Second Online Teaching Forum Proceedings Available

The second Online Teaching Forum, hosted by the College of Professional Studies, was held October 20, 2011. These proceedings are available as follow-up guides.

Session 1: Thinking Critically about Online Learning

Professor Steven A. Meyers shared his ideas on “Civic Engagement and Social Justice in Online Teaching.” Meyers discussed that this means moving beyond simply creating student awareness of issues and toward calling them to action and activism. Meyers offered several examples, such as registering to vote, reaching out to elected officials, and promoting public awareness.

Professor Carolyn Wiley offered a framework for creating online courses, which included 1) creating a friendly and energetic learning community, 2) planning the entire design upfront, and 3) including regular and meaningful assessments. She also shared her inclusion of lectures via audacity. Wiley also requires students to take a Blackboard training course with RU Online.

Associate Professor Michael A. Bryson detailed his experiences “From the City to the Farm: Pedagogy and Logistics of Field Trips in Online Courses.” Fields trips enrich student learning by building community and providing hands-on experiences to complement online or in-class discussion. Bryson also offered ideas on alternate virtual field trips, for those who cannot attend in-person.

Session 2: Practical Ideas for Innovative Teaching

RU Online Distance Learning Specialist Lynette Washington and Director Kristin Broadwell shared the newest features of Blackboard 9.1, which Roosevelt will be upgrading to in the Spring 2012 semester. Washington also shared that training–both online and in-person on each campus–is available prior to the start of the semester.

Associate Professor Amanda Putnam presented information on online peer review, which can help improve the quality of student papers. While reviewing the work of another student, students find themselves reflecting on the quality of their own work.

Within Blackboard, rather than using formal groups or discussion board forums for peer review, Professor Putnam uses the PeerMark feature within TurnItIn. PeerMark helps to automate and control the process: instructors can assign pairs or have PeerMark distribute pairs randomly. To learn more about PeerMark, Professor Putnam recommends that instructors take the free, recorded training webinars available from TurnItIn. Access the webinars and then scroll down to the PeerMark group.

Librarian Geoff Greenberg shared his experiences in the Embedded Librarian program, which is available for all online courses. Despite the best intentions of everyone concerned—instructors and librarians– students enrolled in online courses with embedded librarians rarely took advantage of the help available to them, until the Research Guides and guided worksheets were introduced. As shown in the accompanying figure, research guides provide students with a path to locating and evaluating pertinent research. He would like to add an assessment or feedback portion to assure that the Research Guides are achieving their goals. Other ways in which embedded librarians have contributed to online courses:

  • Online, instant-message chats with students
  • Conducting research/writing forums within online courses

For more information about incorporating embedded librarians in your course, please contact Geoff Greenberg at

Associate Professor Vince Cyboran also shares his ideas on enhancing online teaching with easy-to-use technologies. This is a bonus presentation!


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