Brief Fall Update from Rhonda!

Hi All;  I hope your Fall semester has been off to a great start and that midterms are behind you!  I was just checking in to see if I could access some of these great communication/community-building tools we have as TFs and discovered that I had forgotten all my passwords *UAA Commons, Credly, EWolf, Twitter*-perhaps all of you have been similarly otherwise occupied?…:)

I thought I would share a brief update.  Earlier this month, I  (with fellow Fellow) completed the 2015 Advanced Online Teaching Certificate Program-July Cohort and got a shiny certificate.OLC Certificate

(I cleverly posted it upside down to make it more interesting to view!…I continue to have difficulty editing direction of images on this blog and welcome all advice!)

I wish you all well and look forward to your updates, too!


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How to use Pecha Kucha in your face to face or online courses

Pecha Kucha : “PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.”

The time used is about 7 minutes for the presentation. Thoughts I had for this format, was tuse the tools as a review of the lecture of module in the course.

At the end of the class, or module, you can have the students review a pecha kucha, in which the images are the images used in the lecture or module of the day. its a way to generate the ideas of the student, and allow the student to recall the content in a very quick format.  How much of the information they retained will be good to measure, and can help to identify gaps in teaching.…

My thoughts of this was a simple: While i enjoy the thought of using the pecha kucha, I think that may be a bitt too long for a,”rapid review.”

I noticed Powerpoint has a feature that advances the slides automatically, I thought that I would create a slideshow presentation that was 10 slides in length,  and allows for a group of students to present the materials at the end of the class.

This end of class activity willl be called: “Rapid Review”

Will see how this allows students to retain the material, and how they work with the review or the images.  This also allows me to understnd and identify gaps in the content, that can used to help improve the course, content and concepts being used in the course.



iTeach: Legal Beagle: Accessibility changes

My thoughts on teaching using accessibility tools to make the syllabus and guided notes in an accessible format. This is going to add to prep time, and collaboration with my fellow professors that I co-teach with. The course is open one to two weeks before the course begins, the syllabus will need to be completed before, so the accessibility will have to be done ahead of time, in order to run the documents through the accessibility tools on adobe pro…..
We generally meet at the end of the semester, so we will have to make plans with dates so that the materials that are going to be posted are accessible to our students.
This need to be organized with time, can be a driving force to stay on target, work collaboratively and be ready for the the next semester.
The BS program runs all year long, so this will be an exercise in timing and coordination…

Parallel Play!

This is just one example of Tech Fellows demonstrating ‘parallel play’ aspects of teamwork: an opportunity to apply individually some tools/techniques/approaches that we have all been learning together.   Not sure why the pic is posting sideways; if anyone knows how to correct that (I don’t see an edit option here, and it was not flipped in the original file), please feel free to share.  Thanks!

Last day Tech Fellow intensive---Parallel Play!

Last day Tech Fellow intensive—Parallel Play!

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A Story Snippet about Me

Last year I had a surprise entry in my life story….I woke up ‘winded’ one day after a particularly stressful day and sleepless night before. By the end of the day, I was in the ICU awaiting emergency cardiac surgery, and about two weeks later, I was home in recovery with a new identity as ‘cardiac patient’ and lucky survivor.  Almost dying provided remarkable focus and unexpected opportunities for thoughtful reflection, and my slow return to good health over the past year or so has been a powerful journey. I always knew  every day is a gift, but now I know it in a new and very meaningful way.  Taking more time to do the things I enjoy (like teaching and learning) is a renewed priority to me.  The Tech Fellowship is part of that.

Creating origami in groups online

Team Lego

How to make origami in groups in the classroom is hard enough, but how do we turn it into an online group activity? Change the instructions! Make someone write instructions, have the next person try to follow them, video the attempt and provide feedback.

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Using VT to Increase Engagement and Community

Voicethread (VT) is a great tool to build community in F2F, online, and blended courses. Here are a few tips for incorporating VT into your courses:

  1. Use VT, instead of the Discussion Board, to do course introductions. If you ask your students to answer specific questions in the introduction, it allows them to see each other and learn a bit about their peers in a fun way. You can also require them to welcome and say hi to a certain number of students to further community building.
  2. Students can submit assignments, ranging from digital stories to documents/papers, to VT for comments by both their peers and the instructor.
  3. VT can be used to check for student understanding using 3-2-1 (3 things you learned, 2 things it reinforced, 1 question you still have) or K-W-L (What do you Know? What do you Want to know? What did you Learn?) strategies. After students complete readings, have them post these to a course VT you build for the week – this allows you to check for understanding and find out where they still have gaps and modify your content accordingly.
  4. You can use multiple VT screens to create a case study. Additional information can be presented on each slide, students can be asked to comment on their thoughts and how they’ve changed based on the new information, etc. The final slide asks them to share their conclusions from the activity.
  5. Consider asking students to complete a video reflection in VT at the end of the semester about the big picture things they have learned. Through reflecting on the semester and hearing/commenting on the reflections of others, you solidify their learning for the course.

NOTE: On all of these, it’s a great idea to create a rubric and set expectations for the time limit of the post. While it’s great to share and hear thoughts, it’s important students not spend 10 minutes when you expected two.

These ideas represent a few strategies I share with faculty but there are many other ways you can use VT. If you have a great tip for using it in your course, please share in the comments below!

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A bit about my story

I find myself inspired by the professors and what projects they are working on and the successes and struggles they are facing.

As a librarian, I am not a traditional teacher, but in my role at the library, I supervise and mentor up to 15 student workers at a time. In this capacity, I am responsible for making sure that they learn and perform at a very high level of detail. The axiom in this library is that a misshelved book is a lost book. Training and leading students to perform all of the other tasks takes time and energy to create and reinforce.


A breath of fresh air (work/life balance)


A short story about me

I am the first person in my extended family to earn a college degree. I grew up in a blue collar environment where my father, his brothers, and my grandfather were all plumbers. Needless to say, I have some mad plumbing skills that really come in handy now that I own a home. College for me, initially, was just more school and just another reason to put off entering the real world. It wasn’t until my father (ie. my hero) was killed in a tragic accident that I began doing some real soul searching as to what I wanted to do with my life. Bottom line, without my father to fall back on, my heavenly father, my teachers and mentors in college became my rudder and my sails to set me on a course for success. Three degrees later, I am happy to say that being in a position to influence people’s lives and education on a daily basis is an incredibly rewarding experience. In the words of Garth, “I will sail my vessel ’till the river runs dry”.

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