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Course Technology: Learn More
Technology provides different opportunities to make learning more fun and enjoyable in terms of teaching same things in new ways. Technology can encourage a more active participation in the learning process which can be hard to achieve through a traditional lecture environment.
Purpose: The purpose of the Course Technology module is to help you to develop the skills necessary to choose technology that supports your course learning objectives and promotes learner engagement and active learning.
The information presented in this topic will assist you in meeting the following objectives:
- Develop an online course that incorporates eight general standards for quality online teaching.
- Build an online course in the Brightspace learning management system
- Design an online course specifically for the education of XULA students.
- Select course technology that supports your learning objectives.
- Select course technology that promotes learner engagement and active learning.
- Select course technology that adheres to local, institutional, or personal policies/standards for protecting the collection and use of student personal data.
- Identify effective ways to design your Brightspace course using a variety of technology.
Choose Technology with Intention
Selecting the appropriate course technology is an important part of the design and set up of your online/hybrid courses. You should be intentional about the technology you choose to use in your course. The technology used in the course should be aligned with the course learning objectives, accessible to students, and students can expect a high quality experience using the technology.
You don't have to use a lot of complicated online tools to provide opportunities for meaningful active learning and student engagement. You can provide meaningful interaction with basic tools as long as they are well-structured and clearly support students in reaching learning outcomes.
Consider the Experience
While there are arguments to be made in favor of some tools over others, it is more effective to first consider the experience you are trying to create for the student.
- What do you want the student to know and be able to do at the end of this activity?
- What is an appropriate and logical way to provide the student with an opportunity to practice this?
- In what ways can you add dynamic elements to the experience?
Consider leveraging the tools built into Brightspace as well as the third-party tools that are integrated into our Brightspace system such as:
- Video Assignments
- Private Discussions for Journaling
- Video Notes
- Grade Book
- Activity Feed
- Release Conditions
- Intelligent Agents
- Awards (badges/certificates)
- User/Class Progress
- Brightspace Virtual Classroom
- VoiceThread Integration
- Turnitin Integration
- Respondus LockDown Browser Integration
- Respondus Monitor Integration
- Zoom Web Conferencing Integration
- Google Apps Integration
Brightspace how-to documents that explain each tool are available. Additionally, you can use the information in this "Which Tool Should I Use?" blog post to help you decide which course tools would best fit your needs.
A great student learning experience can be designed within a simple environment and there is something to be said for not over-thinking or over-developing.
Other Interactive Tools
If you find that the Brightspace tools in our system are not sufficient to create a robust active learning experience for your students, you can explore third-party tools. When considering adding tools, please remember that while bells and whistles can deliver a better learning experience, they don’t automatically deliver a better learning experience. Always ask yourself, how is this tool supporting the student's learning experience?
As you consider other interactive tools, don’t forget about accessibility. The University of Massachusetts Amherst created the Online Tools for Teaching & Learning website to evaluate the accessibility of digital tools.
What About Social Media Services?
Social media services such as Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, etc. provide a wide array of tools that faculty can leverage for student activities and interactions. However, before you incorporate social media into your course, there are some things you need to consider.
- Are you prepared to support students if they have technology issues?
- If you want students to post publicly as part of an assignment, do you have a way for them to post under an alias or anonymously if they prefer? FERPA rules govern the release of student information to third parties, which include social media sites. For more information, see Is Your Use of Social Media FERPA Compliant?
- Copyright and intellectual property policies may also need to be considered depending on the content of the assignment.
Finding Images to Use in Your Courses
Often instructors are looking for images to use in their courses because images can liven up the course and help students understand the course material. If you are looking for free images to use in your courses, read my "Find Free Images to Use in Your Courses" blog post.
Creative Commons (CC) Resources
Whether you are looking for the perfect image to use in your course or looking for the right sound for a video, it is important to get permission, and more importantly, the right kind of permission to use works created by others. It doesn’t matter if you want to use audio, video, images, icons, etc. Whatever the media type, you need to have rights to use the material legally.
We've created this Creative Commons (CC) Resource to explain what Creative Commons is and to guide you in the proper use of Creative Commons licensed works. Also, the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning at University of Illinois developed this Copyright in Online Courses resource that you may find helpful.
Data and Privacy
As you evaluate course tools you must be mindful that security and privacy issues are important. Is the technology secure or can it be ‘hacked’? Is student information protected? Is the data stored on a secure server and is it backed up in case of an emergency?
Course tools licensed through our Information Technology Center (ITC) have been properly vetted. Their data and privacy policies are deemed acceptable for use at our institution.
At Xavier, instructors may use online websites/tools to incorporate into their online or physical classroom. These sites may collect user data, such as the creation of a username and password.
Refer to the FERPA|Sherpa For Higher Education Institutions for additional information on data and privacy.
Providing Help and Support to Students
Don't assume all students who take an online course are tech savvy. This assumption is incorrect as explained in this "Students Say They Are Not as Tech Savvy as Educators Assume" blog post.
It is important that your instructions be clear and should explain what the students need to do in case of technology issues.
NOTE: The Learner Support module has information to assist you with providing students with links to Brightspace help and ITC technical support. Refer to the Accessibility and Usability module for information on the importance of accessibility and how to make your course materials accessible.
Except where otherwise noted, this work, "#LearnEverywhereXULA", by CAT+FD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License and is adapted from IU Teaching Online used under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.