Posts filed under 'Engagement'

Education Technology Strategies 2014: Summit in Toronto (March 4th & 5th)

A small, but mighty contingent of Mohawk educators - including support staff, administration, and faculty attended this fourth annual conference. From across the country, contributors to K-12 and post-secondary education met to:

Unlock technology to enrich and personalize learning. Reform your organization as part of a progressive ecosystem to nurture engaged students and catalyze innovation.

At this unique forum, obtain strategic insights from education leaders on how to improve student achievements with meaningful use of technology. Acquire cost-effective deployment solutions and incorporate sound pedagogical practices into your curriculum design and delivery.

Benefit from first-hand experience to implement blended, mobile, and BYOD initiatives at your institution and classes. Empower educators with practical tools and techniques to prepare your students for the 21st century knowledge economy.

Improve engagement, maximize learning outcomes and increase retention. Capitalize on emerging innovations to make a dramatic difference to the quality of your education. Adapt to the new paradigm and strive for excellence”

~ Source: Conference site

I thought I would start by adding my Glog or interactive poster that can act as a springboard to more conversation and community building. I am hopeful other attendees will add their takeaways and Mohawk’s community will pose questions and comments.

Here’s my GLOG!

Add comment March 10th, 2014

Are You ‘Present’ in Your Online Courses?

A paper from Inter American University of Puerto Rico highlights that an important factor in students’ satisfaction with online learning is the Social Presence of their teacher. Social Presence is defined as “the degree to which a person is perceived as a ‘real person’ in a mediated communication context” - the sense that there is someone there at the other end of the computer.
Social Presence promotes participation, integration and cohesion in the online community. It contributes to student motivation, and is associated with retention and completion rates in onlne courses.

How do we create a Social Presence in our courses and encourage students to be ‘there’ too?

Studies have focused on two types of indicators of Social Presence: Affective and Cohesive.

The Affective indictors of Social Presence include:

  • Conventional or unconventional expressions of
    emotion, including the use of repetitious punctuation,
    conspicuous capitalization, and emoticons.
  • Use of humor through teasing, use of irony,
    understatement, and sarcasm.
  • Self- disclosure evidenced in the inclusion of
    details of life outside the class or by expressing

Simple things like responses such as “good job!” “Success!” to discussions as well as more formal feedback; comments such as “you’ve made it to the end of Unit 1, now take a break before we start Unit 2″; or having a profile in the course that discloses something about your ‘real’ life (I usually find posting a photo of my dog works gets a positive response). These help create your Social Presence and encourage students to develop their own presence in response.

We’ll look at the Cohesive Indicators of Social Presence in a follow-up post, but in the meantime - what are methods do you use to create your Social Presence?

Add comment January 7th, 2014

How to Answer when a Student Asks “Did I Miss Anything?”

For a new year and a new term; a perfect answer to an age-old question.

Did I Miss Anything?

by Tom Wayman
From:   The Astonishing Weight of the Dead. Vancouver: Polestar, 1994.

                                                        Question frequently asked by
                                                        students after missing a class

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

        Everything. I gave an exam worth
        40 per cent of the grade for this term
        and assigned some reading due today
        on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
        worth 50 per cent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

        Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
        a shaft of light descended and an angel
        or other heavenly being appeared
        and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
        to attain divine wisdom in this life and
        the hereafter
        This is the last time the class will meet
        before we disperse to bring this good news to all people
       on earth

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

        Everything. Contained in this classroom
        is a microcosm of human existence
        assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
        This is not the only place such an opportunity has been

       but it was one place

        And you weren’t here

Add comment January 1st, 2014

Gearing Up: Fall 2013!

Welcome back for another great semester at Mohawk!

As you put the finishing touches on your courses for Fall 2013, here’s a reminder of a few, new, cool tools brought to you by your CTL.

