Updated for 26 March: Tinkering with Tools

Update for 26 March – Session #3

From those notes you developed in originally reviewing a Cultivating Change chapter, please add a short Comment to this post in order to share two things you developed for the original prompt:

  1. Why is this tool / approach interesting to you in light of your own teaching / learning situation?
  2. What two questions related to learning, teaching, usability do you have about the tool / approach?

The basics

  1. Review the 50 ideas about using technology to support learning and teaching that collected together in Cultivating Change in the Academy, which Bill Rozaitis referenced in his presentation during Session #1.  (The links to this resource are at the end of this post.)
  2. Select one chapter that presents a” teaching and learning with technology” idea that you’d like to consider for a course you do or will teach.
  3. Bring a set of notes that address: Why is this tool / approach interesting to you?  How could you adapt the idea presented to your own teaching / learning situation?  What two questions related to learning, teaching, usability do you have about the tool / approach?
  4. Finally, bring those ideas – and your notes – with you to class.

The resource

Duin, A. , Nater, E. & Anklesaria, F. (Eds.).  Cultivating Change in the Academy: 50+ Stories from the Digital Frontlines at the University of Minnesota (2012). This home page gives you several options for accessing content.  I’ve listed below a couple of direct links other readers have found helpful for starting to navigate this ebook.

  • Table of Contents – There are four sections to this book with 8-12 articles under each heading.  You’ll recognize each new entry by seeing blue typeface for an article title with the authors’ names underneath in black.  The blue title serves as the hyperlink to the specific article, and will take you to a page where you can read and/or download the chapter you’ve selected.
  • Video Previews – Not all of the authors were taped at the daylong showcase of this work, and the video segments provide only a glimpse of the ways teachers and students worked with a particular tool or assignment or approach.  They do provide a good overview.  Notice that the link takes you to the last of several video preview pages – then look at the bottom of your browser page to find the “Older Posts” link to take you forward in the line up and see more previews.

To return to the “Sandbox” Exercise Starting Page, click here.



  1. “CEHD iPad Project: Learning Anywhere, Anytime”

    Interest of tools for teaching purposes:

    -All electronic reading and assignments that could be accessed on computers or tablets
    -Lab quizzes – look at either real or electronic images and answer questions online
    -Use electronic field guide to ID animals
    -Record field data electronically (no need for data sheet)
    -Add notes to PDF documents and lecture slides to guide learning of new topic
    -Present slides using visually pleasing slide-making apps (like haiku)
    -Take iPad into “the field” to show students related information (look at insect feeding on plant and talk about insect digestion using diagram of digestive system)
    -Allow students to present assignments in “the field” (presentation on ecology research at sample area, like stream or forest, increase engagement)


    1. Would you need to provide an iPad with preloaded applications downloaded to each student to be able to standardize this technology in your classroom?

    2. How do you decrease usage of distracting and non-relevant apps, like games and Facebook?

  2. https://cultivatingchange.wp.d.umn.edu/supporting-the-technical-requirements/

    Cultivating Change in the Academy

    This tool caught my attention due to its reference to the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA). The students I teach will be preparing their TPA in the semester following my class, and I wonder how I can adapt pedagogical strategies to form a better match with TPA expectations.
    The TPA is an assessment of teacher candidates’ readiness to teach, and is an intensive, rigorous process that teacher candidates must successfully complete. As part of this process, preservice teachers analyze videos of their classroom performance. This article describes a method of using iPads in support of this process. The teachers use iPads to video record their teaching, then follow preloaded prompts to upload the video to the TPA website. What I really like about this process is how it eases the technology knowledge piece, enabling a more direct focus on the learning task rather than technical difficulties.

    One question I have refers to how well preservice teachers take up the use of the iPad for this task? Are they able to follow the directions given, and does the goal of easing tech issues really work when in practice, or only in theory? In other words: Does the technology enhance and extend leaning?

    A second question is how can I adapt an observation task in my class to better prepare preservice teachers for this assignment? If the task is deconstructed, in what areas can I provide support and build self-efficacy in these preservice teachers?

