Are You Ready for Remote Learning? Technology Tools to Quickly and Effectively Shift Your Lecture Courses Online.

When teaching with technology, Markus and I always promote having a Game Plan B and sometimes even a Game Plan C.  This same mindset can apply to having a contingency plan for taking lecture courses online.  This plan might be the result of weather or as we are seeing right now the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  If you are in the process of shifting your lecture courses online or facing this prospect in the future, here are some tips and technology resources that may help.

Transition Strategies

  • First and foremost, it is important for you to remain calm. Making this transition can be stressful for instructors and students.  How you present yourself with students will set the stage for a successful transition.  Strive for a smooth transition, not perfection.  Remember you aren’t perfect in your lecture classes, and you don’t need to be perfect in the online classroom.
  • As part of the planning process, try to mirror your online course as closely as possible to your existing lecture class. This will help your students adapt and provide everyone the best transition and learning experience. Check out your publisher’s materials first.  They are already prepared for online delivery, including content being accessibility approved.  When you have the time, create your own lecture videos.  Being able to see the instructor in the course, keeps students engaged.  For online learning, be sure to keep videos short.  Five minutes or less is ideal.  Having more short videos is better than one long video for both the students and the instructor.
  • Make yourself “present” in the course through Discussion Boards, collaborative tools, etc. It is important for students to feel connected.  Remember, many students believe they learn best in a lecture environment.  It is essential to make them feel comfortable in the online course too.
  • Set expectations immediately. Communicate what has changed in your course format and be clear about your expectations. Also, make sure to highlight the differences in online learning. In addition, revise your syllabus to reflect any remote learning expectations.
  • Include frequent feedback mechanisms or knowledge checks. Utilize your learning management system, homework management system or other assessment technology tools listed below.

Let’s look at some technology tools that can help you make a quick and easy transition from the classroom to online.  Don’t try to use too many tools at once.  Pick the best tool(s) to supplement the learning experience you are trying to achieve at the time.

Immediate Transition Tools

  • Communicate: Post an announcement in your learning management system about course changes.  Remind students to check the course and their school email regularly.  It might be helpful to have your students sign up with Remind (November 2015) as a way to stay connected.  Both Markus and I use Remind to redirect students back to our learning management systems.  This tool can be especially helpful for working with lecture students who may not regularly check their school email or learning management system course.
  • Updating Your Course: To quickly insert supplemental material into your course, look at all available publisher material.  Publisher homework managers often have various study tools and supplemental teaching tools, including adaptive learning plans, videos, etc. that can be easily inserted to help with the initial transition.
  • Campus Resources: Use any campus resources available that are supported by your IT staff first.  This will ensure that you have professional assistance available if needed.
  • Stage the Transition in Steps: Look at the activities you can easily transition to online learning first.  Then look at how you can enhance or add to your course.
  • Be inclusive: Remember that some students will not have computer access to your course.  Will the activities in your course be accessible to students on smartphones or smart devices?  Be sure to consider how you will accommodate a student who might not have access to any technology.

Video Creation Tools

  • Doceri:  Markus and I have used Doceri (October 2019) for several years as a lecture capture tool as well as a method to provide students with short tutorials.  Doceri has a free version if you don’t mind the watermark or you can pay a one-time fee of $30 for the desktop license and training support.
  • TechSmith (Snagit):  The TeachingAndLearningToolBox featured Snagit (August 2017).  Snagit is a screen capture, screen recorder that can be used to create tutorials and lectures.  TechSmith is now offering this technology for free through June 30, 2020.  Click here for details.
  • Video Hosting:  There are several video hosting sites including Vimeo and YouTube.  Markus and I use YouTube because of the closed-captioning feature.  Click here for how to upload videos to YouTube. Note:  If you use the public setting, anyone can find your video.  Markus and I prefer to use the unlisted setting where we share a link with our students.  We would recommend you avoid using the private setting as that requires you to input/approve your student email accounts before they will have access.  Accessibility is a concern when shifting to online learning.  Click here for how to add closed captioning to your videos on YouTube.