VoiceThread: Conversations in the Cloud

This newly integrated tool can boost engagement in discussions by allowing students to contribute using a variety of media. You and your students can also use it to showcase course material in a different format. Check it out!


Although not new, it continues to improve its integration with eLearn@Mohawk. Build and share your rubrics and comment sets to make feedback and assessment more seamless. Your colleagues are already making great use of comment sets - Language Studies instructors created and shared their own unique set. Students will receive comprehensive and consistent feedback and assessment and instructors will shave time!

Video Capture

Click on the graphic for the full lowdown.


Respondus Lockdown Browser

This is a customized browser that increases the security of online testing in eLearn. You as an Instructor can choose to require students to use the LockDown Browser when taking your quizzes. When students use LockDown Browser during a quiz, they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications until the quiz is submitted. Read more about it!

WISC Online Gamebuilder

Contact CTL to access this tool to change up your activities for diagnostic and formative assessment. There are a number of game templates to add more interest to quiz material. Here’s just one example:



This free tool is another great way to reinforce understanding of basic course concepts. Rather than a quiz on terminology, try Quizlet’s options. Your CTL has the paid version in case you want to use images and other affordances. Contact your Instructional Technologist. Here’s academic integrity terminology turned into a Scatter game: Play now!

Had issues loading large, homemade video to eLearn@Mohawk? We have the solution - Kaltura. The new Kaltura/eLearn integration allows you to easily upload large video files directly within eLearn to the Kaltura system, and easily publish and stream videos in eLearn courses.In addition, Kaltura allows you to easily create original recordings using your webcam, and integrate them in to your courses. Access the Info Sheet here.

There are many more interesting things afoot in CTL (Fennell A227). Make sure to check in with your eLearning contact for the latest and greatest teaching tools and learning support.

Add comment August 26th, 2013

It Was a Great Week to Be at Mohawk!

Wow - Mohawk was buzzing this past week. Unfortunately, I couldn’t participate in everything, but CEDP and Apps for Health were very worthwhile. Kudos to Roberta Burke, Christy Taberner and their crews and to Valerie Mitanoff and Jenna Pettit for keeping the the communication flowing.

At CEDP, it was great to meet faculty from multiple colleges who were eager and/or willing to overcome fear to experiment with educational technology to meet students’ need for differentiated instruction as well as align to their institutions’ strategies. Their questions and concerns were similar to those at Mohawk. They were a good reminder to double check understanding on a top concern.

  • A colleague at a sister college had to undergo an audit from Access Copyright. A good reminder that Copyright Law and attribution | academic integrity apply in online learning environments. Before, you would submit your courseware through the Book Store | Media Services where adherence to copyright was confirmed. But with many course resources living in eLearn@Mohawk, there is no process. To assist, the new templates for eLearn@Mohawk added a Resources sub-heading on its Module Overview page. Tracking the resources you use in each module will help cover you if copyright questions arise. And why not model proper citing for students and populate the Resources section in APA format! Check out Mohawk’s updated Copyright policy and connect with your Library with any questions or concerns.

Apps for Health’s panel presentation on Gamification sparked some thinking - the very idea that ‘gamification’ may be ephemeral. The three panelists of game designers proposed as sound instructional design is better understood, the reference to gaming will fall away. Structured activities that engage, challenge, and assess progress define the current buzzword, gamification, and have always defined sound instructional design.

A great observation by Andrea Bielecki (Invivo and Spongelab) highlighted further merging or more holistic thinking. A few years ago, a company may have considered its marketing strategy and then how a web presence might be factored into the mix. Nowadays, strategies would include all media - a company wouldn’t dream of excluding online in its initial strategy and budgeting.

I wonder how far are we from experiencing all players in education, considering the online requirements in teaching and learning and planning accordingly from the start? Rather than designing and developing a course and then figuring out what to put online, considering that online learning and the use of educational technology is just now part of our learning ecology. With this realization, the necessary players - SMEs, technologists, and designers - can come to the table and be given the time to collaborate and build (education’s strategy and budget) the best teaching and learning experiences.

