Schoology First Impressions

19467848_b63feca025_mSurprised by Schoology

As mentioned last week, I’ve moved to Schoology as my LMS (Learning Management System) for my courses this semester. I am teaching a total of four groups across three separate courses which means I put two groups of the same course (Fundamentals of Programming using Python) together.

The biggest win for me so far has been the engagement of my students in discussing the out-of-class assigned videos/readings/activities.  I use a modified WSQ system (Watch/Summarize/Question) but please see Crystal Kirch’s (@crystalkirch on Twitter) explanation on her blog.

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Engage Students with Facebook

Facebook image, click image to see original at Flickr
Facebook for Your Classes. Photo credit, click the image.

Go where they are: Facebook

A long time ago I was able to engage my students via newsgroups (nntp) or the forums in Moodle or Blackboard. Lately getting students to post on the forums in my LMS has become a chore.

So I decided to try something different last semester and “go where they are”: Facebook.

This worked amazing well. Engagement of my students in discussions outside the classroom exploded.

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Sign My Syllabus

Blurred image of students "signing" the course syllabus.
Blurred image of students “signing” the course syllabus.

Did you read the syllabus?

Often the syllabus for courses is an exercise in formality of creating a document that we are required to make and ensure students are aware of its existence.  Very rarely do the students actually read the document until they find a motivation to go back and look at it.

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Smile for your Students

SmileBack to Engagement

I wrote about engagement before and how important that is. In my experience I have had the best success in reaching my shy students by getting to know them at some personal level. I like to ask questions like “where did they go to high school”, “what sports do you play”, “what do you read”.

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Engage Your Students

Kathy Cassidy with a student
Kathy Cassidy with a student

This afternoon I received an email from one of my students of the typical “I am really embarrassed to ask you and this is probably a dumb question” type.

You know the type of question, these tend to appear sometime after the first exams when students feel stressed about their marks and are looking for guidance on how to move forward.

This time of the semester is also when students have that awkward feeling of “it is too late to say I have no clue about your course, have not read the book nor installed the software on my laptop that I need”, “the teacher is going to explode if I tell her/him that, so I better just hide and hope the problem goes away”.

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