    • This Ipad Tool Kit seems to be very useful. All technology takes time to learn. It is an investment that we make and this one seems well worth it. Students and Teachers can go to one place to get their information and the information is interactive, not at all one dimensional. I am sure if the file is too large to share than that could be a problem, but the overall concept can go a long way in engaging students to put their best foot forward, since they will be accountable to one another and they use higher learning thinking that makes them investigate their own answers. I like this tool and how it engages the student and the teacher.

  3. “Digital Technology for Feminist Pedagogy: A Useful Method for Learning Key Concepts in a Changing Academic Landscape” by Bashore and Desai

    The first thing that interests me about this tool is that I see parallels between the challenges to integrating technology into feminist studies and those facing my own fields, political theory and political history. Since my teaching is humanistic and historical in nature, I find using technology to teach classes focused on theoretical and conceptual issues difficult. Furthermore, I sympathize with the challenges of interdisciplinary teaching, in which students coming from different disciplines often lack the basic foundational knowledge of a specific field of study.

    I especially like the idea of using multi-media tools in the individual course modules. Although I predominantly teach through historical approaches, I am continually encouraging my students to think about the relationship between the past and the present. Having modules that explicitly encourage this sort of thinking (by integrating visual and audio materials related to current events into the modules) might provide a nice way for students to link issues in the history of political thought with contemporary issues, bringing our understandings of the past to bear on the present.

    How can I create my own modules? Are there templates or procedures for creating these course modules? Is it possible to create the modules in Moodle and link the modules to Moodle’s discussion board features to encourage interactive and group learning online?

  4. Use of Screen Capture Technology – Camtasia Relay
    The approach is interesting to me because:
    • It is good for a large class (I’m involved in teaching a large class);
    • Creates creativity in both instructor and students;
    • It promotes healthy competition between groups and among group members;
    • It provides the opportunity of learning the technology and how to apply it in a teaching/learning situation;
    • It promotes active participation and sustains the interest of learners (students are highly engaged in the process;
    • It encourages students to learn how to teach – good for teacher preparatory programs;
    • Students learn best when they are challenged and ownership is encouraged;
    • Encourages teamwork that is indispensible in the world of work;
    • Students’ projects could be uploaded in the YouTube and made available to learners worldwide.

    (1) How available and complex is this technology?
    (2) How do we minimize the chances of students getting more exited or spending most of their time with technicalities involve in the use of the technology to the detriment of the course contents?

  5. “Synchronous online teaching as a component of a fully online course” — Helen Mongan-Rallis

    I found “Adobe Connection” very interesting, which I would like to use for my future classes. It’s a great tool to facilitate synchronous online teaching and learning, especially overcoming the limitation of Moodle site’s lack of feature of synchronous teaching. I appreciated Helen’s suggestions on synchronous teaching online. I am particularly interested in this tool/approach is that the synchronous teaching also allows students to actively engage with each other, ask private questions, and affordance and flexibility of using technology. As Helen advised, I, as the online instructor, will need to practice and practice ahead of time to prepare myself for the teaching process and relevant materials to be ready for students.

    It was a good learning experience of reading this chapter. But since I’ve never used Adobe Connection to teach before, my remaining questions about Adobe Connection will be:
    (1) How many students maximize would be a synchrnous class allowed for Adobe Connection to maintain the quality of teaching and learning experience? Since I will be facilitating a class/lecture for a large number of students, maybe over hundreds, I am not quite sure how to facilitate small group disucssions or activities or relevant learning activities effectively on the online site.
    (2) Considering students’ motivation and retention to the synchronous learning environment, I am concerned with how to maintain and enhance student or participant’s motivation to be cognitively and socially present in the learning environment; and how to assess the learning outcomes.

    I am extremely interested in bringing synchronous leanring and teaching to my classes, but not realy have prior experiences in this. Look forward to hearing about other colleagues’ feedback opinions, if you are also interested synchronous online teaching.


  6. I find podcasts to be interesting as potential teaching tools because they allow for on-the-go learning. They also provide the potential to involve students in production of course material and instruction of class, and they seem well-suited for covering qualitative “background” or context information.

    My two questions:

    How much time would it take for me to learn to use these?