Virtual Collaboration Connections

Many learning management systems have a collaboration feature (Blackboard Collaborate, Canvas, etc.), or your school may have technology such as Adobe Connect or WebEx.  Check with your school resources first to see what type of collaboration tools may be available.

  • Zoom:  Zoom is a virtual collaboration tool that is available for most devices.  Its free version hosts up to 100 participants and allows unlimited meetings.  Zoom’s free version also allows unlimited 1 on 1 meetings; however, group meetings are limited to 40 minutes.  Zoom is an easy tool to learn and set up.  All meetings include features like a conference call-in number, private and group chat, screen sharing, group collaboration, and an electronic whiteboard to name a few.  To learn more about Zoom, click here.
  • WebEx: WebEx has just extended its free plan to 90 Days.  WebEx allows you to record meetings, share files and it also has a whiteboard feature.  It also accommodates up to 100 attendees and can be accessed through both computer and mobile devices.  To learn more about WebEx’s extended free plan special, click here.
  • Logme.in: Logme.in is part of the GoToMeeting family.  It provides similar features to Zoom and WebEx.  To learn more about Logme.in’s free plan special, click here.
  • Microsoft Sway:  Microsoft Sway (December 2017) is a virtual collaboration tool that is referred to by Microsoft as a “digital storytelling app”. This tool is an alternative to PowerPoint that lets you share video, text, images, and any other media to “tell the story” to your students.
  • Evernote: Evernote (March 2016) is a great tool for remote group work collaboration.  It allows students to easily share with their classmates and instructor.  Evernote is also a great tool for student portfolios.
  • TechSmith Video Review:  This is a collaborative feedback tool that records presentations as well as allows students to interact with the videos and provide comments.  This tool lets you keep a meaningful conversation going in an asynchronous environment. TechSmith is now offering this technology for free through June 30, 2020. To learn more about TechSmith Video Review, click here.
  • Microsoft Teams:  If your school has Office 365, Microsoft Teams (March 2018) is another great collaborative tool you can use to create classroom teams.
  • Slack:  If you want to bring classroom collaboration and teamwork together online, check out Slack (January 2018).
  • GoogleHangouts Advanced (Gsuite):  Normally, Markus and I talk about GoogleHangouts for virtual office hours; however, Google has just announced free access to their Advanced GoogleHangouts/Gsuite as a response to the needs of organizations affected by the Coronavirus.  Gsuite will allow users to hold meetings up to 250 participants, live stream to up to 100,000 viewers within a domain and record meetings that can be posted to Google Drive.  To learn more about GoogleHangouts, click here.  To learn more about free access to Gsuites, click here.

Virtual Office Hours

In addition to some of the virtual collaboration tools listed above, below are some technology tools that can help you streamline your virtual office hours.

  • Calendly:  Calendly (November 2016) is a simple way for students to sign up for virtual office hours.  This is a tool I use regularly and couldn’t live without.  Simply set up your office hour schedule in the application and provide students the link.  They can pick the best time to connect with you based on your availability.
  • Google Voice:  Many schools are asking faculty to provide some type of phone number to their students.  To avoid giving out your personal phone number, Google Voice offers a free number that you can link to your home or cell phone.  Markus and I both use Google Voice with our students.  This allows you to separate your personal and work life calls. To learn more about Google Voice, click here.
  • Skype:  While Markus and I have talked about using Skype for virtual field trips, it is also a great tool to connect with students during virtual office hours.  To learn more about Skype options, click here.

