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A conversation between Pamela Waldron-Moore (Xavier University of Louisiana) and Bart Everson (CAT+FD) on teaching, learning, and a just transition.

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Pamela Waldron-Moore is Professor of Political Science at Xavier University of Louisiana, where she has taught since 1998. She also has the distinction of being named the Leslie R. Jacobs Endowed Professor in Liberal Arts Education at her institution. She holds a Ph.D. in political science with specialization in comparative politics and international relations. She has taught a range of courses at the university level in the Caribbean and the United States. Her teaching and research expertise lies in exploration of themes related to the political economy of development, industrialized democracies; international political economy, international law and politics, gender inequality, climate justice, knowledge economics, democratization, global citizenship and African feminisms. The idiographic breadth of her focus includes Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America; Eastern Europe, and the Southern United States. Empirically, race, ethnicity, gender, class and culture are at the intersections of her analyses on perceptions of environmental risk, economic insecurity, gender inequity and strategies for reimagining an international economic order in pursuit of global social justice. She is published in several peer reviewed journals and is an annual contributor to discourses on transformative pedagogy. She is trained in the implementation of mental health practices and approaches to restorative justice within the academy. Growing up in Georgetown, Guyana, she has served as a career diplomat representing her homeland at the United Nations and the Court of St. James, London. Her hobbies are global travel, poetry, elocution, and exercise with Zumba. She has received Keynote Speaker awards for invited addresses to women’s leadership organizations and won the prestigious 2018 Jewel and James Prestage Mentorship Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists.

Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths.


Links for this episode:

Transcript:

Coming soon!

clipart of laptop screen with online assessment document

A common question in online learning is “How do we keep students from cheating in online exams?” A shift from traditional means of assessment (quizzes, tests, exams) to authentic and alternative assessments is critical in virtual settings.

If faculty try to assess their students the same way they did in a face-to-face setting, they will most likely find themselves frustrated, as well as frustrating their students.

In a recent Faculty Focus article, Laura McLaughlin, EdD, and Joanne Ricevuto, EdD, provided some recommendations to improve the use of assessments in virtual environments and decrease concerns regarding cheating. Their recommendations are:

  1. Allow choice in assessments: Let students decide how they will demonstrate their learning.
  2. Authentic and stackable assessments: Students should be told why they are assigned a particular assessment, and why it is relevant to their learning.
  3. Trust students: Provide alternative assessments (not quizzes and tests) where the concern of cheating is off the table.
  4. Frequent feedback and communication: Provide feedback that helps learners improve their learning.

Teaching in a virtual environment creates an opportunity to rethink your practices, try something new, and embrace deeper and more engaging ways of assessing students without using lockdown browsers or worrying about students cheating.

If this has piqued your interest, you can read more in this Assessments in a Virtual Environment: You Won’t need that Lockdown Browser! article.

Did you miss our (Re)Thinking Exams workshop? If you want to learn about ways you can challenge your students to demonstrate what they've learned while teaching in an online environment, watch this (Re)Thinking Exams workshop recording. In this workshop, Dr. Elizabeth Yost Hammer and Dr. Jay Todd discussed and demonstrated ways that focused active learning activities can be used in place of more traditional methods of assessment like quizzes and tests.

The sudden shift to remote learning has led to concerns about new opportunities for students to engage in unauthorized shortcuts. Last spring, three academic integrity and STEM professionals from the University of Maryland Global Campus, a primarily online institution, shared research on academic integrity in online courses, strategies for promoting integrity in remote learning environments, and examples of how content learning is achieved in any setting designed for online education. ICYMI, here's a link to the Proactive Approaches for Academic Integrity in Remote and Online Learning workshop recording.

Image credit: image by mohamed_hassan from Pixabay

laptop screen with image of Zoom meeting with gallery view window open

Many faculty are teaching remotely as a result of the pandemic. One topic related to teaching remotely that comes up often is student engagement during Zoom class meetings. Instructors who meet their students synchronously through Zoom want to know that the students are paying attention and are engaged during the class session. Some instructors feel that for student engagement in a synchronous class they should force the students to turn their cameras on during the class meetings. This article by Karen Costa, a Faculty Development Facilitator, explains why it is a really bad idea to force students to turn their cameras on from a trauma-awareness and equity perspective.