    If I went the route of having the students prepare the podcasts, would there be enough time in the semester (or topics in the syllabus) for each student to participate in the production of at least one podcast?

  7. HI-
    I found the “Moodle, Ladders, Flipped Classrooms, and Change Up” article really interesting. I was drawn the idea of repurposing lectures as “Companion Reading Guides” for content heavy courses. I was looking at this from the perspective of developing a shared weekly summary of the course as overseen by the instructor, developed by the students. I was thinking in terms of having the students small groups provide a 15′ re-cap the following Monday class.

    In year 2 of using this type of a technique, the year 1 weekly summaries could be developed into more of a “Companion Reading Guide” that targeted key take-aways, emphasized synthesis and clinical application. Moodle could be used for lab prep quiz questions (3-5 ?’s) for students to do a self-check on their readiness for labs. Then in the context of the lab, team based learning could be used to solve clinical cases with a group summary as the end product.

    Questions that I have include:
    1. How do you convert a semester long course in to a new(er) format like this? (Are there recommended stages to take over the course of X years?).
    2. How do you harness and keep learner excitement?
    3. What elements of traditional assignments/classroom structure do you phase out as you add pieces/expectations like this in?


  8. I found the chapter on synchronous online teaching by Helen Mongan-Rallis very interesting and certainly useful for my own teaching. Apart from its usefulness in a long term perspective – distance learning/teaching is becoming more and more widespread – I would like to incorporate some of the elements of Helen Mongan-Rallis’ approach, including her use of specific tools, in my own teaching next semester. I am assigned to teach a course which I already taught twice in a classroom setting. However, I will be on the job market next fall, which means that (hopefully) I will travel for the interviews. Additionally, I have a couple of conferences that I need to attend in the fall. I see synchronous online teaching as a good alternative to cancelling classes. In addition to this rather pragmatic take (although technology is just a tool after all, so maybe a pragmatic approach to its use is in fact the right one) synchronous online teaching/learning is complementary to the topic of my course – Global Communication. A significant part of this course is devoted to learning and thinking about the role of technology in communication processes worldwide.

    Two questions:
    1) The type of synchronous online teaching/learning using Adobe Connect that Helen Mongan-Rallis describes seems to be quite complex, with multiple chat rooms functioning at the same time while the author also delivers a lecture. This requires superb multitasking skills! I wonder how realistic it is for most people to be able to deliver a lecture online while also monitoring the activities in 8(!) chat rooms AND responding to them as well?
    2) This question is somewhat related to the previous one. Because of the complexity that the type of synchronous online teaching described by Helen Mongan-Rallis entails, I think this can only work if it is used regularly throughout the semester rather than as an alternative solution for “emergency” situations like ones that I might have next fall. In my specific situation, would it be better to keep it simple and just use Skype or Google hangout without the chat rooms?

  9. “Nimble instructional design: Using instructional assets for derivative works for more learner-centered instruction”

    School of Pharmacy: 3 phases of online instructional design, in which the first really laid the foundation for inclusion of technology. Instructors used solid learning outcomes, readings, lectures, online quizzes, to inform design. Gamification (simulation as assessment) and eBooks were included as examples.

    Key takeaways included:

    -The need to lay the foundation key objectives, teaching/learning outcomes and assessments–these are the instructional assets–which technological tools can enhance.
    -When these assets are in place, technological tools can be developed quickly and at a low cost after initial production, as they only need updating.

    I liked that the School of Pharmacy used these two tools to consistently map back to learning outcomes. I think there is a trend of using technology for the sake of using technology. Additionally, the rapid-development and low-cost approaches accounts for the lag in time to mainstream adoption of the tool. The tools have a purposeful use right away.


    One of their goals was platform standardization to increase accessibility, but both tools were limited in function to a single platform. Are there other tools like these that are more open access?

    How does one account for intellectual property when disseminating e-books? Do you need an x500 to access it?

