The Central Support Team at FITS offers one-on-one appointments for faculty and staff as a D2L training option. We offer face-to-face appointments and online appointments where we meet faculty and staff via Zoom, a video conferencing platform. These 30-minute or 60-minute appointments are booked online, via the FITS website.
The Central Team has been offering one-on-one appointments since I started at FITS a few years ago, and the process of managing these appointments—especially as the Central Team grows, and we bring in graduate assistants to help out with the appointments—is something we are frequently revising and hoping to streamline.
As a part of that constant revision, we adopted a new online booking system, 10to8, about a year ago. I want to briefly review that system for you, and explain our motivations for choosing it in the first place. Then I’ll share some other (hopefully) helpful tidbits we have learned along the way. (Unfortunately, some were learned the hard way.)
In 2017, consumers were frequently on the receiving end of bad news: Wells Fargo continued to grapple with the fallout from fake accounts. Equifax compromised data. Apple slowed down phones.
And to kick off 2018, there are vulnerabilities in computer chips that will affect “almost all computers, servers, cloud operating systems, and cellphones made in the past two decades.” Disheartening, no?
I’ve been thinking about the nomenclature employed in this case. Calling the two vulnerabilities “Spectre” and “Meltdown” accomplishes a couple things. Taken together, the names seem appropriately technology-adjacent, but I was most interested in Spectre, which evokes something elusive, ghostlike, and therefore understandably difficult to detect—which explains how the vulnerability went undiscovered for more than 20 years.
Go to any online learning conference and you’re sure to hear concern about universities being sued for web accessibility issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Making your course site accessible can feel overwhelming, but let’s take a look at a few ways you can make some progress.
At FITS, we have a number of strategies that we like to recommend to help keep students organized and on task:
- Use the “Completion Tracking” feature in the D2L Content tool so students can check off items as they complete them.
- Set due dates that will be pushed to the calendar tool and encourage students to subscribe to their calendar so that it syncs to whatever personal calendar they use.
- Use use the News tool to send updates and, again, encourage students to subscribe so they get updates via email.
But there’s a danger in all these strategies. If you don’t fully commit to them they can backfire spectacularly, and rather than help keep students on task, only create confusion about what they’re supposed to do.
Have you ever had a million and one things to do and so you write reminders to yourself—preferably on sticky notes—so that you won’t forget? Have you ever opened up your emails and wanted to scream because you were being asked to execute so many tasks? Have you ever just decided to step away from a certain situation because the information was so overwhelming and you needed to collect your thoughts?
Well, if you have answered yes to any of these questions, then you will find this post very useful. Continue reading
DePaul’s School for New Learning has an annual initiative called the Month of Writing (MOW) every October. The initiative is loosely based on National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and challenges the school’s students, faculty, and staff to write as many words as possible during the month.
This year I worked with a faculty member developing an online course designed to coincide with the MOW, where one course objective is to complete 25,000 words of a designated writing project by the end of the five week course. The emphasis here is on the writing process—on quantity over quality—to get students over the idea that every piece of writing must be perfect, and just start writing.
This year, I missed shopping for school supplies.
(If you’re a parent, you can stop reading here. I get it. The journey to procure the specific list of items denoted by your child’s teacher seems horrific. A colleague was just telling me about how her child’s school decided to go to a color-coding system, where each student needs to have a specifically colored folder for each subject [orange for Social Studies, blue for Math, etc.], along with other color-coded items. This sounds miserable. This is not the experience I was feeling fun heart flutters about.)
When I was a high-school teacher, shopping for school supplies was the exciting part of back-to-school time; you know, before the panic-inducing part where you have to think about an entire year’s worth of curriculum that you need to plan. School supply shopping was also a space to see what new, unblemished organizational items I could use in my classroom.
In an effort to recapture that feeling, I went to one of the traditional office supply chains to see what new “technologies” they’re peddling (because, of course, even the pencil is technically a technology). My findings:
If you’re like the majority of the world, multitasking is part of your daily routine. From managing personal to professional tasks, keeping it all together in your brain can be a bit overwhelming.
Thankfully, there are a number of tools, from easy to use smartphone apps to more complex software, that exist to help manage it all.
Whether you’re looking for a tool to individually track tasks, or you work with one or more people and need to manage and track a series of tasks, choosing the right process and solution doesn’t have to stressful. The following are some general tips to consider as you broach the subject.
A couple of weeks ago, while traveling with a team of athletes from around the Midwest (all of whom are students at different D2L institutions) I had the opportunity to talk a little with them about what frustrates them with D2L. To be fair, one was my own kid and managing our D2L instance is my job, but it seemed like a good opportunity to get some student feedback.
What was interesting about their responses was that in all but one exception (the one exception being the discussion board) the feedback they gave me had less to do with the Learning Management System itself and more to do with things the instructor does with the system. I thought I would share with you their observations and some best practices. Below are their top three complaints and what you can do to alleviate some of the issues.
In 2008, DePaul adopted QualityMatters (QM) as the quality standard for online and hybrid courses developed through the DePaul Online Teaching Series (DOTS) program. During the past eight years, nearly two hundred courses have been through the QM internal review process at DePaul. Since 2011 when the first instructor was rewarded with a QM star for developing a course that met all of the QM standards, the number of QM star recipients has increased drastically. These days, becoming a QM star has become a common expectation of all faculty participants of DOTS.
As designers, we are pleased by the numbers and the feeling of “getting a hang of QM”; on the other hand, we ask whether this is the place where we want to be – because that pounding question remains loud and sound: Does QM guarantee a successful learning experience for students?