Interactive Assessment

  • Peergrade:  If you do individual and group evaluations, Peergrade (August 2018) is a great online tool to use with your students.  While there is typically a charge, Peergrade just announced that they will provide this application for free for the next four months. Use the code COVID19 when prompted.  Click here for details.  What a great time to give this assessment tool a try!
  • Quizlet:  Quizlet (January 2017) is a great tool to reinforce basic learning outside of the classroom.  The free version allows for the creation of study tools, including flashcards, learning activities, practice tests, and games.
  • Kahoot Challenge:  Bring the gamification of Kahoot from the classroom to online with Kahoot Challenge (November 2017).
  • Poll Everywhere Competition:  If you are using clickers or other polling devices in your classroom, try Poll Everywhere Competition (September 2018) with your online learners.

Enhanced Discussions

  • Flipgrid:  Create a vibrant learning environment by bringing your discussion boards to life with Flipgrid (February 2018).  Students create short videos for discussion posts from their cell phones.  Flipgrid gives every student a voice!

Document Submission

  • Office Lens:  You may have students who don’t have access to a computer while off-campus.  While most students can access class materials with their smartphones, they may not be able to electronically complete or submit work. If you have students who need to submit manual assignments, suggest that they download the Office Lens app by Microsoft (May 2018). Office Lens lets students take a picture with their smartphone, then convert it to a PDF.  This app provides more clarity than a regular smartphone picture and the PDF file is easy for the instructor to grade.

Markus and I know we have given you a lot of information.  You may feel a bit overwhelmed.  We recommend that you only pick one or two items to start.  Remember to use technology that serves a pedagogical purpose.  That may help you narrow down your selection.

Markus and I are closely monitoring free or low-cost technology options that may help you provide a better learning experience for your students.  As new information is available, we will post it to the blog.

Best of luck!  Remember this transition will be an evolving process.  You and your students will be adjusting together. You don’t need to be perfect. You just need to stay positive.  You’ve got this!

If you have questions during your journey, feel free to reach out to Markus or myself at info@teachingandlearningtoolbox.com.  You can also sign up for automatic notifications for future posts by clicking on the link on the bottom right corner of the Tip of the Month home page.

©2020 TeachingAndLearningToolbox

Grammarly

Grammarly

Are you interested in a technology tool to aid your students (and you) to improve grammar skills and to help detect plagiarism?  If so, Grammarly may be the perfect solution for you.  Grammarly is a digital writing tool that uses artificial intelligence through machine learning and deep learning algorithms.  Depending on the level of service purchased, Grammarly offers grammar checking, spell checking, and plagiarism detection services.

Grammarly’s online writing assistance and plagiarism tools encourage good grammar and a more professional writing style.  In addition, Grammarly’s integrated plagiarism checker instantly catches plagiarism from over 16 billion websites.  From grammar and spelling to style and tone, Grammarly helps users eliminate errors and find the perfect words to express themselves.

Grammarly can provide real-time edits while writing or the live edit can be disabled, which then only provides feedback during the revision portion of the writing process.  This option allows an update as a final check for errors and inconsistencies.  Other features available include Goals and Performance.  Goals launches whenever you import a new document and it helps Grammarly adjust its edits based on the context of your writing.  The Performance score informs a user how accurate the new document is compared to documents written by other Grammarly users who set the same goals.

Currently, Grammarly Is Trusted by Over 1000 Educational Institutions.  Research has shown that a high number of high school graduates do not possess successful writing skills. Grammarly can help younger students prepare for college-level writing.  In addition, many college freshmen are not adequately prepared for college-level writing courses. Grammarly can work one-on-one with students to develop essential writing skills, reinforce proper revision habits, and prevent plagiarism.  Each week, Grammarly can send an email recapping a user’s writing activity, called Grammarly Insights.  The recap has the ability to provide a list of the three most common errors made and the number of unique words used.

Cathy and I have utilized Grammarly as a teaching tool for our students.  In the past, we have required students to submit written assignments to the following free Grammarly plagiarism detection link: https://www.grammarly.com/plagiarism-checker before the assignment is submitted to us.  The link provides students with feedback regarding how much of their written assignment is possibly plagiarized.  The premium service provides additional details regarding what specifically is plagiarized, which we can view as premium subscription instructors.

