Ever wondered about additional features in Word or PowerPoint but weren’t sure where to turn? Online training about Microsoft products is available to all BU faculty and staff. Learn more about this training at www.bu.edu/tech/training/online/microsoft/
Professors are often reluctant to introduce active learning in class for fear that they will not have time to cover the content. In his Introduction to Epidemiology class, Wayne LaMorte has used online technology to flip the classroom. His course website consists of learning modules, including video, for students to absorb content outside of class time, taking a “pre-quiz” to demonstrate they have retained the content. This process freed up classroom time to explore more complicated topics in greater detail: class time could be spent on discussion of controversies and problem-solving (both individual and team-based). After class, students would then take a more detailed “post-test”.
Students reacted with enthusiasm. 98% of the students “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the online modules were a significant aid to teaching. Their comments included: “Given that I had already taken more advanced epidemiology courses, my main engagement with the course was through the online modules. This provided an excellent way to accommodate people with different levels of experience who could learn at different speeds.” “Did not find I needed to use the textbook. The online modules were more than enough to understand the material.”
Prof. LaMorte developed the online modules using SoftChalk software. SoftChalk is currently being offered to School of Public Health faculty through the Office of Teaching, Learning and Technology. Faculty. Faculty at other schools may be able to take a similar approach using other available technologies such as Echo360, Digication and Blackboard.
Welcome back to BU! The fall semester is in full swing, and we are working in many ways to help you with technology in your teaching. We have partnered with the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching on their newly expanded list of Teaching Talks, which are now each paired with a Teaching Tech Talk. These seminars are excellent places to think about enhancing your teaching and the role can technology can play in the process. We will kick off the series on September 18. CEIT will present a Teaching Talk by Domenic Screnci at 10:30 on instructional design, followed by a Teaching Tech Talk at noon introducing new technologies and our educational technology team. This will be a great opportunity to discover new technologies you might not have known about, and think about how they can make your teaching more effective. You can register for this talk and others now. You can also see a complete list of our packed schedule of Teaching Talks and Teaching Tech Talks for the fall.
If you’re curious about ePortfolios and would like to learn more about the uses they can have in your classrooms, or you’d just like to get some hands-on tips about how to put them together, then check out our brand-new resource: the portfolio about portfolios. This site is an ePortfolio just like the ones you can create, but full of helpful information about why ePortfolios can help your classes and how you can put portfolios together. It also includes detailed help on the Digication system’s newer and more advanced features, like the Organizer and Courses. Have a look!
In collaboration with the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching, IS&T is happy to announce the faculty have been selected for the Blackboard Learn pilot. There are 21 faculty across the schools and colleges and about 35 courses. These courses all include undergraduate and graduate courses and large (largest at 900) and small class sizes (smallest at 10). There is a great collection of teaching styles that the steering committee feels will be representative of BU as a whole.
There is still a lot to do but we know this pilot will help shape our new learning management system. We will gradually phase out Blackboard 8 to make way for the new and improved Blackboard Learn.
You can expect to see updates and workshops on the project coming from CEIT over the next few months.
BU mechanical engineering professor Lorena Barba has used several new technologies to transform the classroom experience, integrating iTunes, digital inking, screen casting, and blogging. Her classes often “flip” the classroom – that is, they deliver course content outside of class and refocus in-classroom time on discussion and activity – and allow a blended learning experience, where discussion and activity also happens on the Internet as well as in class.
Using a USB connected graphical tablet and her laptop, Barba was able to annotate her Keynote & Powerpoint slides to derive, in real time, solutions to complex mathematical operations. Further, using a screen capture application and a simple microphone, she recorded the lectures which were then posted for download through iTunes. Lectures for Fluid Mechanics (ME303), Bio-aerial Locomotion (EK131/132), and Computation Fluid Dynamics (ME702) can be subscribed to and downloaded from Boston University’s iTunes U page via iTunes or the iTunes U mobile app. Barba’s innovative courses were recognized among the Top 30 iTunes U Engineering Courses by the Degree Central (2010). Some of her courses have student blogs that allow dialogue about the course materials, screencasts, and Skype interviews.
At the First Annual Instructional Innovation Conference, Barba presented a paper describing the technology and techniques used for Digital Inking and Lecture Screencasts, which can be watched via screencast on YouTube. More information about Barba can be found via her people site, her research group, and at the BU:ENG-Mechanical Engineering website.
Across BU, many professors have adopted Digication ePortfolios to make student learning visible. With the help of a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation, the College of General Studies (CGS) has taken the further step of integrating ePortfolios across its entire curriculum, for both freshmen and sophomores. CGS provides students with a two-year interdisciplinary general-education core curriculum from which they may continue into any of BU’s other undergraduate programs. Students’ ePortfolios include work from each of their CGS classes in different academic disciplines. This makes it easier for them to integrate their learning and create the interdisciplinary reflections that put their work together across different fields.
CGS’s ePortfolio program also facilitates assessment at the program level. CGS uses ePortfolios to assess students according to a rubric, based on models developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The College assesses its students’ progress in seven areas: (1) written and oral communication, (2) analysis and documentation of sources, (3) awareness of historic and cultural contexts, (4) understanding of rhetorical and aesthetic conventions, (5) critical thinking and perspective-taking, (6) quantitative skills, and (7) integrative and applied learning. The portfolio-based assessment process provides both quantitative and qualitative data, offering richer and more nuanced pictures of student progress than standardized tests could.
Welcome to the Educational Technology Blog, a showcase for faculty technology innovations across Boston University’s campuses. Here, you can expect to find both announcements about up-and-coming technologies at BU, and case studies of new and exciting ways that faculty around BU are using technology to further their teaching and research goals.
Posts on this blog will be placed into categories according to both the specific technology or software package (such as Blackboard) and the broader genre or style of educational technology that it is a part of (such as learning management systems). On the right, you’ll see a list of all the genres and technologies we’ve posted on so far, and the schools where they’re used. Feel free to click these and explore what you’re interested in. We’re just starting, so there aren’t many yet – but you’ll see more soon!