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!


Online Teaching Forum Offers Innovative Ideas

Professor Steven Meyers shared ideas on connecting course material to the social justice mission more actively via civic engagement.

RU’s second Online Teaching Forum was held by the College of Professional Studies this past Thursday, and it created, once again, many excellent discussions on innovative teaching. About 25 faculty and staff members attended the event. There were two panel sessions, in which faculty members from several colleges presented material on encouraging civic engagement, planning class field trips, and utilizing resources, such as an embedded RU librarian, and Blackboard 9.1’s newest features. The day ended with two roundtable discussions on social media and communication issues within the classroom.

Attendees listen to Professor Carolyn Wiley's presentation about frameworks for creating online courses.

Associate Professor Carl Zimring introduces Kristin Broadwell and Lynette Washington (from RU Online) for their presentation of Blackboard 9.1's newest features.

Specifics of each session will be posted soon via an online proceedings so that those unable to attend can also benefit.

ETSCPS Will Host Second Online Teaching Forum

The Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies announced it will host an online teaching forum on Thursday, October 20, 2011. The event will be held from 1-4pm in the Gage Building, and will showcase “best practices” within online pedagogy from various instructors. The CFP is below with more info.

The proceedings from the 2010 Online Teaching Forum are also still available.

Online Teaching Forum Proceedings Available

Assistant Professor Deb Orr actively took notes during the college’s first Online Teaching Forum and then generated these Session Proceedings, which briefly capture each presentation within the three sessions, as well as individual Q & A afterwards. Some presenters also shared helpful info via examples, a Powerpoint presentation, or their websites (below).

Session 1: Enhancing Teaching via New Applications

Vince Cyboran: Using ‘Screenr’ to Create Video Podcasts and Using Blackboard to Display the ‘Casts

Amanda Putnam: Enhancing Online Teaching with Jing

Session 2: Best Practices: Student Engagement and Communication

Kathy Iverson: Learning Contract, Learning Activity Report , sample Learning Activity Report, and Learning Activity Report rubric

Jennifer Sarno: examples of her “Words of Encouragement”

Tammy Oberg De La Garza: Building Community with Learners, and her FAQ for using YouTube within her classroom (students recording and uploading)

Session 3: Confronting ‘You Can’t Do That Online’

Carl Zimring, Mike Bryson, Maris Cooke: Field Trip Experiences in Online Courses

Mike Bryson: Chicago_River_Ecology

Vince Cyboran: Using Guest Speakers in a Fully Online, Asynchronous Course

Tana McCoy: Rapping with Offenders: The Use of Chat to Facilitate a Synchronous Interaction between Students and a Former Skinhead

New Online Teaching Certificate Offered

The Graduate Program in Training and Development is offering a new Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching. The first class is being offered this fall fully online: Online Teaching Theory and Application (TRDV 501), taught by Associate Professor Vince Cyboran. Contact Tara Hawkins, Coordinator for Training and Development, for more information or to learn which courses will be offered in the spring and summer.

First Online Teaching Forum a Success

Associate Professor Mike Bryson explains field trips that his online courses have taken.

RU’s first Online Teaching Forum was held by the College of Professional Studies last Thursday and was a great success. About 25 faculty members, both part-time and full-time, along with many staff members also involved in online teaching, attended the event. There were three different sessions which had a myriad of topics: new technology, positive professor-student communication ideas, and innovative teaching ideas (such as incorporating field trips and guest speakers within the online experience). Specifics of each session will be posted soon via an online proceedings so that those unable to attend can also benefit.

Assistant Professor Tana McCoy explains how she incorporated a chat between her online Criminal Justice students and a former gang member.

Part-time faculty member Jennifer Sarno shared the benefits of offering weekly "words of encouragement" to her online students.

Online Teaching Forum to be Held September 9

The Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies invites all faculty and staff interested in online pedagogy to its first Online Teaching Forum on Thursday, September 9, from 1-4 p.m. in the Gage 2nd Floor commons. The forum will focus on best practices in online teaching and will showcase the innovative pedagogy of faculty in the College of Professional Studies. Program details are here: 2010 Online Teaching Forum program. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Rebecca Dreyfuss at