A great benefit of Grammarly is that it works in many places across your daily workflow.  Grammarly works seamlessly across several platforms including Gmail, Outlook, Messenger, Yahoo, Twitter, Google Docs, Slack, LinkedIn, Facebook plus many more.

Currently, there are a few improvements to Grammarly that could make it more appealing.  The premium plan is not free, but it can be purchased for under $12 per month.  Also, there is not an offline editing mode and there is not support for Office on Mac.  In our opinion, the benefits of using Grammarly greatly out weigh our noted limitations.  Furthermore, our students have greatly benefited from developing better writing skills by utilizing Grammarly.

For more information about Grammarly go to the following link: https://www.grammarly.com/

© 2020 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Create Interactive, Engaging Presentations with Real-Time Feedback Using Mentimeter.

Markus and I have discussed several polling and assessment apps over the years including Socrative (February 2016), Kahoot (June 2016), Google Q&A (April 2018), Polleverywhere (September 2018), Sli.do (May 2019), GoSoapBox (September 2019) and Formative (November 2019).  If you are looking for something different that seamlessly combines interactive, engaging presentations with real-time feedback, consider MentimeterMentimeter allows you to create interactive presentations by embedding polls, word clouds, quizzes, and Q&A slides.  Like other polling applications, students use their smartphones to respond.

What makes Mentimeter different?  Primarily, their free version allows unlimited participants.  This single feature can be extremely useful for those teaching larger classes.  Other benefits of the free version are unlimited presentations and access to the Mentimeter Help Center.  However, the free version does have some limitations.  For instance, it only allows 2 questions per presentation and no more than 5 quizzes.

Mentimeter’s paid upgrades also have some useful enhanced features, including (1) Smartphone presentation control; (2) Easy navigation between presentation slides, student voting, and Q&A monitoring; (3) PowerPoint import feature, which allows you to use existing PowerPoints with Mentimeter assessment features.  In addition to PowerPoint, users can also upload PDF or Keynote files.

For those who prefer to present from a podium, both Windows (PowerPoint 2016 – Office 365 with the Mentimeter plug-in) and Mac’s users can easily toggle or swipe to move between a presentation and the Mentimeter application.

Mentimeter as a single app easily supports interactive lecturing.  Use Mentimeter to start class with an icebreaker activity, encourage discussion between concepts, assess learning, and monitor student questions in real-time.  Mentimeter is also a great reflection tool at the end of an activity, a class or the course.

Most of all, Mentimeter is inclusive, fun and a great way to increase learning.  It is a tool that helps engage everyone in the course while providing the instructor with real-time feedback to quickly assess and correct gaps in knowledge.

To learn more about Mentimeter or set up your free account, go to https://www.mentimeter.com/Mentimeter also has a blog that shares various presentation and teaching tips https://www.mentimeter.com/blog.

©2020 TeachingandLearningToolbox.com

 

2019 Year End Review

Toolbox

As our semester and 2019 come to a close, we feel that it is a great opportunity to reflect upon the fantastic technology tools and topics that we explored throughout the year.  A great resolution for 2020 is to integrate one of these tools into your classroom environment.

Doodlyhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/01/

Integrating Data Analytics https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/02/

Google Keephttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/03/

Piazzahttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/04/

Sli.dohttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/05/

Identity Guardhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/06/

Integrating Data Analytics #2 https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/07/

Let’s Get Ready for the New Academic Year – https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/08/

Go Soap Boxhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/09/

Doceri (Revisited)https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/10/

Formative https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/11/

We look forward to exploring more teaching and learning technology tools in 2020.

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Formative: A Real-Time, Robust Assessment Tool To Improve Learning!

Markus and I have been a fan of Kahoot (June 2016) and Kahoot Challenges (November 2017) for some time. While Kahoot is a fun way for students to learn and instructors to easily assess learning, there are times when a more robust assessment tool is desired.  Formative is that tool.  Formative is an easy to use, web-based, real-time student response and assessment tool that works well with any device and any type of delivery method (traditional lecture, flipped classroom, hybrid or online).  It allows you to track student learning over a period of time, rather than a single activity.  Formative offers closed and open-ended question options, plus provides immediate feedback, if desired, to support deeper learning.

