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classrooms of the future




Addendum on 11/14/12:


The Teaching and Learning Spaces Working Group (TLSWG) endeavors to enhance teaching and learning at McGill by creating a vision for teaching and learning space development that is aligned with University strategic directions. Its mandate is to…

How ‘collaborative learning’ is transforming higher education — from by Jennifer Nastu
Technology is enabling more dynamic teaching and learning — both inside and outside of class


All this comes at a time when employers have higher expectations for recent college graduates, and colleges must make sure they’re giving their students the right skills to excel in a faster-paced world.

“Technology is enabling and also forcing students, in some ways, to become self-learners,” says Catheryn Cheal, vice president and senior officer of academic technology at San Jose State University. “They’re going to be expected to have a certain amount of learning initiative throughout their career, and that’s different than how it used to be.”

Students might enter college knowing how to seek out information, Cheal notes—“but we need to teach them to take it deeper … than just Googling.”

She adds: “Our job is to keep up with that, and to help students with that change. It used to be that you’d go to school, and all the information would be poured into you. Now, you get a job, but the software is changing every few years—and you better know how to keep up to date.”

As students come to expect more interactive forms of instruction, colleges are stepping up to meet this need.

When working with gifted students, build on their strengths with inductive learning -- from Ian Byrd

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Blogs: vastly underused teaching and learning tool — from Donald Clarke


Blogs are a potent and vastly underused teaching and learning tool. The habit of regular writing as a method of reflection, synthesis, argument and reinforcement is suited to the learning process. Blogs encourage bolder, independent, critical thinking, as opposed to mere note taking. For teachers they crystallise and amplify what you have to teach. For learners, they force you to really learn.

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Flipped classroom: The full picture for higher education — from by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.


The Flipped Classroom, as most know, has become quite the buzz in education.  Its use in higher education has been given a lot of press recently.  The purpose of this post is to:

  1. Provide background for this model of learning with a focus on its use in higher education.
  2. Identify some problems with its use and implementation that if not addressed, could become just a fading fad.
  3. Propose a model for implementation based on an experiential cycle of learning model.


From DSC:
The above posting includes a great video by Penn State TLT:



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My notes from Thursday, 10/11/12 Sloan-C presentation by Hayley Lake & Patrick Lordan from Eastern Washington University, US
The discussion board audit: How will I know what I think until I see what I say

Discussion boards / forums are great for:

  • Reading and using research to support viewpoints/perspectives
  • Writing
  • Deeper reflections
  • Communications
    • Need to get point across succinctly
    • Decide what’s important
    • Tailor language to audience
    • Be professional
  • Critical thinking
  • Student-to-student interactions – students can generate their own online community
  • Time management and study skills
  • Can be relevant to real world and draw upon students’ experiences
  • Bringing out the wall-flowers – they can come alive and really contribute in this manner
  • Thinking more meta-cognitively and growing in self-awareness

(Bearing in mind a class size of 24-30 students per class)
Except for first two weeks, did not answer each posting; instead, typically the professor looked for themes and provided a weekly recap. Straightened out any wrong understandings.

Characteristics of reflective learners

  • Curious
  • Open to criticism and different approaches
  • Honest
  • Motivated to improve

Used the idea of a Discussion board audit

  • For closure
  • For summative assessment
  • For deeper learning/reflection; richness, depth, self-evaluation
  • Based off Mark Samples’ (George Mason University) blog audit
  • Re-read all DB postings, mark them up, analyze own work; look for themes and ideas worth revisiting, assess own learning
  • Really helped students see how they had learned, changed, grown




Another discussion board related presentation was:
Cleaning Out the Crickets: Enhancing Faculty Presence in Online Instruction
John J. Oprandy, Ph.D., South University, College of Nursing and Public Health, Health Sciences Program Online; Savannah, GA, US

  • John presented an alternative approach to discussion board questions and assignments aimed at helping students think critically
  • Discussed the merits of this approach and how to execute it
  • DB’s targeted as one of the most important ways to teach a student online
  • In their model:
    • Professor:
      • Sets expectations up front on when going to respond and how going to respond – i.e. NOT going to respond to each person’s every posting
      • Responds to each student’s main post; students respond to 2 other students
      • Use open ended, carefully crafted questions; questions need to be more complex in nature
      • Offers substantive responses, leads/guides discussion, models good writing, offers timely responses
      • Summarizes info and adds something new
      • Asks probing follow up questions to guide the conversations/learning – “It’s like putting pieces of a puzzle together.”
      • Provides final wrap up
  • What NOT to do:
    • Provide short/trite responses, give away the answer, give feedback that better belongs in the gradebook
  • This approach requires daily interaction and participation
  • Rubrics important and must align with approach
  • Works best with smaller groups
  • Faculty liked it because they often had to think on their feet

Udemy rolls out new publishing platform to help teachers create quality online courses — from by Rip Empson


To do so, Udemy is [yesterday] introducing a new version of its course-creation platform geared specifically towards teachers. The platform aims to bring expert and novice educators alike greater control and ownership over their online content, helping them to organize and structure that content through a curriculum editor and a more robust toolset for managing and promoting their courses.

