Given the COVID-19 crisis, online instruction has become a new reality for almost everyone, a modality which provides both affordances and limitations for effective instruction. This professional development circle is an opportunity for current and future instructors to discuss issues related not only to the actual practice of technology-aided instruction but also conceptual issues relating to students’ cognition as it relates to technology use which will be useful in instructional contexts other than online or hybrid courses. Topics for each meeting will be based on chapters in the book, Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology by Michelle D. Miller; however, there is not required reading to participate in each session. Participants who attend at least four sessions will receive a free copy of the book.
This group is open to all graduate students. Sessions will be held online using Zoom (register to receive access information). You will also receive participation information and reminders.
Wednesday, August 26 • 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
How often has a tool or platform changed or been unavailable for one of your classes, forcing a course-correction right before a semester or even in the middle of the course? This semester, we will be thinking about technology conceptually, so this first session will begin to explore ways in which you can grapple with the constantly changing technological landscape without radically changing the structure of your course.
Wednesday, September 9 • 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
One of the commonly held myths about online instruction is that it is inherently or structurally inferior to face-to-face instruction, which is not the case. However, it is true that the cognitive processes at work do differ between these two modalities. This session will be a deep dive into how well online instruction can work and the ways in which instructors can enable student success online.
Wednesday, September 23 • 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Attention is both a perennial concern for instructors and the foundation of cognition. In this session we will discuss how to hold students’ attention in an online setting by asking students to respond, taking advantage of automaticity, assessing cognitive load, and discouraging divided attention.
Wednesday, October 7 • 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
We want students to have knowledge-level take-aways from our course and from session to session, as memory is a foundational component of understanding. We will be discussing ways in which to help students’ memories by including frequent assessments, structuring for spaced study, considering emotions, and steering students into deeper processing.
Wednesday, October 21 • 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The most important part of any college-level course is to develop students’ abilities to think. This can be especially hard to enable and measure in an online environment, so in this session we will be thinking about strategies you can use to help students learn to think, by practicing the skills you want, setting up varied and realistic scenarios for reasoning, and using discussion to build thinking skills.
Wednesday, November 4 • 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Motivating students to learn can be difficult in any setting, but online environments offer unique affordances and limitations for motivation. We will discuss a few strategies for improving motivation but will especially focus on a strategy that can be done more easily online than in a face-to-face setting: gameification, that is to say the practice of getting students to think of your course like a game.