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Using eTexts and online resources for teaching

October 13, 2011

  • Chris Braun and Peter Serrano discussed how they use a variety of online resources in a psychology course that is being taught in a hybrid format for the first time this semester.  Each week, the class has one face-to-face meeting and students complete one online learning sequence consisting of instructor-created podcasts, instructor narrations of YouTube videos that illustrate course concepts, publisher content, and interactive exercises.  Students also have access to supplemental multimedia materials that come with the textbook.  Chris and Peter use the results of online quizzes at the end of each learning sequence to inform their face-to-face lectures.  Future plans include surveying students to obtain feedback about the digital content and hybrid format, and further customization of the online course content.
  • Dan Margocsy and Rick Belsky teach a 200-level history course for majors that is also being taught in hybrid format for the first time.  Students in the course use primary historical documents that can be found online to write four research papers in different historical genres (e.g., political history, social history).  In each course module, students read an example of writing in the genre, explore the online resources, discuss these resources in face-to-face class meetings, and write a short research paper.  Online resources include London Lives, the British Museum database of images, and the Diary of Samuel Pepys. Students are also asked to use the SWORD peer review system to read, comment on, and grade papers written by four of their classmates.
  • Kelle Cruz and Yonatan Abranyos demonstrated online labs they have designed for a 500-student astronomy class.  The online labs allow more students to take the class - since there is not enough lab space for 500 students to meet in every week, students attend face-to-face labs once a month and complete the remaining labs online.  The online labs include instructor- and publisher-created flash animations, links to relevant pages in the digital textbook, YouTube videos, and interactive tools and quizzes.  Kelle and Yonatan used MyLabsPlus, an online resource that comes with the textbook, as an alternative to Blackboard because it integrates the course content and exercises with a grading system, providing a more seamless experience for students and faculty.  They also created a Facebook group for the class, which encourages more informal and free-flowing class interactions.