Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category
(This post follows on from the Free tools for Teaching – name randomiser post.)
Here Radmehr Monfared talks about how he uses the free Doodle scheduling tool to organise lab sessions:
Have you ever set up lab sessions for students when there are many sessions but each student has to attend only one? You usually end up with one very busy session and a number of quiet ones.
Some lecturers balance the numbers into groups (forcefully) and if someone complains then they deal with it. However, I realised that if you give choice to students they usually are free for more than one session. Then I can balance the lab load based on their availability.
Doodle Scheduling http://www.doodle.com/ is exactly the tool for this sort of case and is free. I have been using this for many years for arranging meetings and scheduling personal events. However I used it last term for balancing my lab sessions. Most students are familiar with this website and I had no problem collecting data and compiling my lab time table.
Before using it, I checked with IT to see if there is any equivalent tool in the university, but there was none at the time.
This is how it works – You arrange your available lab times in the columns of a table on the web and email the link to students. Students add their name and tick the time slots that they can attend. Then based on availability you distribute students equally within the lab sessions. It worked great for me in the last term.
There are various other mechanisms that you could use for this purpose (including the Face-to-face activity in Learn / Moodle) but Doodle has the benefits of being simple, effective and familiar to many students.
Dr Radmehr Monfared is a Lecturer in Intelligent Automation within the Wolfson School. In conversation with a Teaching Centre colleague Radmehr mentioned a couple of free online tools he has been using to support his teaching. Here is Radmehr describing the first scenario:
It is always a dilemma how to choose a student to answer a question while maintaining the fairness and equal opportunity to everyone, and also not making the student nervous.
I have come across the “name randomiser” idea many years ago. The idea is to rotate through the students’ names on the screen and randomly stop at one name.
This has been proved an ice breaker and a fun activity, while that chosen person has to answer the question. Students certainly like it.
Back in the days when our lecture rooms didn’t have internet access, I use to use a simple VB program that did the job for me, but filling the student list was a problem.
But these days, I use the following website, which is fun (with lots of interesting noises) to take pressure/stress off from the students.
http://www.classtools.net/education-games-php/fruit_machine The advantage is that I can copy and paste the student list from my excel sheet very easily.
Another one that I particularly like and used is http://primaryschoolict.com/random-name-selector/ . This one also allows running a timer for students to answer the question.
[The latter is the tool shown in the screenshot above and it's interesting to note that it was intended for primrary school use but can be useful even in HE!]
TurnItIn have released two new tools to support the evaluation of web-based resources; a review of the sources actually used and an interactive tool for the evaluation of resources. These should be useful as tutorial-level discussion pieces and lend some objectivity to assessing the worth of the Web.
“Open access to this new interactive rubric helps educators teach students proper research and source evaluation.
Turnitin worked with educators to develop The Source Educational Evaluation Rubric (SEER), an interactive rubric to analyze and grade the academic quality of Internet sources used by students in their writing. Instructors and students who use SEER can quickly evaluate a website and arrive at a single score based on five criteria scaled to credibility: Authority, Educational Value, Intent, Originality, and Quality.
“Recent research shows that students rely heavily on websites of questionable academic value,” said Jason Chu, senior education manager for Turnitin. “We believe that widespread usage of SEER will help educators teach students the importance of using quality resources in their research.”
This interactive rubric, when opened in Adobe Reader, allows you to adjust criteria weight and simply click to score each criterion with a rubric score and percentage automatically calculated.”
Spidescribe comes highly recommended as an intuitive and free mind mapping software where you can gather text, links, files, images and other elements. Complete with the ability to invite others to collaborate, plus you can retain ownership of the content (as of the copyright and content ownership terms accessed on the 27th Feb 2013 – note set your map as private).
As Spiderscribe is an online tool, your work is available from any computer with internet access.
All you need to get going is to sign up for a free account (this does have size limitations if you are thinking large scale).
Go to: http://Spiderscribe.net for more information and to view a video tour.
There is also a recommendation from Russell Stannard, a teaching fellow from the Unviersity of Warwick, who specialises in the use of technology in teaching. View Russell’s video tutorial at: http://www.teachertrainingvideos.com/spider/index.html
This week I gave a short presentation on ‘Quick Learning Technology Wins’ to a group of Programme Directors and LT Co-ordinators within the School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences at the request of the Associate Dean for Teaching, Ruth Kinna. My starting point for this was that academic colleagues have many conflicting demands on their time, so it is not helpful if we promote tools or approaches that add significantly to this burden. Here is an expanded version of the PPT I used, with enough detail to make sense to anyone interested who wasn’t there.
These are not necessarily the most important things that you can do with learning technologies – but they do all have the advantage that you can introduce them without having to spend hours learning the software. That said, in some cases (for instance, exploiting GoogleDocs for collaborative writing activites), thinking time will still be required!
How do I download submitted coursework?
The two main routes to online coursework submission each have a different mechanism for downloading the submitted files.
The notes below describe approaches to marking and the provision of feedback using Learn’s online submission tools