Formative connects in-class and out-of-class activities together.  It also gives students the opportunity to try, fail and try again.  Markus and I both feel that providing students an opportunity to fail in a safe environment is essential to the learning process.

Formative is a multifaceted tool.  You can use it for assessing student pre-work, supplement interactive lecturing, collect class exit ticket data, enhance reflection activities or simply reinforce class concepts outside of class.  Formative gives students the chance to demonstrate their understanding of concepts through closed-ended questions (Multiple Choice or True False) or open-ended questions with written and/or show your work responses.

As an instructor or program assessment coordinator, you can use the data collected with Formative to improve course delivery immediately or over a period of time.  Formative eliminates the guesswork involved in traditional methods of teaching.  It provides real-time feedback to both the student and the instructor.

The basic version of Formative is free and works quite well for a single instructor. When upgrading to the premium version, you will receive several other features such as cheating detection, enhanced questions with audio, auto-grading, class lock, emoji feedback, randomized questions, and results, answer images, printing for non-tech environments, student to instructor feedback, unlimited progress tracking, unlimited PDF/Word Document uploads, unlimited report exports, default points, customized assignment options, batch scoring and feedback as well as the ability to add answers while grading.

Student access to Formative is also easy.  Students can join your Formative class with a class code or URL.  For schools that use Clever or Google Classroom, Formative integrates easily with these applications.

Formative has a few different ways to monitor student progress, including real-time formative feedback or a student growth tracker. If you want to add learning scaffolding to your course, Formative allows you to provide as many or as few resources as desired.  For instance, when a concept is introduced, you may want to provide students with more supporting resources.  However, as concepts and students evolve, you may decide to use fewer supporting resources and let students work and think more on their own.  Formative is ideal for course or program assessment as it allows you to track by standards or learning outcomes.

To learn more about Formative, go to https://community.goformative.com/videos to view any of the free tutorial videos or you can go to https://goformative.com/ to set up your free account!

©2019 TeachingandLearningToolbox.com

 

 

Doceri – (Revisited)

Doceri

Are you looking for a classroom tool to better engage your students?  Doceri is a terrific engagement tool that Cathy and I have utilized for several years in our on-campus and online class environments.  Doceri is a professional interactive whiteboard tablet app with sophisticated tools for hand-drawn graphics and built-in remote desktop controls. Doceri has the ability to transform your classroom projector into a moving interactive white board.  Doceri allows instructors to record and post lectures for flipped and online class sections, prepare online course orientation videos, and develop problem solution demonstration videos.  The recorded videos can be converted into an MP4 format and be uploaded into a Learning Management System or directly into YouTube.

In addition, Doceri offers The Doceri Certified Educator Professional Development Course. This course is a video training series created with the purpose of:

  • exposing the participant to all the features of the Doceri App and Desktop software.
  • show the participant how to use these features to teach live lessons as well as create Doceri projects for classroom presentation.
  • utilizing Doceri to create video lessons for student review or as part of a flipped classroom.

Also, Doceri will award a Certificate of Completion upon completion of the Doceri Training Course.

Doceri is available for both iPad and Windows.  The Doceri computer license, which includes the training course, is available for a one-time $30 fee.  The Doceri Desktop license key is a perpetual license and never expires, nor are there any subscription fees associated with this software.  Furthermore, Doceri provides a free trial version which allows users to evaluate Doceri for no cost for 30 days.

To view my course demonstration video, please visit the following link:  https://youtu.be/mwjkPLpbGco

For more information about Doceri (purchase and training course) go to the following link:  https://doceri.com/

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

GoSoapBox to Enhance Classroom Engagement and Learning Assessment

Frequently, Markus and I are asked about the best technology to manage student Q&A’s during class.  In April 2018, we discussed Google Slides Q&A as a technology tool that allows students to ask questions as they occur while letting the instructor decide about the best time to answer those questions. This month we want to introduce another Q&A management technology and learning assessment tool called GoSoapBox.

