Posted on Nov 19, 2018

Google Translate: Freund oder Feind (Friend or Enemy)?

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Google Translate Venn Diagram

Google Translate is an astonishing program. It converts words and even whole sentences back and forth from dozens of languages through multiple modalities; you can type, handwrite, scan, and even say whatever you want to communicate. Its accuracy—at least in French, German, and Spanish, the three languages that I...

Posted on Oct 10, 2018

Confessions of a SMECWID 3: Learning from the Other Side of the Podium

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Recently, I went back to school for the first time in 20 years. Although I was at the university every day teaching until about two years ago and have often taken adult-education courses, I hadn’t been a student in a class for credit since 1997. (In case you’re wondering,...

Posted on Jul 09, 2018

Confessions of a SMECWID 2: The Message in the Medium, or Thinking Outside the LMS

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In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and...

Posted on Jun 22, 2018

Confessions of a SMECWID 1: The Loss of the Live

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One must start from that which is barely knowable but knowable to oneself and try to know what is knowable without qualification, passing, as has been said, by way of those very things which one does know. —Aristotle, Metaphyics   As someone who does research for HotChalk’s Learning Design...

Posted on Jun 01, 2018

Teaching Controversial Materials in the Online Classroom: Forbearance, Turpitude, or Learning Opportunity?

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Two mouths fighting with tongues like fists

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” —Albert Einstein, US (German-born) physicist (1879 – 1955), no original source given   As news and social media make readily apparent today, almost any subject can be controversial. In fact, contentious debate...

Posted on May 16, 2018

Red Hot Boilerplate: How to Make the Start of a Course Interesting

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A riveted piece of steel, red hot.

Most online courses start with a section of boilerplate that outlines the structure of the program, the rules of the course, and provides other information that usually doesn’t vary much from course to course within a curriculum. With any luck, students will peruse the pages when they begin a...

Posted on May 14, 2018

Ideas About Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning

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Keyboard with icons people with limited mobility, hearing, and sight.

I. Introduction Universal Design for Learning (UDL) assures that online courses are accessible to everyone, including people who learn differently than others. Assuring that all students can take advantage of a course’s educational material is not only fair, it represents one of HotChalk’s core tenets: “Every mind matters.” 1....

Posted on May 03, 2018

Strategies for Cultivating Online Presence

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Teaching online is not like working with students face to face. Instructors cannot rely on real-time feedback, such as students’ reactions and classroom atmosphere, to judge the effectiveness of an activity or indeed an entire lesson. A successful online experience depends on finding other means to connect with students....