  10. The concept of flipped classroom design, as discussed in “How MOODLE, ‘ladders’, ‘flipped classrooms’ and ‘change-up’ created value-added redesign in the Medical School” is one I hope to integrate into my classes. As a historian, there is a lot of contextual information that students need to know in order to make sense of their readings. The flipped design offers the ability to free up class time for discussion. I also hate lecturing, and idea of having them recorded as video/podcasts is quite appealing. This approach could be a challenge with very large survey classes, as it might be difficult to facilitate small group work in a class of more than 100. Initially I was concerned that the pre-recorded lectures would not allow me to respond to student confusion and questions, or would grow stale and out-of-date with time. However, the article indicates that the Medical School maintained some shorter lectures, meaning that I could supplement the recorded lectures as needed. Also, it’s refreshing to remember that it’s not necessary to flip all lectures; I plan to incorporate two video/podcast lectures per year so that the investment of time is spread out and not concentrated in my first year of teaching. As I face my first year of full-time teaching, I’m most concerned about the investment of time in creating the recorded lectures. Podcasts seem easier to create technologically, but would they be harder for students to follow without the visuals? How could I maintain student interest using either video or podcast formats?

  11. “The Survey Research Project: Technology and Research with Introductory Level Undergraduates” by Tabitha Grier-Reed and Emily Karp
    Hi everybody,
    – An empirical result at right here and right now always creates excitements and interests.
    – More than that, this tool brings into play the latent capacities of students who are young, dynamic, and knowledge-fond.
    – Although this approach simply stated as “Survey Research Project,” students in fact learn more at various facets of statistics, computer software, team-work, cooperation, leadership, and so on.
    – The importance is not the amount they can learn as a will, but the relationship between human, them, and the technology for certain purpose, here is certain project from survey.
    – Once the outcome of a project is determined, they can proudly defense it with confidence, as a joy and merit of self-affirmation to which effort of education or active learning in this context aim to reveal.
    1. How to concretely apply this approach to a conceptual course, such as tourism or psychology?
    2. Giving that this approach is feasible for a conceptual course as in (1.), what behavior and reaction that students may have to the approach as conceptual course mostly used to be lectured traditionally?

  12. CONCEPT: Creating Productive Presence (Bill West)

    1) Why is this tool / approach interesting to you?
    There are a lot of emphasis on MOOCs lately. We use many online-based training tools, not just in the classroom but also to present ideas, teach skills and concepts, etc. It makes me wonder, how do we bridge subtleties of physical, in-class learning with online tools?
    Also, “presence” matters – humans are social subjects, we react to visual stimulus, and our clothes, the way we carry ourselves, etc are manifestations of our identity. We need to play relevant roles (symbolic interactionists – life’s a stage, we’re actors, the world’s an audience). Therefore, an extension of this would be the question ‘does any form of presence matter?’. Bill West discovered that meaningful presence is useful, otherwise it made no difference — this is what he calls productive presence. “Productive presence” matters – you should be around to help, but not to nag/direct/command (students want autonomy to explore).

    2) How could you adapt the idea presented to your own teaching / learning situation?
    As a learner, I will try not to judge presenters based on visual cues. I am currently taking two Coursera classes; Gamification and Human-Computer Interaction. I find myself being more drawn to the Gamification lecturer because subconsciously I deem him ‘present’ when I am learning. The HCI lecturer feels more… detached, and less engaged in his video (although I sincerely think that he is as academically passionate about his topic as one would expect!). I will try to identify ways in which lecturer is more present than we assume is… and try to look beyond these nonverbal cues.

    In teaching – presence matters (from inner confidence to outer appearance); there is the need to project assurance of own materials and subject matter.

    3) What two questions related to learning, teaching, usability do you have about the tool / approach?
    Q1: How do we create course system (eg. How to run the show?) without knowing what our class may look like? How do we begin this conversation? The students may not know what they don’t know (eg. dropping out due to over commitment)
    Q2: what are other tips/tricks we can have to replicate cues found in real world presence?

  13. Stimulating Strategic Thinking, Acting and Learning in a Strategic Planning Class by John M. Bryson

    1) FORUMS: This tool is interesting to me because of the need of group and teamwork interaction to accomplish the strategic planning abilities need it when working in the public affairs field, especially in non-profit administration and public policy. By creating facilitated dialogue through forums students become engage in the subject matter and opinions and innovative ideas facilitate conversation and negotiations. The preparation time prior forum participation is crucial and may become a challenge if students do not complete assigned readings ahead of time.