GoSoapBox is a real-time response system that not only allows instructors to effectively manage student Q&A’s, but also provides students an opportunity to prioritize which questions are the “muddiest points”.  Questions with more student votes, move up the Q&A list.  This makes it easy for the instructor to visually determine which questions to answer in the current class session, the next class session, or through the course Learning Management System (LMS).

Another GoSoapBox feature is the Confusion Barometer.  The Confusion Barometer lets students indicate when they need more clarification about a topic.  The Confusion Barometer provides the instructor with immediate visual feedback about the student learning happening in class. It also allows the instructor to easily identify the number of students who may be confused.

In addition to GoSoapBox’s Q&A feature, additional functions include polling, quizzing, and discussions.  GoSoapBox combines a lot of standalone technology features into one, easy to use technology tool.  Need support?  GoSoapBox offers a free Support Center with FAQs or there is also a Contact Us option.

Like most of the technology tools Markus and I discuss, GoSoapBox has a free version for classes of 30 or less.  If you teach larger class sections, there are upgrade options available: (1) Medium classes (31-75), (2) Large classes (76-150) and (3) Huge classes (151 – 400) classes.  Markus and I tend to have students work a lot in groups; therefore, the free version of GoSoapBox would accommodate up to 30 groups.

GoSoapBox is a cloud-based application and will work on almost all devices that can access a web browser; such as laptops, desktops, Macs, Windows, iPads, iPhones, iPods, Androids, etc.  There is nothing for students to download, install or sign up for.  Instructor’s simply set up an “event” that students can join, then provide students with the event access code.

If you are looking for a way to give all students a voice as well as keep track of the learning pulse in your classroom, GoSoapBox is a great tool to add to your teaching toolbox.  GoSoapBox removes some of the barriers of student engagement and provides instructors with a real-time understanding of student comprehension and learning needs.

Are you ready to try GoSoapBox? Visit https://app.gosoapbox.com/ to get started!

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Are You Ready for the New Academic Year?

Toolbox

The new academic year is here and it is time to organize ourselves.  This is a great time to reflect and utilize technology that can help organize yourself and your classroom for the upcoming year.   Where should you start?  Cathy and I think that this is the perfect time to share how we stay organized and to recap some of our favorite and most useful technology tools.

To maintain easy access to our documents from anywhere or any device, Cathy and I utilize Dropbox for document cloud storage.  In addition, Dropbox allows us to easily share documents with anyone.  Other cloud storage services that we recommend are Google Drive (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/google-drive/), Microsoft One Drive and Apple iCloud.

In addition, a great note taking app is a must have for increasing productivity.  Both Notability (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/notability/) and Evernote (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/evernote/) are tools that we utilize on a weekly basis.  Additional note taking tools that we recommend are GoodNotes, Notes Plus, Noteshelf and Apple Notes.

Furthermore, Cathy and I utilize technology to convert our typical classroom into an interactive whiteboard environment.  Doceri (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/doceri/) allows our hand held devices to project images through the classroom overhead projector and to record our lectures.  Additional whiteboard and/or lecture capture technology that we recommend are Explain Everything, Educreations, ShowMe, Notability, Splashtop, Scoodle Jam, Camtasia, Tegrity ,Snagit https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/08/31/snagit/ and Microsoft Whiteboard https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/10/.

To increase student engagement in the classroom environment, Cathy and I utilize several polling and gamification technologies.  Poll Everywhere https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/poll-everywhere-update-poll-everywhere-competitions-now-available/, Kahoot https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/?s=kahoot, Piazza https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/?s=piazza, Sli.do https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/sli-do-a-student-engagement-and-data-analysis-tool/, and Socrative https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/?s=socrative are a few of our favorite polling options.  These  student engagement technologies work great for on campus or online learning environments.