Having experimented with different approaches to the presentation and distribution of digital ed content, specifically in regard to their effect on learning outcomes, Udemy concluded that one of the most critical components — and oft-overlooked — is a well-structured curriculum. So, the startup rebuilt its curriculum editor, which now encourages teachers to build an outline as the first step in the course creation process.

Using the new curriculum editor, teachers can drag and drop lectures and sections to organize their content into a more structured course. On top of that, considering that many of Udemy’s teachers are in fact real world experts and not those well-versed in pedagogy, the startup has re-tooled its course creation process. Once they’ve outlined their course, they are served step-by-step guidelines and best practices that touch on everything from planning to promotion.



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Showcase: Examples of mobile technology used for teaching and learning — from by Daniel Fusch


With more students bringing smartphones and tablets to campus — and expecting to access information and course content via mobile devices — it continues to be urgent for faculty developers and instructional technologists to explore the affordances of these devices and the opportunities for using them to enhance teaching and learning. In our past article, “Piloting Mobile Learning,” we offered a review of how to pursue a pilot project effectively.

Today’s article offers a brief summary of the most critical affordances of mobile devices and a showcase of examples from Boise State University’s mLearning Scholars program. The program is part of the university’s Mobile Learning Initiative, “a multi-year project to identify and support key uses of mobile technology that will impact the ways we teach and learn,” and mLearning Scholars supports two cohorts of faculty in exploring these questions. One cohort consists of faculty making their first forays into mobile learning; the second cohort consists of faculty with some degree of fluency in mobile technologies, who are now addressing very targeted research questions.

We turned to Dale Pike, director of academic technologies at Boise State University and a lead thinker on the adoption of mobile technologies in the classroom. We asked Pike about the affordances he most wanted to direct attention to. He also offered several key examples from the mLearning Scholars program.

Best practices: 30 tips for creating quiz questions — from by Rebecca DeSantis, MSIT, Moodlerooms Instructional Designer


Assessments are critical because they allow teachers to evaluate how well students are doing in a course, and they help identify key areas in a course where improvements are needed. However, creating assessments in your courses isn’t always an easy task. In Moodle, teachers often use the Quiz and Assignment activities for assessing knowledge. They may also use Forum, Glossary, Database, Lesson, and Workshop activities. In today’s post, I’m providing 30 tips for writing Quiz questions.

How students can create their own e-textbooks on an iPad — from

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In July, Greg Kulowiec and I taught a workshop on Creating Digital Course Content. One of our participants, a high school math teacher, initially set out to create his own textbook. However, as we started exploring BookCreator, he realized that the real value may be in the students creating their own collection of books over the course of the year.

From DSC:
I like this idea of giving students more tools to create their own content.

When talking to an ed tech contact from Ohio at this summer’s Moodlemoot, he mentioned that in his 20 districts, there’s a new paradigm now — students are creating the content.

Perhaps this is the answer to the oft-asked question, “WHO will create and maintain the content?”

  • Publishers?
  • Teams of specialists within a school district, college, or university?
  • Teachers and faculty members? 
  • Or will it be the students themselves, guided by their teachers and faculty members?

A 40-minute crash course in design thinking  — from by Kyle VanHemert
Let this short film on designer and teacher Inge Druckrey open your eyes to the design details all around you.

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Kuers introduces What If Learning dot com



The site presents teaching examples—for both elementary and secondary classrooms—from a range of subjects: art, cooking, dance, technology, drama, English, environment, geography, history, technology, math, foreign/second language, music, physical education, health, Bible class and science. (There are also categories titled “teacher,” “tests” and “topics.”)

Each example leads off with a question: “What if a grammar lesson challenged selfishness?” “What if success in math depended upon forgiveness?” “What if history could inspire students to love their city?” The site also provides tabs labeled “The Approach,” “Training,” “Big Picture,” and “Information,” where teachers can learn how to apply what they’ve learned in their classrooms.

“The website helps teachers ask key questions and make strategic decisions, not only about what to teach but about how to teach,” said Matt Walhout, Calvin’s dean for research and scholarship. “It relates specific topics like language, history, and math to the overarching Christian principles of faith, hope, and love.”


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Using a wiki to promote collaboration and critical thinking — from Janine Lim


This post contains resources and links for my Andrews University Faculty Institute session titled Using a Wiki to Promote Collaboration and Critical Thinking.

Also see Janine’s and Alayne Thorpe’s work at:

Resources from Learning Objects


While on their website, be sure to see information concerning Campus Pack from Learning Objects:


Nine steps to quality online learning — from Tony Bates


Also see:

  • How [not] to Design an Online Course — from
    Moving a face-to-face credit course to an online environment is far more challenging than one might expect – as numerous experienced and esteemed professors have discovered. In this post learn vicariously through one professor’s experience of ‘what not to do’.


© 2021 | Daniel Christian