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young woman staring at a computer screen with a look of frustration on her face

In an Edsurge article by Jenny Abamu, she notes that one of the biggest misconceptions following Millennials is that they are digital natives. Students at a New Media Consortium Summer Conference (NMC) pushed back on the generational generalizations, noting that assumptions regarding their attitudes, hobbies, and abilities are hurting them academically.

I did not know how to use headers, footers or page number in Microsoft Word, so I got five points off every essay for an entire semester. - Alyssa Foley, Student

Jenny goes on to say that Alexandra Pickett, the Director of New York State University’s Center for Online Teaching Excellence, noted that many of her students know how to use online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook for fun, but have no idea how to leverage them for academic and professional use. This is a point the students at NMC echoed.

The students said that in order for their educational institutions to better serve them, it is important to challenge the assumption that students are digital natives.

While the EdSurge article's results were from surveying Millenials, anecdotal evidence shows that the same holds true for Gen Z students. That is, Gen Z is savvy about using social media personally. However, they are not as savvy about how to use tech tools academically or professionally.

Instructors can help students learn the basics for the tools that will be used in their course by providing them links to how-to resources.

Did you know that we have a list of Brightspace how-to resources for students on our CAT FooD blog? You can find the Brightspace how-to’s and other help resources at the following links:

Brightspace help for students
Brightspace video tutorials for students
Help students get started with Google Docs (video)
How to add headers and footers in Microsoft Word (video)
Using Google Drive Video Playlist
Using Google Docs Video Playlist
Using Gmail Video Playlist

Here's an example of how you might include how-to instructions for a discussion forum in your Brightspace course:

example of a Q&A discussion forum
Example of Q&A discussion forum with instructions on how to post to the forum

In this example, instructions for the Q&A forum are provided along with instructions on how to post to the forum as well as a link to a how-to video.

Including information on how to use course tools will go a long way to helping students to be successful in your course.

Image credit: image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

girl in front of a computer with her head in her hands

Many students enroll in online courses because they can take online classes at times that are convenient for them and from the comfort of their home. Some students mistakenly think that taking an online class is easier than taking its face-to-face counterpart and they underestimate the amount of time they must invest in taking the online class. When in fact, taking an online class requires students to be self-directed learners.

It is important for the instructor to set the tone for the online course to help students succeed. In a Faculty Focus article, Amy Hankins provided five suggestions to help students succeed in an online course. Those suggestions are,

Provide detailed instructions and anticipate questions – Don’t assume students will be able to read between the lines.

Post Announcements – Show students you are present in the course by providing reminders, clarifications, and overviews to help engage and motive students.

Provide examples and rubrics – This will help to minimize questions and confusion.

Utilize differentiated instructions – Provide students multiple opportunities and formats for learning, including videos, audio lectures, and project choices that help engage and encourage learning for all students and preferences.

Encourage peer support and engagement – Allow students to get to know one another by using an introductory assignment and encourage students to connect throughout the course.

For more information, read Five Ways to Help Students Succeed in the Online Classroom and check out our CAT+FD Online/Hybrid Instructor Resources.

Photo Credit: image by Concord90 from Pixabay

checklist

Our Educational Technology Community (ETC) had a special guest presentation this past Friday. Dr. Amanda Helm, Assistant Professor in the Division of Business, demonstrated to our virtual participants how she uses Self-Graded Checklists in Blackboard, along with the adaptive release feature, to help students "grade" their work before they submit it.

Dr. Helm posts a quiz she has developed based on the instructions and rubrics she gives to students for each assignment.  The students must complete this quiz before they are able to officially submit their assignment.  When the student answers the quiz questions, they receive automatic feedback in order to improve their work before submitting, as well as an estimation of the letter grade they can expect to receive.

A variety of quiz questions are asked, depending on the project.  They may be as simple as "How long is your single-spaced typed paper?" and "How many sources did you cite?" or more complex in nature, asking content questions which are dependent on the assignment.

To learn more, here is the guest link to the virtual presentation.  It's recommended that you choose to watch the mp4 version:

https://blackboard.xula.edu/webapps/bb-collaborate-BBLEARN/recording/launchGuest?uid=9769e94d-9f6c-4c37-a3a2-ada950fbbcdb

Dr. Helm reports that her students are submitting better quality work by taking this 5 minute assessment before they can officially post their assignments.  She also says that the students have told her that they make adjustments to their work after receiving the quiz results and that her students don't mind taking the 5 minute quiz before being able to submit their work.

Thank you Dr. Helm for sharing this great idea with us!