Add comment May 21st, 2013

Four Stages of Learning

We know from learning style theory that there is no one best way for students to learn. The “Four Stages of Learning a New Skill” initially developed by Noel Burch provides a model for learning. This model of moving from incompetence to competence helps us to identify the instructional supports required to assist someone with learning a new skill and building confidence.

1. Unconscious Incompetence – One doesn’t know what they don’t know.
Inability to see the usefulness or value of the skill is characteristic of the first stage of learning a new skill. The individual doesn’t know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. The individual must understand the value of the new skill before he/she will be able to move onto the next stage.

Teaching Strategy: One of the first principles of adult learning theory is to demonstrate the relevance of this skill in the real world. Build interest and understanding. You might use a case study, scenario or recent article that depicts why this skill is important in their field of study.

2. Conscious Incompetence – feels overwhelmed by learning the new skill and lacks confidence. Oh my, now they know what they don’t know.
Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in overcoming the deficit. The individual may feel overwhelmed by the learning of the new skill.

Teaching Strategy: Connect new learning to something they already know. Build confidence. Make learning appealing: gaming strategies may make learning fun. Sequence the learning, break it down, and outline the steps or parts. Will you move from simple to complex or from unified picture to specific parts? Provide support: use study partners or collaborative learning projects, and discussion groups.

3. Conscious Competence – the new skill requires effort and concentration.

The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill requires effort and concentration. There is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.

Teaching Strategy: The skill may be learned incrementally. Provide opportunities for practice, reflection and continuous feedback. What worked well? What might I do differently next time? Give feedback to others.

4. Unconscious Competence – the new skill is done with ease - mastery!The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task.

Teaching Strategy: Provide opportunities to apply this learning in new situations, to teach others; present on a panel, make a poster, or create an occasion to apply learning in an authentic situation that would benefit others. Reward and celebrate excellence.

Add comment March 7th, 2013

Discussion Tips - Strategies to Conduct Lively Discussion

Creating lively discussions in an important active learning strategy. 

This free Facilitator’s Guide has some great tips for conducting lively discussion (


        A.     Create an attitude for discussion

e.g. Before your session begins, strike up personal conversations with individuals. This forms a connection that will help support discussion later.


B.     Twenty discussion tips

e.g. Set up your discussion question with a story, problem, challenge, definition, etc. Then lead naturally into the question. Don’t hit them cold turkey with a question.


C.    Facilitator Response to stimulate participation

e.g. Deflect answers given to you to participants in the group.


D.    Useful Discussion Bridges

e.g. “Can you think of a situation where this would not be true?”


E.     Facilitator Movement to Encourage Discussion

      e.g.  If you ask a discussion question and you don’t get a response, move to another spot in the room and rephrase the question.


1 comment January 24th, 2013

When the Semester Ends, It Isn’t Really Over

By Maryellen Weimer

Faculty Focus, Dec 10, 2012

From “the newsletter devoted to the art and science of better teaching”


 Figuring out final grades feels like closure. It’s the last time we think carefully about each student we’ve had in this set of classes. Some of them have done so well, and if they are students we’ve had in multiple courses, we feel such satisfaction as we watch what they are becoming. They make teaching worth the work. But then there are other students—the ones who failed because it just wasn’t the time in their lives to learn this content, the ones who didn’t have the skills they needed to make it, and the ones who passed the course but never connected with the content, the teacher, and sometimes, not even with their classmates. These are the students who some days make us wonder why we even bother. 

