Keeping track of resources

SO MANY things online about how to teach online. Why did my team bother to try to make something??? Seriously – there are so many available. The biggest problem is keeping track of them and curating them into a sensible organization.

So – here’s a running blog of resources I need to track.

ACUE’s Online Teaching Toolkit

The ACUE’s Online Teaching Toolkit

Good resources and videos about:

  • organizing a course
    • create a predictable weekly rhythm
  • being welcoming
  • microlectures
  • providing rubrics
    • Make the first formative quiz, discussion worth less points so they learn what you expect
  • holding online discussions
  • assigning self-reflection assignments (I am a BIG believer in these)


How to Be a Better Online Teacher

Blog post, How to Be a Better Online Teacher,  by Flower Darby in the Chronicle. Read the full post, but here are her 10 basic points:

  1. Show Up to Class
  2. Be Yourself
  3. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
  4. Organize Course Content (think like a student) – don’t make it hard to find things! Be consistent
  5. Add Visual Appeal – we don’t have to do this in a classroom, but you do online
  6. Explain your Expectations – be really clear about what students are supposed to do, especially with into level courses. Have the first dicussion/quiz worth less so they learn what you want
  7. Scaffold assignments – build up to the big assignment
  8. Lots of examples. Convey content in several ways
  9. Make Class a nice place to be. Set class behavior norms
  10. Continuous improvement – be open to suggestions, get feedback from students


Mountain View College’s Best Practice for Online Teaching

An open Canvas course with solid concrete, practical information about how to teach online. Good use of student videos talking about the different points.

Grading Participation

Interesting conversation about how and why (if!!) we should grade student participation.  Participation is usually graded by how much the student speaks up in class and how many days the student attends class.

My opinion: this is a skewed way of looking at participation.

I don’t feel comfortable in discussions if I might be thought to be wrong, or if there’s someone who is dominant.  I don’t like to speak up in large groups even to ask a question unless I know the people well.

So many students have reasons not to participate in discussions we can’t even list them here.

First point: if you are going to use participation as a place of grading, then you need to have several options. It cannot just be how many times a student speaks up in class. You are grading on behavior and personality, not on growth. We’ve seen in this era of emergency remote learning that students who were otherwise reluctant to speak up in class may be communication more in written discussions. That should be rewarded as much as the student who speaks up in class.

Second point: reconsider rewarding participation by using a self-assessment. Have it be growth, not some predefined rubric. This concept comes from an article about a new way to conceptualize how instructors grade participation by Alanna Gillis, Reconceptualizing Participation Grading as Skill Building.

Third: is participation really something to grade? Shouldn’t achieving course objectives be the point? If a student has already mastered the material, should they really have to come to class every day? Here’s another article about using student contribution to the collective knowledge as a way to measure participation: Assessing Student Participation  by Sritama Chatterjee