Are you looking for ideas for student engagement in Zoom sessions that do not require you to force your students to turn their cameras on? In an article posted on LinkedIn, Karen Costa provides some practical strategies that can help you to engage your students in a Zoom session. A few of her strategies are:

  • Encourage students to use non-verbal feedback including raise/lower virtual hand, answer yes/no to questions, speed up/slow down, and emoji reactions (clapping hands, thumbs up).
  • Ask informal questions throughout the session and encourage students to use the chat to engage with you and their peers.
  • Use formal and/or informal polls.
  • Embrace the pause. Pause during the class session to give students time to think and answer.
  • Invite students to share out via audio and or audio/video in addition to answering in the chat.
  • Teach students how to be on-camera in a Zoom session (e.g., lighting, background, virtual background, mute/unmute microphone).
  • Normalize the fear of being on-camera.
  • Try using breakout rooms.
  • Make the chat the heart of your session.
  • Set the tone for engagement from moment one.

If this has piqued your interest, you can read more about these strategies in Karen’s Making Shapes in Zoom article.

Also, we have Zoom how-to resources on our CAT FooD blog. You can find links for the Zoom how-to resources here:

Photo credit: “Zoom call” by Compare Fibre from Unsplash

The “Work To Do” widget is a new feature implemented in our May Continuous Delivery Update. The Work To Do widget was designed for learners and it displays all their overdue and upcoming learning activities across courses or within a course. This widget can help learners to keep track of assignments and activities that are due.

Now, all quizzes, assignments, checklists, etc., with due or end dates in the near future or past appear in one place on the learner’s My homepage in the “Work To Do” widget. Overdue work appears at the top of the list, and upcoming items appear below.

Example of the Work To Do widget
Example of the Work To Do widget

Learners will see the “Work To Do” widget on their My Home page as well as their course homepages. The learner will be able to see overdue and upcoming learning activities for each course where the default course homepage is being used.

Example of the Work To Do widget with no activities due
Example of the Work To Do widget showing no activities due

The Work To Do widget can be seen by users with the role of student. Instructors will see the Work To Do widget when they view the course as a student.

Note: Instructors who have opted to customize their course homepage and want their students to be able to see the Work To Do widget on their customized course homepage, will have to add the widget to the course homepage.

For additional information and frequently asked questions about the Work To Do widget, see the following article in the Brightspace Community: Introducing the Work To Do Widget.

Want more information?

Brightspace Tip #50: Customize Your Course Homepage
Homepages and Widgets
Design a Course Homepage with Widgets (pdf)

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Continuous Delivery release notes
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

African American using laptop and mobile phone at the same time

James M. Lang has written a series of articles for the Chronicle of Higher Education on distraction and attention in higher education. The articles draw from his new book, Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It. In his book he makes a compelling argument that rather than thinking about how to ban distractions you should focus on creating learning environments that support and sustain attention. If this has piqued your interest, you can find his series of articles on distracted minds at these links:

Photo Credit: #WOCinTech Chat / CC BY 2.0

Would you like to congratulate your students for a job well done or give them a nudge when they might need to work harder -- without having to do a lot of extra work to make it happen? The Brightspace Intelligent Agents tool can help automate this process for you.

security camera

Intelligent Agents allow instructors to delegate some of the course communication and notification tasks to the system, based on specific triggering activities in the course. Intelligent Agents can be used to both recognize student achievement and warn of potential problems. For example, you can use Intelligent Agents to:

  • Check for users that have not logged into the course
  • Check for users that have not logged in within a specific number of days
  • Notify users with grades below a certain level
  • Congratulate users with grades above a certain level
  • Check for users that view a specific content topic

The automatic notifications that are generated when specified course performance criteria are met can be sent to instructors, advisors, and/or students.

Repetitive emails may lose their effectiveness, so use Intelligent Agents sparingly. Consider using Intelligent Agents when there isn't a better way of communicating. Ask yourself,

  • Would an announcement work better?
  • Would a personally crafted email work better?
  • Would a discussion board posting work better?

If the answer is no, then consider using an Intelligent Agent!

Follow these steps to do it.

To create an Intelligent Agent:

Want more information?

Intelligent Uses of Intelligent Agents
Intelligent Agents Tool Quick Reference Guide (pdf)
Create an Intelligent Agent (video)
View and Edit the Schedule of an Intelligent Agent (video)
Delete and Restore Intelligent Agents (video)
Perform a Practice Run for an Intelligent Agent (video)
Manually Run an Intelligent Agent (video)
Brightspace Tip #237: Release Conditions

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Continuous Delivery release notes
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image credit: image by stanvpetersen from Pixabay

signal lights

Release conditions allow instructors to create a custom learning path through the materials in their course. When a release condition is attached to an item, users cannot see that item until they meet the associated condition.

