Live Online Workshops

The Learning House offers synchronous workshops on a variety of topics on a monthly basis. All Learning House partner faculty are welcome to attend, and attendees will receive a certificate of attendance following the workshop. The sessions are delivered through Adobe Connect, and faculty are asked to consume a small amount of material on our Center for Teaching and Learning website prior to the live session, allowing more interactivity and less lecture.

Below is the calendar of workshops for 2019:

Topic Date/Time Links
Metacognition Wednesday, 20 February 2019, 1-2 pm ET Workshop Summary
Presentation (9.9 MB)
Watch Recording (44:24)
Video Use in Online Courses Thursday, 21 March 2019, 1-2 pm ET Workshop Summary
Presentation (16.5 MB)
Watch Recording (54:40)
Best Practices in Presentation Design Wednesday, 17 April 2019, 1-2 pm ET Workshop Summary
Presentation (10.4 MB)
Watch Recording (50:03)
Open Educational Resources Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1-2 pm ET Workshop Summary
Presentation (8.2 MB)
Watch Recording (37:28)

2019 Workshop Descriptions

Wednesday, 20 February 2019, 1-2 pm ET

In an educational context, “metacognition” refers to an awareness of own’s own learning preferences, study habits, strengths, and weaknesses. Despite the considerable amount of education that students have received by the time they take online courses, the unfortunate truth is that most of us aren’t taught how to learn, or, if we are, it’s a one-size-fits-all model. Given the various competing demands faced by typical online students – primarily jobs and families – students should be aware of research and strategies that can maximize their learning potential, and online instructors should similarly be aware of approaches they can incorporate into their teaching that promote a metacognitive perspective. Including explicit opportunities in your course for students to reflect on their progress, articulate areas of struggle, and identify the broader context of what they’re learning can serve to enhance students’ motivation and maybe even improve retention.

Video Use in Online Courses
Thursday, 21 March 2019, 1-2 pm ET

Using video in an online course seems like a natural choice. It allows you to deliver content as you might have in a face-to-face environment, offer variety in your instructional materials, expose students to your personality and passion, and reuse the assets you create. But videos can be challenging and time-consuming to create, may require replacement or updating, and could present daunting accessibility challenges. You may not even know how to get started. In this synchronous session, we’ll discuss the neuroscience and cognitive psychology that underlies contemporary research on the efficacy of multimedia in learning and apply these principles to the design and delivery of educational videos.

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Best Practices in Presentation Design

Wednesday, 17 April 2019, 1-2 pm ET

Whether or not you’ve created videos for your online courses, it’s likely you’ve used presentation software like PowerPoint to provide a visual aid during a lecture or discussion. While such software is useful for organizing your thoughts and assembling images, far too many of us have encountered “death by PowerPoint”: sitting through presentations with silly transitions, imagery that doesn’t support learning goals, or text clearly meant to be a memory aid for the presenter. In this workshop, we’ll review some of the cognitive psychology behind using presentation software effectively in an educational and distill that research into best practices for how to build presentations that support information retention and engagement. We’ll conclude with some PowerPoint-specific tips to facilitate the practical implementation of these best practices.

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Open Educational Resources
Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1-2 pm ET

The use of open educational resources has been a growing trend, particularly for online programs. With the enormous rise of the cost of textbooks within the past 30 years due to a variety of factors, students and faculty alike have been in search of no-cost alternatives whose quality is as good or better than traditional publisher-based materials. In addition to saving cost, however, the use of OERs also helps faculty chunk their material (a pedagogical best practice) and create more tightly-focused courses. In this workshop, we’ll explore the rise of OERs, both as repositories of materials as well as the embodiment of a general movement to lower the cost of – and thus the barrier to – higher education. In addition, given that the adoption of any new teaching resource may feel daunting, we’ll provide concrete tips on how to locate and evaluate OERs.
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Previous Workshops

Student Motivation and Engagement
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Watch Recording

All faculty want their students to feel both motivated to succeed and engaged. This session explores how motivation affects learning, breaks motivation down to its essential components, and presents strategies for how to foster motivation and engagement in students. But it’s not enough to just nurture students’ goal-directed behaviors; students need to have numerous opportunities to engage with each other, the course content, and the instructor to ensure the course remains relevant and interactive. As such, participants will examine theories and effective examples of how to promote engagement to ensure maintenance of their students’ motivation throughout their online courses.

Feedback and Practice
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Delivering effective feedback is obviously crucial to your students’ development of skills and knowledge, and is particularly important for creating a sense of instructor presence in online courses. But how can you know that your feedback is helpful, and in the service of your learning objectives? How do you ensure that students have adequate opportunities to implement recommendations you provide them in your feedback? And, perhaps most importantly, how can you maximize the impact of your feedback while minimizing your time spent grading? In our session, we’ll address all of these questions and more.

Instructor Presence
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One of the inherent challenges in online education is the geographical distance between the students and the instructor, and between the students themselves. Whereas face-to-face education easily allows instructors to establish their personality and expertise, efforts to do so in an online environment must be explicit and deliberate. Without any sense of instructor presence in an online course, it’s easy for students to feel isolated, giving the impression that the course is merely a list of materials and assessments to complete, which can hamper motivation, engagement, satisfaction, and, in some cases, retention. This session explores the three kinds of presence that are important for instructors to create, and offers strategies on how to do so.

Discussion Forums
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It’s important to understand that “engagement” involves three types of student interaction: with each other, with course content, and with instructors. Discussion forums offer a unique opportunity to hit all three areas, offering rich opportunities for faculty to enhance engagement, promote deep learning, and build community. As such, they’re one of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of an instructor of an asynchronous online course. In this session, participants will learn about the affordances of online discussion forums and encounter strategies to incorporate them into their online courses.

Course Mapping
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Budgeting time to create a high-quality, instructionally aligned course can be challenging given all the competing demands on a faculty member’s time. In this session, participants will encounter a scalable process informed by research-based best practices for mapping their online course using measurable objectives that align with carefully selected assessments and instructional materials. By the end of the workshop, participants will develop the start of their own course map and have the opportunity to discusses strategies and challenges with their peers.

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Rubrics have a wide variety of benefits in an online course: they make your expectations clear on assignments, speed up grading, reduce students’ grade complaints, and facilitate the teaching of your course by others. In this session, participants will learn about the benefits of rubrics both to instructors and to students and will also hear about a 4-step process for developing their own.

Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
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When designing an online course, you always need to consider the variety of students that you’ll be teaching. Leveraging a basic style guide, you can produce instructional materials that will address the needs of students with most disabilities, be they visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive, and also help protect you from possible legal actions. But good course design practices aren’t merely about designing for the needs of the disabled, but, more broadly, providing options for your instructional materials and flexibility in your assessment instructions that can address both disabilities as well as learning preferences. In this session, we’ll explore what the law dictates about the design of online courses and discuss how designing your course with the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework in mind can help you kill two birds with one stone.

Building Community in an Online Environment
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One of the most obvious differences between online and residential education is the physical and temporal presence that the latter enables. What may be less obvious, however, is the strong role that presence can play when it comes to motivation and academic integrity, and ultimately how social interaction can enable and enhance deep learning. In this workshop, we’ll explore how the three types of presence (instructor, social, and cognitive) can be leveraged in the service of building a virtual learning community. We’ll also discuss both the benefits of such an endeavor in addition to specific strategies instructors can use in their attempt to overcome the geographic and psychological distance between them and their online students.