Kathleen Spadaro, Ph.D. Nursing

Overview

Although the nursing program has been delivering their undergraduate and graduate programs online, I (Nursing) feel the need to continually learn how to challenge the online learner to capture and keep their attention on the content.   I worked with Prezi as a tool to introduce new MSN students to an introductory course that provides the foundation for their learning.  I have been using Panopto in a introductory DNP course, Structure of Knowledge, to define and explain knowledge concepts for a foundational basis of their learning.  With a pilot International MSN track of students from China, I developed a Facebook page for them to post pictures of their cultural experiences and travels throughout the US.

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Planning Process

I wanted to provide a different introduction to the introductory course in the newly developed fully online MSN program.  I discussed this with Lauren Panton and decided to explore the use of Prezi because I liked combining symbols with content, movement or connection between concepts, and adding voice explanation.  I spent several technology sessions playing with the software to become more familiar with it.  I then decided what content I wanted to share with the students as an overview of the course.

Implementation

The implementation of the project took some time.  I would recommend having the content be pre-determined and organized to develop a flow from concept to concept.  If you forget a concept, you need to go back, add the new content, and recreate the flow.  I started with picking a design for the Prezi and how I would lay out the content.  I wanted to have content that I could “drill down” from, to add more detail as well as the larger picture for the students to understand both the broad and the underlying  concepts.  I also wanted the final part to end at the beginning.

Adding the content was not too difficult except I would come up with more to add as I went along.  That was a creative process in play which I enjoyed.  The final part was adding the voice description to each of the components.  At first I thought that I just recorded the audio as the Prezi moved through the different components.  However, I found that was not the case.  That part took a while because each of the descriptions was recorded, saved, and then attached to the concept being discussed.

Successes and Challenges

The success was developing a visual overview of the course for the students to introduce them to evidence-based practice.  There were several challenges.  The first was the time it took to record comments and attach them to the components.  However, once I got the hang of it, it became a much easier and faster process.  The second challenge was embedding it into Moodle.  I needed help from Lauren Panton to get it to work for the students.

Assessment

Although there was not a specific assessment of this component to the course, the overall feedback from students was very positive that they had a much stronger knowledge base on evidence-based practice and the role that research plays in the development of evidence-based practice change projects.

Perceived/Determined Value and Next Steps

I do believe that as professors, we need to combine educational strategies to address the different types of learners.  In an online program needs to be diverse in its delivery, thus the need to supplement readings and discussions with visual tools to re-enforce learning.  Next steps will include using VoiceThread for discussion forums, adding brief quizzes using Whiz Quiz to these introductory courses to increase students’ ability to master APA formatting and writing and adding virtual poster sessions using Glogster.  I want to add more technology tools to the DNP introductory course to engage the new DNP students early in their educational process.

Sheryl St. Germain, Ph.D. Creative Writing

Overview

My primary objective was to enhance and improve my teaching with technology, and to be able to share whatever I learned with the MFA faculty.  Secondary objectives were to learn to use Prezi to create more vibrant presentations both to promote the MFA program and to utilize in our hybrid classes.

Planning Process

I wanted to be able to respond more fully to student work.  I read a lot of papers and usually comment on them in written format.  Sometimes I use “track changes,” but I sense students just glaze over those.  I wanted to find a technology that would allow me to respond orally to their pieces.  I also wanted something very easy to use.  I wanted to be able to record my comments, save them, and email them to the student or make them available via dropbox.

I reviewed five or six technologies over the course of several months that allow you to record comments.  I found the one that was best for my purposes is called Voice Memo.  It is extremely easy to use; you simply press a button; and allows you to record quite a bit.  There are apps available for cell phones as well as iPads.  You can mail directly to student when you are done or save somewhere like Dropbox.

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I also worked on my secondary technology, Prezi, at this time, over a period of several months to create two presentations.

Implementation

In Spring of 2014 I used Voice Memo in lieu of written comments to respond to students drafts in my graduate level Nature Writing course.  The students loved it, and I got lots of positive comments from them.  I also developed a Prezi to use in the Virtual MFA Open Houses, and another one to use on a stand-alone lecture on the Lyric Essay, which I used at a recent literary festival in Mississippi where I was invited to do a Master Class on the Lyric Essay.

Assessment

I received positive comments from students in my class and I felt positive about using Voice Memo. I found that I was able to say more in 5-7 minutes, than I could write in that same time period, and I was able to present critiques in a more friendly way so that students’ next drafts seemed much improved.  I could tell they were listening very carefully to my comments.