    Through forums as a teacher/instructor I am able to listen to the student’s ideas in a group setting, also in leadership teamwork is the answer to solutions in public affairs issues. With this tool I would have the capacity to encourage students to become more self-sufficient and learning from each other’s experiences and ideas. Furthermore, less lecturing and more coaching is also a positive learning tool for students and as a teacher I would be able to act more as a facilitator/mentor, giving students for growth and innovation. FORUMS are easy to access; some of them include Moodle, Basecamp, Refworks, and Blackboard.

    I am interested in exploring and researching for forum groups in which Prezi may be a possibility for students to share presentations and receive feedback from each other’s work. Perhaps adding video and audio of actual presentations may be helpful.

    2) My questions about this tool include:

    a – If decide to be short and sweet within their posts? Here students may not obtain experience in facilitating dialogue and discussion, which it becomes the key to successfully completing the strategic planning process, especially in public affairs issues. Also, if students do not have the experience of using FORUM, it may be challenging to completing assignments.

    b- If students not taking the time to complete assigned reading materials prior interaction? This may encourage students to base dialogue information only out of personal experience and not applying new concepts from lectures/readings into collaborative dialogue.

    c – How could I create interesting topics to engage students in conversation and be inviting to new ideas? It is difficult to keep student’s attention, and I believe creativity must be used to engage people into public affairs issues, perhaps including the use of metaphor and case studies would resolve this concern.

  14. Podcast: learning on the go

    Why is this tool / approach interesting to you in light of your own teaching / learning situation?
    I think both audio alone as well as video podcasts (discussed in another chapter) offer two intriguing possibilities. Firstly, it allows you to record content such as lectures which take up a large percentage of classroom time and would allow an easy way to flip the classroom and provide more time for activities or case studies in class. Secondly, I think it offers a great opportunity both for student assessment and higher order learning. I really like the idea of students being in charge of producing a “week in review” segment. An assignment typical in my classes, a “jigsaw” like presentation where the students teach each other, would be interesting with the vodcast since it would allow all the students ample time to view each others presentations (sometimes not everyone gets to see the other’s.

    What two questions related to learning, teaching, usability do you have about the tool / approach?
    My biggest concern is whether students would make adequate use of the service, especially since it seems like a large out-of-class time investment for myself. I realize that it is a culture change and once habituated should be useful but it is a concern. My other concern is in the learning curve while requiring students to produce their own. The instructor made it sound like he had special equipment that he made available to the students, but ideally it would be great for them to produce their own without much time investment. In terms of communications skills, it seems like it could be a valuable tool to comprehend when thinking about the big picture of their career, but I worry about overloading them. I will have to think if there are ways early in the semester to “build” up to these activities, and obviously have ample and clear instructions in the syllabus if I will produce podcasts as required course material.

  15. Synchronous Online Teaching as a Component of a Fully Online Course
    (by Helen Mongan-Rallis)

    I am currently teaching a graduate level online course with full responsibility using a Learning Management System (LMS) called “Moodle” at the University of Minnesota. I really love Moodle and am very much interested in how to improve it as the author of the article described her experience about Moodle.

    “When my university transitioned to using Moodle as a learning management system, I abandoned using my own course website as I found that Moodle provided an easy-to-use means of integrating many of the tools that I had previously used.”

    Although Moodle has many strengths as a user-friendly LMS, it also has several shortcomings such as the lack of synchronous online learning as the author of the article pointed out.

    “In addition to being very intentional about building community and creating trust among the students and with me through the Moodle site activities, I also had to be sure to develop their skills and confidence in using the synchronous online tools in Adobe Connect.”

    Here are two questions I have about Moodle for my teaching:

    1. How can I take advantage of Moodle to create a learner-centered learning environment for students’ diverse cultural/educational backgrounds, experiences, and individual learning styles?

    2. How can I take advantage of Moodle to provide online tutoring and academic counselling to students during online office hours?

    Thank you!

    Jeong Rok

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