning outcomes would be “You will be expected to: arrange the elements in order of electronegativity”, or “compose lines of poetry in iambic pentameter.”

One tool that can help you write your outcomes is Bloom’s Taxonomy. Bloom’s Taxonomy can help you identify which type of learning you’re trying to facilitate and can recommend some of the verbs that work well in a representative outcome.

Here’s a table from the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission guide to writing outcomes that provides some verbs that go with the categories of learning in Bloom’s model.

Categories

Content Verbs for Specific Learning Outcomes

KNOWLEDGE

Facts, places, information, objects, events, characteristics, vocabulary

Arrange, define, duplicate, know, label, list, match, memorize, name, order, quote, recognize, recall, repeat

COMPREHENSION

Words, sentences, ideas, definitions, meanings, new examples, relationships, aspects, consequences

Characterize, classify, complete, depict, describe, discuss, establish, explain, express, identify, illustrate, locate, recognize, report, relate, review, sort, translate

APPLICATION

New situations, problems, difficulties, situations

Administer, apply, calculate, choose, compute, conduct, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, implement, interpret, operate, perform, practice, prescribe, sketch, solve

ANALYSIS

Causes, effects, principles, connections, events, conducts, devices, parts, instruments, errors, fallacies, facts, hypotheses and arguments

analyze, appraise, categorize, compare, contrast, critique, diagram, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, detect, examine, experiment, explore, explain, inventory, investigate, question research, test

SYNTHESIS

Undertakings, writings, narrations, descriptions, colours, shapes, stories, theories, structures, models, discoveries

Combine, compose, consolidate, construct, create, design, formulate, hypothesize, integrate, merge, organize, plan, propose, synthesize, systematize, theorize, unite, write

EVALUATION

Advantages, disadvantages, decisions, similarities, difficulties, agreements, disagreements, strengths, weaknesses

Appraise, argue, assess, critique, defend, distinguish, envision, estimate, examine, grade, inspect, judge, justify, rank, rate, review, value, validate

This table isn’t comprehensive, but is one tool that you can use for writing outcomes. There’s also an app that you can use to help you write your outcomes is the Objectives Builder by James Basore.

If you have any questions about writing or presenting the outcomes in your course, feel free to contact us.

Happy exams!

Here in the Office of Skills Development and Learning, we love students. So to celebrate our wonderful students at the end of the semester, here are some of our top tips for a successful exam period.

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Don’t cram up until the last minute…put your notes away at least an hour before your exam time and do something
fun or relaxing.
– Voilet Vadjina, Career Practitioner


Jason quote

“If the exam covers old material that’s been on quizzes or midterms, instead of reviewing them try re-doing them to help you prepare. Best of luck!”
– Jason Hogan, E-Learning Instructional Designer


Karen quote

“Anxiety is contagious so avoid other students who are overly nervous or negative on exam day. Try to stay relaxed by thinking positive thoughts!”
– Karen Dempsey, Manager,
Career & Adult Learner Services


beth quote“Do your best, but always remember that the grade you get on an exam is not who you are. You are unlimited!”
– Beth Janzen, Administrative Support


megan quote

“Don’t overdo it on coffee! Your brain needs good food to make it through exams. Drink water and eat well!”
– Megan MacKenzie, E-Learning Instructional Designer


ernie quote“Get adequate sleep! Try to stay calm! Read exam questions very very carefully! Tell them everything you know!”
– Ernie Doiron, Co-operative Education Coordinator


kristy quote“Get fresh air! If you’re feeling stressed get outside and go for a walk. This will give you a chance to clear your mind and when you get back to studying you will be ready to focus!”
– Kristy McKinney, E-Learning Multimedia Specialist


jennifer quote“Exams can be a stressful time for everyone so remember to take time out for yourself, relax, and breathe.”
– Jennifer Hogan, Business Development and Education Program Manager


From all of us to you, good luck on your exams and have a wonderful summer!

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