My Prezis were also quite successful both at our Open House and at the literary festival in Mississippi on the Lyric Essay.

 Value/Next Steps

I will continue to use Voice Memo in all of my classes, and encourage my faculty to use them.  I am much more comfortable with Prezi now, and can design courses and help faculty design courses using this technology.

Karen Kingsbury, Ph.D. International Studies

Overview

Over the course of the year, I investigated and experimented with several technologies, with the following results:

  • iPad as digital reader
    • useful for this purpose: will continue to use it
    • reduces financial and resource (paper) costs
    • access to other readers’ highlighting of a given text is an interesting feature
    • it’s best to stick with reputable publishers because the quality of digital text-publishing varies widely; many products are sub-standard due to poor editing and page enumeration.
    • iPad as mobile computing device
      • useful for note-taking during oral sessions and for short travel (2-3 days)
      • does not, so far as I can tell, offer enough features to replace MacBook for office use and longer trips
      • VoiceThread as asynchronous audio-visual discussion forum
        • useful, well-received addition to my online teaching strategies: will definitely use it again
        • breakthrough learning technology, offering something that often cannot be achieved in traditional classroom teaching: opportunity for each participant to speak and be heard by every other member of the group.
          • two-round VoiceThread discussion (thank you, Katie Cruger, for this great idea!):
            • each student makes initial post of a defined length
            • all students required to listen to all initial posts, then
            • refer to them, in a second post.
        • Setting up assignment parameters and deadline schedule requires careful thought, but the result is satisfying to all concerned.
        • Skype and Google Hangout as platform for international videoconferencing
          • Skype  performed much better than Google Hangout
            • ease of use
            • clarity of readily available trouble-shooting instructions
            • international conversation partners’ existing level of familiarity with the technology (our partners were in India and Taiwan)
  • Skype would also be first choice when talking to people in China, due to the Chinese firewall that complicates use of Google products.
  • Prezi as a presentation tool

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    • This tool, for me, is closer to a new medium (e.g., hypertext, animation) rather than a formatting or packaging tool (e.g., Word, PowerPoint), because it fosters visual thinking about rhetorical issues that, in my thinking and training, have previously been centered in and by verbal text.  Its panoramic, zoom, and pathway features offer concrete correlatives for abstract rhetorical concepts like introduction, paragraph development, topic ordering and transitioning, conclusion, etc.  Thus, it feels to me as though Prezi has prompted a quantum shift in my own understanding and practice of written and oral argument.  It opens up new areas, channels, and even modes of thought, much the way a new language does.
    • It was a student who first introduced Prezi  to me, and many students share my excitement about this product, even though one might think it would not be so startlingly new and inspiring for people who have grown up in an environment filled with digital, visual-media communication tools and (flip side of the coin) do not have decades of training in verbal-text thought pathways that now can be so productively disrupted and reconfigured by this new medium/tool.
    • In fact, the first big negative result came when a student grew so excited by the opportunities afforded through this tool (and by the topic she was pursuing) that she lost sight of the necessary limits: her Prezi  project ballooned into a behemoth that exceeded the assignment limits by a full magnitude (yes: 10x).
    • Thus, the first big lesson (not a new one, to be sure) is that caution and heedfulness, as well as energy and imagination, are needed when using a new tool (or medium) like this one.
    • This is a proprietary tool and Chatham does not currently have a site license, but the business model, cost, and subscription policies seem reasonable to me.
    • Downloading is possible but remember that the files may become very large, which may impact both the time needed to download and the storage space needed on a drive.

Planning Process

  • Desired Outcomes:  Effective, engaging presentation of ideas and materials, for scholarly and classroom presentations
  • Review of Current Technology Practices and Trends: Prezi  seems to be an increasingly popular, and well-received tool.
  • Clarify a Technology’s Teaching and Learning Value: Prezi  seems to be a flexible, convenient, inspiring tool

Implementation

  • Offered Prezi  to students as an option for presenting project results in Fall 2013 online course
  • Used Prezi  to prepare for a Faculty Seminar presentation in February 2014
  • Plan to develop several Prezi  presentations for use in Fall 2014 courses

Successes/Challenges, Assessment, Perceived/Determined Value and Next Steps

I am still using and experimenting; may have fuller comments to report here at the end of the summer.