Cathy and I integrate many group team activities into our course curriculums.  Some of the technologies that we use to support the group workflow and grading are:  Google Keep https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/03/, Slack https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/slack/ and Microsoft Teams https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/03/31/microsoft-teams/.  Another technology option to consider for team communication is Group Me.

If you are looking for technologies to introduce data analytics into your curriculum, Tableau and PowerBI https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/02/ are very user friendly tools.  In addition, Cathy and I describe how we introduce data analytics into our curriculum at https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/07/.

Finally, Cathy and I try to utilize technology to engage our students outside of our classroom lectures.  Some effective technology tools that we use to accomplish student engagement are: Kahoot Challenge https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/kahoot-update-now-available-create-out-of-class-assignments-with-kahoot-challenge/, Flipgrid https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/02/28/flipgrid/, Google Slides https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/engaging-students-with-google-slides-qa/, and Recap https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/06/30/recap/.

We hope that you take this opportunity to discover at least one technology that can help you become more organized throughout the upcoming year.  We recommend checking with your institution to see if they currently provide any of these technologies at little or no cost to faculty.  Many technologies provide similar benefits; therefore, we identified several tools within each organizational category listed above.  We suggest utilizing tools that compliment your teaching style and that can be acquired for the least amount of resources.  Good luck and have a great academic year.

 

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Integrating Data Analytics In Courses Across Your Curriculum To Raise The Learning Bar!

Today’s accountants find themselves performing more and more tasks that require data analytics skills.  Accounting fields such as audit, tax, financial and managerial accounting all use big data to find patterns that impact decision making and organizational strategy.  Data analytics can help accountants and management better understand their organizations from an external and internal perspective.  Data analytics helps answer what’s happened (descriptive analysis), why it happened (diagnostic) what the future may look like (predictive) and what direction should be taken next (prescriptive).  Accountants are accustomed to looking at problems that need recommendations or solutions.  Data Analytic skills enhance the accountant’s ability to quickly determine trends or irregularities in order to more rapidly identify potential problems and find solutions.

Markus and I feel it is important for students to develop data analytic competencies early in their educational coursework as well as reinforcing or “stepping up” these competencies throughout the curriculum.  So, the question we often hear is, “How do we get started incorporating data analytics into our courses and curriculum”?

Markus and I have created a “step-up” approach to data analytics that can help.  This approach has worked well with our students.  We have found that integrating data analytics into our courses has increased synergy, engagement, collaboration, attendance, as well as student interest in the potential of data analytics.  Additionally, this approach helps us prepare graduates with the required 21st-century skills.

Since Markus and I teach at different institutions and in different parts of the country, we believe our approach to incorporating data analytics is seamless and has a pedagogical purpose that can be replicated into many accounting courses, by any instructor. The first step in this model is to introduce students to Big Data concepts and problems looking for solutions.  Next students interpret already prepared data visualization reports from Power BI and/or Tableau. This gives students the opportunity to see the results of data analytics before they work with any raw data.  After students understand the big picture of data analytics, they begin working with data visualization modeling using Power BI  (https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/downloads/) and/or Tableau (https://www.tableau.com/).  Finally, students are introduced to coding exercises. The Hour of Code (https://hourofcode.com/us, and Code Academy (https://www.codecademy.com/),  both offer free coding tutorials that expose students to the world of coding.  Introducing students to coding is not intended to replace information systems courses or create proficient coders. The goal of this activity is to expose students to the basic concepts of coding in order to increase student interest and a desire to learn more about coding on their own.  Ultimately, we have found that this approach improves critical thinking skills as it pushes students into higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Technology and education are continuously evolving.  Integrating data analytics into accounting courses across the curriculum allow faculty and students to stay current with industry and educational trends.  In addition, data analytics integration allows us to address AAA/AICPA Pathways, AACSB Accreditation Standards and AICPA Technology and Tools Competencies.

