Enhancing the Classroom

Online Classroom Enhancements

The online classroom is different than the onground classroom. However, there are many different and unique features that can be used to enhance the online environment.

 Simple and Basic Enhancements:

  • PowerPoint slides
  • Links to other places like YouTube, Vimeo, TEDTalks, GodTube to have your students watch and discuss
  • Use the integrated GoToMeeting tool in Blackboard to meet 1-on-1 with students or conduct real-time web conferences.
  • Narrated PowerPoint slides
  • Google Chat- a free video conferencing service that you can use to link 5 people together at a time using web cameras.
  • Lecture supplements that you provide to your students.
  • Texting between students and instructor
  • Use the Remind 101 text messaging service to send text message updates and notes

 Other Creative Enhancements:

  • Weekly 2-3 minute video feedback that you record and post online that your students can meet, hear, and receive critical feedback from you.
  • Create a weekly 5-minute Podcast of your lectures. OKWU is an iTunes University and we have the ability to upload lectures.
  • Skype is a free video conference system that you can set up to talk between you and your students. Go to www.skype.com for more information.
  • GoToMeeting is a free video conference system that allows you to conference with colleagues, students, and see each other. Sessions can be recorded for re-viewing
  • Create a class Blog
  • Create a class Wiki
  • Use a Delicious account to gather and research various methods of data.
  • After the class is over, ask your students to be on Facebook and continue a relationship with them
  • Ask your students how they learn and find ways to engage them.

Suggestions from Faculty

Faculty Candidates in 2014 provided these suggestions on how they would like to enhance their own classrooms:

  1. Instructor-made videos to enhance your Welcome message, to share information, and bring a personal touch to interactions
  2. Use the Chapel Forum, encourage prayer requests, worship, praise, and thanksgiving. Pray for fellow classmates. (Subscribe to this forum so you are aware of posts immediately.)
  3. Ice-breaker games: Jeopardy; 3 Facts and then guess who said it; Wheel of Fortune Game, etc., on specific topics
  4. Online tool (or app) related to the course discipline, “Wellness Tracker” for nursing discipline, nutrition course; YouVersion Bible App.
  5. Live Online Blogging or Chat function coupled with a lecture, video, film, or other event; compile questions from the Chat forum and provide responses
  6. Social bookmarking, such as Delicious, so student can share their favorite resources with their peers
  7. YouTube and GodTube – take advantage of the variety of ways we can use YouTube to share content with our students (i.e., mashups, instructor videos, reviews, clarifying content, etc.)
  8. Create Classroom Community – Use the Chat Forum to create a sense of community, getting to know students, and sharing information that might otherwise not come up. Use this resource as an instructor to learn more about your students.
  9. Post Professor’s Office Hours, accessibility and contact information; maintain a quick response time for student questions, and hold synchronized chats with students. (Subscribe to the General Questions forum to be notified immediately via email of any posts in this forum.)
  10. Give Grace – Keep in mind the adult students, and provide grace when appropriate
  11. Develop a rich Welcome Forum – sets high expectations, creates connection. Include ice-breaker activity, incorporate identified humor (with emoticons)
  12. Student Resources – Ensure students are aware of the multitude of resources available (learn what is available to connect students with appropriate support).
  13. Faculty Resources – Make use of all Faculty Resources to take advantage of all offerings of the AGS Dept. and Blackboard
  14. Incorporate instructor videos with weekly announcements, and provide supplemental email content to students to ensure they have all the resources needed to meet Learning Objectives and Activities.
  15. Add geographical, historical, and social information to the courses. This can be accomplished through a variety of methods, including:
  16. Create lectures to upload and include supplementary notes in the weekly lessons folder
  17. Add narrated PowerPoint slides including notes, maps and pictures of Israel, archaeological finds, models of the temple, an Israelite 4-room house, etc.;
  18. Provide links to pictures and articles (i.e., Jewish Virtual Library, holylandphotos.org, Jerusalem.org), perhaps through a Delicious Account; and
  19. Encourage at least one weekly kinesthetic activity (i.e., measure the size of Noah’s Ark outside, create a map of Egypt/Israel, celebrate the Passover, make a model of the Temple).
  20. Offer synchronous sessions through Skype or Zoom, to answer questions before those involved begin a discussion or debate of the module.
  21. TEDTalks (https://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector), incorporated into curriculum.
  22. Create PowerPoint or Prezi presentations to enhance student learning. A picture truly is worth a thousand words, and slides with pictures and graphs can enhance the reading and discussion posts.
  23. Upload short lecture podcasts to reinforce ideas that have already been covered in discussion forums, or to deliver visual information that might be missed by auditory or visual learners.
  24. Use “Zoom” to demonstrate our commitment to shaping a positive environment of shared purpose. Zoom is a shared meeting space, for synchronized discussions. Schedule two optional Zoom meetings in Week 1 to create a sense of community, introductions, Q & A. https://www.zoom.us/.
  25. Use Zoom for weekly meetings, creating two days/times to accommodate student schedules. Encourage students to use Zoom for Learning Team collaboration.
  26. Narrated PowerPoints, can be saved for students to replay at their convenience, incorporating visual, auditory and kinesthetic aspects.
  27. Grade using a resource that appears to be handwritten. Explore Turnitin as a faculty member, and you will find a variety of grading techniques that may include this feature. Turnitin also includes an oral feature wherein you can speak your feedback to students.
  28. Download an app from iTunes, Teleprompt+, which allows you to view your script while recording your video on iPads.
  29. Seek advice from mentor or peers, and ask for peer reviews on what enhancements have worked previously.
  30. Use VARK-learn.com website’s free survey for students to complete and report preferred learning styles. Use the recommended bullet points to meet different styles (Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic).
  31. Use the Journal tool for reflective review of weekly learning
  32. Create a wiki for the class to add content that supplements course learning and comprehension.
  33. Trial one enhancement, and then perform an after-action review to see if the enhancement was worthwhile.
  34. Explore text messaging apps to keep in touch with class: Remind101 and GroupMe are two options.
  35. Search EBSCOhost for relevant articles and embed hyperlink in DQ responses.
  36. Create Groups for Discussions, with each student summarizing the DQ’s concepts discussed in their group to ensure students grasp the concepts. Have students serve as “DQ Leader,” summarizing the weekly DQ posts and responses for the class. Rotate this role to each student.