With courses ending so definitively, it’s easy to think that whatever impact you or the course might have on students is over. But learning doesn’t always end when the course does. Some insights and understandings are iterative and cumulative. Students arrive at them after repeated exposure, as the evidence mounts and their skills and experiences deepen. Other intellectual development happens when students are finally ready to learn. Most of us can recall one of those serendipitous student encounters in the mall. “Dr. Weimer, Dr. Weimer, do you remember me?” Sometimes I want to say, “How could I forget? You have a prominent place on my failures list.” Occasionally, one of those students hands me a gift. “I didn’t learn much in your course, but I didn’t sell the book back and just recently I read it. And as I was reading it, I remembered all sorts of things you said in class.” Perhaps I can cross that student off my failures list.

Some students can be very hard to read. It isn’t always easy to determine what effect the course is having, or will have. Recently, while out shopping, I ran into a former student whom I didn’t recognize at all. “You don’t remember me, do you?” she asked. I looked more closely. “No, I don’t.” “I was in your speech class at Berks,” she explained. “Oh, that could be,” I said. “What’s your name?” She told me and that didn’t trigger any recollection. Then she said, “I learned three things in your course that I use pretty much every day.” She listed them off and I started smiling. She had a solid grasp of what I hoped every student would take from the course. When I got home and looked in my grade book, I discovered that what she’d learned was worth far more than the grade she’d earned in the class.

Because course endings give us a false sense of closure, we can end up feeling more discouraged about our teaching than we should. There really is no way to know how our content, our teaching and or the experiences in our classes have affected students or may affect them in the future. Students can be profoundly changed by a course and the teacher may never find out. I have a colleague who loves classical music. It’s not his academic area, but his knowledge is expansive. I once asked how he got interested in music. “Oh, I had a music teacher—that’s how it started. You know, I’d always intended to thank him, to tell him how his introduction to music has resulted in a lifetime of pleasure. But I got there too late. I had to say my thanks at his grave.”

Teaching is an act of faith, not something we always readily acknowledge. I like the Biblical definition: “faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not yet seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Sometimes we do see the evidence; students excel and we share their success. But many times there is no evidence. A student passes through the course without appearing to have been touched. But faith is a substance, it’s something tangible to hold onto in the absence of evidence. As the current courses end and the year concludes, the influence of both continues. In this season of peace, hope, joy and love, may your faith be renewed and strengthened. What you do for and with student does matter. It makes a difference and that makes it so worth doing. 


Click here to link to FACULTY FOCUS


Add comment December 17th, 2012

Learning Spaces

For various reasons in recent meetings, the topic of conversation has been our physical learning spaces. Even when the origin of the discussion was new technologies, comments usually reverted back to the basics. I thought this might be an opportunity to widen the discussion and consider how our learning spaces might be changing/need to change with the different needs and preferences of our students.

To spark your musings, you might consider some recent research, whose format is easily digested:

Changing course: Connecting campus design to a new kind of student

Thanks to the Library for Designing colleges for more than just connectivity

You might choose to comment on how you have been able to embrace some of the reports’ ideas or how we could adapt our spaces to adopt some of the recommendations.

Add comment November 9th, 2012

Active Learning - Resources

According to the Learning Pyramid, students retain only 10% of what they read, but 75% of what they practice doing!  As Dr. Idahlynn Karre says, “Telling is not teaching!”  Rather than cover course content, we must help students “uncover” learning.

When faculty provide active learning experiences for students, they create a more interactive environment thus engaging students in the learning process. Incorporating active learning strategies into a course helps students understand the course material, and maintain their interest during instruction. They are not just passive recipients of our knowledge.

The library has a host of resources posted on Active Learning Strategies, just click on the LibGuides.

A NEW online module as been developed and is accessible via eLearn@Mohawk for faculty who would like to learn more about incorporating active learning strategies into their face-to-face and blended learning classroom.
You can self-register for this module and review whenever it is convenient. It is easy.

1. Sign in to
2. On the Nav bar at the top, click on Self Registration.
3. Voila, a list of Course Offerings will appear.
4. Pick the course you want form the list.

If you have an active learning strategy that works well for you.  Please share it.

Shared by the Centre for Teaching and Learning

Add comment September 21st, 2012

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