To learn more about getting started with integrating Data Analytics into your courses, visit our February 2019 blog at https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/02/28/integrating-data-analytics-into-your-accounting-courses/.

©2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox.com

 

Sli.do: A Student Engagement and Data Analysis Tool!

Over the years, Markus and I have been asked which technology tools let students present questions in real time while allowing the instructor to decide what questions to answer and when to answer them.  In April 2018, we presented one possible solution, Google Slides Q&A.  While Google Slides Q&A is a great tool, it is limited to the Google Suite platform.  This may or may not work in some classroom situations or for some instructors.  Therefore, if you are still looking for a technology tool that allows students to submit real-time questions during class while giving you the option for what questions to answer and when Sli.do is a great tool!

Sli.do lets you engage students with traditional features such as live polls and surveys.  However, it also lets you use a crowdsourcing approach to obtain questions and ideas from your students.  In Sli.do, Polls refer to a single question that can be integrated into your presentation for immediate student feedback.  This technique can be helpful when introducing new concepts or connecting concepts together.  Surveys, on the other hand, let you group multiple questions together so that students can answer a series of questions at one time.  The survey approach may be useful to close a class session or as a test preparation tool.

The Questions feature in Sli.do lets students submit questions in real-time while simultaneously allowing other students to view the submitted questions and vote on the questions they find useful. Polls, surveys, and questions can be submitted anonymously, or students can identify themselves by name.  Sli.do gives all students a voice in class. Additionally, the Questions voting feature gives instructors a way to identify and prioritize key areas that need further explanation.

Ideas is a new feature in Sli.do. It allows the instructor to create a topic that students can “brainstorm” about before class, during class or after class.  Like some social media platforms, the Ideas responses can be limited by word count.  Instructors can set response limits to 160, 240 or 300 words.

Sli.do is easy to use and seamlessly integrates with PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, or Google Slides by using the free Switcher app. The Switcher app also lets you control the presentation from your smartphone if desired.  If you are using Slack (January 2018) with your classes, Sli.do allows your students to ask questions and engage with the Ideas feature directly through Slack.

Connecting to Sli.do with a laptop or smartphone is as easy as going to  https://www.sli.do/.  Just provide students with your event code and they can join right from the Sli.do home page.  There is nothing to download or install.

A Sli.do event can be active during class or for up to seven days.  Sli.do is perfect for staying connected with your students outside of class as well as engaging online learners.

Do you teach classes larger than 40?  Have you found some polling solutions a bit limited for your needs?  Sli.do can accommodate the larger classes.  The maximum participation cap for Sli.do is 1,000 students, even with the free version!

Wondering which version of Sli.do is for you? Sli.do’s free version allows three polls and one topic per event as well as themed templates for customization, presentation integration with Switcher, training videos, online FAQ’s and 24/5 online support.  However, there is a paid version (single educator) for $75 per year that provides several additional benefits.  For instance, (1) the ability to review and moderate questions before students see them; (2) the ability for the instructor or students to comment on questions or ideas; (3) data analytics (event or account) that can be viewed, analyzed or shared; and (4) the ability to export data to Excel or PDFs.  You may find these additional benefits are worth the investment.  If your school has available resources, there are also department and institutional education pricing plans.

To learn more about Sli.do, visit https://www.sli.do/.  The Education (EDU) Plans (free and paid) can be found at https://www.sli.do/pricing?plan=edu.

Also, the following links are short videos that can help you get started:

Sli.do Questions:  https://www.sli.do/features-questions

Sli.do Polls:  https://www.sli.do/features-polls

Sli.do Ideas:  https://www.sli.do/features-ideas

Sli.do Analytics:  https://www.sli.do/features-analytics

Sli.do Switcher:  https://www.sli.do/switcher

Sli.do Integrations: https://www.sli.do/features-integrations

Sli.do/Slack Integration:  https://www.sli.do/slack-intergration

©2019, Teaching and Learning Toolbox