On Thursday, February 27, 2020, CNDLS hosted the first Digital Learning Webinar of the Spring semester, “Discussions-Based Assessments.” Our facilitators were Assistant Director for Programs for Graduate Students and Faculty James Olsen and Senior Associate Director for Online Programs Susan Pennestri. They brought their wealth of knowledge and experience to the webinar, sharing a number of Georgetown-supported tools that can be used in your course:
Participants were also engaged in the chat, and offered their own approaches and assignments for discussion and collaboration, as well as (as always) a number of questions we didn’t have time to address during the webinar. You can watch the webinar above, access the slides, as well as the resources handout.
What equipment do students need to use these tools? Can they just use their phones or do they need something special?
For the majority of the tools, students can just use their phones: Canvas has an app for both iPhone and Android phones, which would allow students to participate in discussions, upload videos, and share documents that also live on their phones. Zoom, too, as an app for both iPhone and Android phones, as well as the capability to call into a Zoom meeting with a telephone number. VoiceThread, however, requires a computer browser, with at least a microphone. Students can access the Gelardin New Media Center in the Library and either use their equipment or borrow equipment.
How many people can we have in a Zoom meeting? Can we invite speakers or guests from outside of the GU community?
Second question first. Yes, external speakers or guests can participate in a zoom session; you just need to provide them with a link or a meeting room number. As for the capacity of Zoom, up to 300 participants can use Zoom at a time; for larger classes up to 500, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional capacity.
How do we ensure inclusivity and access in online spaces?
This is an excellent question. One of the best approaches is to use Universal Design for Learning principles (you can re-watch last year’s webinar on the topic, as well as access the very useful guide that was produced). The Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility office here at Georgetown also has a number of great resources to help and support you with your efforts. Generally, it pays to be prepared, but also to be flexible with individual student limitations and needs.
Some things to keep in mind, as presented during the webinar:
- Design for a diverse audience
- Use active learning techniques
- Be aware of implicit bias
- Foster belonging
Is there an easier way to track VoiceThread participations than manually going through the nightly digest email?
There is! If you log into VoiceThread, there is an Activity Feed that shows you the most updated comments. For more information on accessing the Activity Feed, see this documentation from VoiceThread.
We once again would like to thank everyone for their lively participation and invite you to mark your calendars for a special Digital Learning Webinar on Instructional Continuity on March 26th. The scheduled Domains and Project-Based Learning webinar will instead be taking place in April. As always, you can access all of the previous webinar recordings and blog posts at http://bit.ly/DLWebinarRecordings.