For example, instructors can setup release conditions to:

  • Require students to complete an activity (e.g. Syllabus Quiz, Introduce Yourself discussion forum) before accessing course content.
  • Require students to obtain a certain percentage on an activity (e.g. 100% on Syllabus Quiz) to access content items.
  • Require students to complete a non-graded activity before accessing a graded activity.
  • Release an answer key to students who completed the assignment.
  • Require students to view a content topic before gaining access to a quiz.
  • Require students to post to a discussion topic before they can see a content module.
  • Release content based on a student's group enrollment to customize the content each group receives.
  • Require students to acknowledge they have read and agree to an honor pledge before releasing a quiz.

Release conditions can also be added to Intelligent Agents to create email notifications for users. For example, instructors can create an Intelligent Agent that would automatically send a reminder email to users who have not yet completed a required quiz or assignment in the course.

release conditions example
Example of multiple Release Conditions applied to a module

If you attach multiple conditions to an item, users must meet all conditions before they can access the item. For example, you could require users to visit the first three content topics in a unit before gaining access to an associated quiz.

NOTE: Once a user meets a release condition, the condition is cleared for that user and cannot be reset. For example, if you attach a release condition to a discussion topic requiring users to achieve more than 60% on a quiz before they can access that topic, and one of your participants receives 72% on the quiz but you adjust their grade to 55% they will be able to access the topic because they did meet the requirement at some point.

Want more information?

Getting Started with Release Conditions (pdf)
Adding Release Conditions
Create a Custom Learning Path in a Course
Customize Learning Paths Using Release Conditions (video)
Content - Attach a Release Condition (video)
Quizzes - Attach a Release Condition to a Quiz (video)
Awards - Add a Release Condition to an Award (video)
Best Practices for Setting Release Conditions
Intelligent Agents
Working with Groups

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Continuous Delivery release notes
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image Credit: image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay

push pin

The My Courses widget (on the My Home page) uses tile-based images to make finding your courses easier. Users can choose which courses they see in their My Courses widget by pinning and unpinning courses.

  • Pinning a course makes it appear in the My Courses widget.
  • Unpinning a course makes it disappear from the My Courses widget.
  • Pinning a course also makes it rise to the top of the Select a Course list and on the My Courses widget.

Search through all of your courses and manually pin and unpin courses to ensure that your most relevant courses are visible on the My Home page.

Follow these steps to do it.

To pin/unpin a course, you should:

  1. From the Minibar, click Select a course (i.e., the waffle icon).
  2. Select a Course

  3. Type the name of the course that you want to pin or find it by searching in the Search for a course field or scroll down to find the course.
  4. Click the Pin icon beside the course. The pinned course will move to the top of the Select a Course list and to the first position in the My Courses widget.
  5. pin/unpin course

  6. To unpin a course click the Pin icon beside the course.

Change the order of your pinned courses:

If you want to completely change the order in which your courses are displayed, unpin all your courses and then pin them in the reverse order of how you want them to appear in the My Courses widget. The course that is pinned last will appear first.

Want more information?

Pin courses to the top of the Select a Course list
How to Pin Courses (pdf)
How to Reorder Pinned Courses

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Continuous Delivery release notes
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image credit: Push Pin 2c by Arvin61r58 from OpenClipArt

update

D2L (the company that owns Brightspace) uses Continuous Delivery to update our Brightspace system. The Continuous Delivery model gives us regular monthly updates allowing for incremental and easily integrated changes with no downtime required for our Brightspace system.

Our Continuous Delivery update occurs on the 4th Thursday of each month. D2L provides release notes to help users stay up-to-date with the changes.

Here are a few updates in the May 2021/20.21.5 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Assignments – Annotations available for TXT file-based assignments

Previously, annotations enabled instructors to use highlighting, free-hand drawing, shapes, and associated commenting to provide feedback to learner assignments of the following file types: DOC, DOCX, RTF, ODT, PPT, PPTX, PPSX, ODP, XLS, XLSX, JPG, JPEG, PNG, TIF, TIFF, and GIF. Now, instructors can provide feedback for TXT, in addition to the existing types.

Note: The updates to annotations replaces the Edit a Copy workflow, which is no longer supported in the New Evaluation Experience.

2) Assignments – Download file when using annotations in the New Assignment Evaluation Experience

The New Assignment Evaluation Experience now includes the Download drop-down menu in the Annotations viewer. When using annotations in an assignment, instructors can use this menu to download the original file without navigating to the submission list. Instructors can also download the annotated PDF file.

