How do you manage student presentations? (online or f2f)

I always thought it was a lot easier to have students submit files in Blackboard (I find that a discussion board works best) prior to class presentations rather than trying to jockey around with individual students’ jump drives or laptops. That way, you can open Blackboard and all the files are there. But maybe a shared folder in the cloud would be a better option. Please share your tips for making end-of-semester student presentations go more smoothly.

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Are you taking advantage of cloud storage?!

There are many stable and secure places on the cloud for you and your students to save class files. Cloud storage means no more lost homework! Unlike using a “thumb” drive, you can’t lose or damage your important files. You have access to your files anywhere with internet access (using a computer or mobile device). When collaborating with others, you can share folders and files with other people.

Sign up for a free account and keep all your current semester school files there. Cloud storage services typically offer a certain amount of free storage space (e.g. 5 GB). View this ZDNet article for a review of the top ten personal cloud storage services, including Amazon Cloud Drive, Apple iCloud, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more! I use Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive!

Notes on student use: Google Drive is just an extension of Google Docs which UAA students already have access to! And Box.com allows your students to log in with their UAA Gmail credentials.

Google Apps for Education Bootcamp

Last week I spent two “googly” days with Molly Schroeder learning about using Google Apps for Education with students and thinking about applying to become a Google Apps Certified Trainer. Molly was an excellent trainer and we learned a lot. Google Apps for Education is really useful and my only hesitation is that UAA isn’t completely on board with it. Our students use Google, but our faculty and staff use Microsoft!

To become a Google Apps Certified Trainer, you need to go through six online training modules which unfortunately are not “current.” Then, you have to submit an application, pass 6 tests, produce and share 2 videos, and write up a case study. I plan to start going through the modules but am very disappointed that the information in them is not current.

Check out Molly’s website: Flipped Education

Universal Design in Online Education

Thanks to Krista Zug in UAA DSS for passing on this great article: http://www.evolllution.com/distance_online_learning/clearing-up-accessibility-for-distance-education-administrators-accommodating-the-new-students/

You probably already know that universal design for learning translates principles of accessibility in physical environments into teaching and content for accessibility in the classroom. “In the online classroom, the oversimplified rule of thumb is: if your content is audio, provide visual and if it is visual, provide audio. If it needs to be captioned, add captioning or post a transcript.” This useful article by Elizabeth Simpson, from the College of Education at the University of Wyoming, lays out some general accommodations for students with LD and ADD in online classes.

Let’s take this one step at a time…

Provide a way for students to read and hear content. Simpson offers these suggestions. PDF files are easier for screen readers to access; scanned documents and pictures can’t be read by screen readers. Add a podcast to any written material you present. (Tip: Visuals should also be available in audio.) It is easy to create a podcast yourself, especially if you have a smartphone. (Tip: It’s best when the student is hearing your voice.) Give students directions on how to access an audio copy of the reading, such as providing a link to the library or another online source. More to come!

All you have to do is ask! I am happy to help you make your COE courses accessible to diverse populations.