The Annotations viewer with the Download drop-down menu
The Annotations viewer with the Download drop-down menu

3) Brightspace Editor – Improvements

This feature complements the Brightspace Editor – Replaces the HTML Editor | New and the Assignments – Brightspace Editor in the new Assignment Evaluation Experience | New features released in the April 2021 / 20.21.4 release and includes the following improvements:

  • Copy/paste and/or drag and drop images - You can copy/paste and/or drag and drop images when providing feedback in assignments, discussions, and quizzes. Images are saved in the content folder.
  • External users adding comments in Brightspace ePortfolio now have the new inline limited version of Brightspace Editor.
  • Inline limited version of Brightspace Editor in Brightspace ePortfolio
    Inline limited version of Brightspace Editor in Brightspace ePortfolio

  • Design improvements to enhance use of the Editor on mobile devices and improve general usability.
  • Accessibility improvements – Improved keyboard navigation for keyboard users and toolbar icons are spaced out more in accordance with WCAG standards.

4) Rubrics – Copy rubric criterion

To improve the value of Rubrics and facilitate reusing rubric criteria that have already been created, an action menu next to the criterion name provides Copy and Delete options. When an instructor copies a criterion, the new criterion is added under the original with the criterion name Copy of [name of original criterion].

The Delete function was previously available as a trashcan icon at the end of the criterion row outside the table. The new location in the action menu improves the discoverability of the Delete and Copy options.

The action menu beside the criterion provides copy and delete options
The action menu beside the criterion provides copy and delete options

5) Rubrics – Print or export to PDF

To improve the user experience with Rubrics, instructors can now print or download a PDF of a preview or evaluated rubric. Learners can also print or download a PDF of a rubric from the desktop browser implementation of Brightspace Learning Environment. The Print button displays above the top-right corner of the rubric.

6) Widgets - Work To Do widget

The new Work To Do widget provides learners a summary of assigned learning activities from all their courses that are overdue or have an upcoming due date. The widget was added to the Brightspace My Homepage to aggregate data from all courses, and to the default course homepage to show only due and overdue learning activities from the course.

The Work To Do widget displays the following learning activities:

  • Assignments
  • Checklists
  • Content
  • Courses
  • Discussions
  • Surveys
  • Quizzes

The Work To Do widget organizes course activities by overdue and upcoming due dates so learners can easily prioritize their work and stay on top of their tasks.

Example of the Work To Do widget
Example of the Work To Do widget

Learning activities only appear in the Work To Do widget when the activity has a defined due date or end date. By default, the widget displays activities due in the upcoming 2 weeks, and overdue work from the previous 12 weeks.

The Work To Do widget can be seen by users with the role of student. Instructors will see the Work To Do widget when they view the course as a student.

NOTE: If you customized your course homepage and you want your students to be able to see the Work To Do widget on your customized course homepage, you will have to add the widget to your customized course homepage.

For additional information and frequently asked questions about the Work To Do widget, see the following article in the Brightspace Community: Introducing the Work To Do Widget.

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the May Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform May 2021/20.21.5 Release Notes.

Additionally, refer to the Brightspace Release Notes for Continuous Delivery Releases, for details about current, past, and to preview upcoming continuous delivery updates.

Want more information?

View current, past, and preview upcoming Continuous Delivery release notes
View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image credit: image by geralt from Pixabay

Smart phone with Zoom app on the screen

The Zoom Video Conferencing software allows instructors to record classes and meetings to their local computer or to the Zoom Cloud Recording Storage. While some users may find recording to the Zoom Cloud Recording Storage to be easy and convenient, the Zoom Cloud Recording Storage was NOT meant to be a long term video storage solution.

Our Information Technology Center's current policy is to keep 2 - 3 semesters of archived Zoom cloud recordings in the system before the recordings are deleted. You may recall that earlier this month, ITC announced that Zoom cloud recordings that were recorded on or before December 31, 2019 would be deleted from the Zoom Cloud Recording Storage. Therefore, my suggestion for Zoom cloud recordings that you plan to use from semester-to-semester is that you download them and then upload the video recording to a video sharing service (like YouTube or Vimeo).

Everyone at Xavier has a YouTube account. Videos uploaded to your YouTube account will not be deleted. You can make your YouTube videos unlisted or private if you do not want people to be able to search the Internet and find your videos. You can embed or create a link to your YouTube videos in your Brightspace courses.

ICYMI, we have a site license for Camtasia. Camtasia is a tool for making videos by recording from your screen and camera. Camtasia can also be useful if you want to edit your downloaded video recordings. Read more about requesting a copy of Camtasia in Bart's You’ve Got Camtasia blog post.

Want more information?

Download Zoom Cloud Recording (pdf)
Record, Upload, and Share Video on YouTube
Private Video Sharing on YouTube
Embed a YouTube Video in a Content Module

Zoom How-to Resources for Faculty
Zoom How-to Resources for Students

View all the Brightspace training recaps
Instructors Quick Start Tutorial
Continuous Delivery release notes
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image credit: image by antonbe from Pixabay