All Posts By

Michael Christie

Summer Reading Recommendations – Summer 2022 Newsletter 1

Summer 2022 Connections Newsletter 1 – Summer Reading Recommendations

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges of teaching and learning during the Fall 2021 semester. Between now and the end of the Fall 2021 semester, we will be sending periodic emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.
This week, we are sharing our favorite books about teaching, learning, and life. Summer is a great time to catch up on your reading! Here are some of the eLDIG team’s current favorite reads.

What is the eLDIG Team Reading?

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

Mark DeLuca recommends this book for anyone exploring checklists! The author looks at ways that checklists can be used to communicate information more effectively in a world that seems oversaturated with content that people do not seem able to take in.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Renee Ford recommends this best-seller. James Clear provides concrete advice for changing your habits. This book is full of practical strategies for forming good habits and breaking bad ones. His website includes some helpful resources that are available for free.

Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen

Emily Baxter loves how this book breaks down the fundamental concepts of instructional design in a visually engaging way. Have fun exploring ways to improve your own learning and better engage your audience – whether you are teaching in a classroom, presenting at a conference, or writing a blog post! The first edition of the book is also available online through the Penn State University Libraries.

Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein

Matt Mignogna recommends this New York Times Bestseller. The authors of this book explore why people make bad judgments – and how we can all make better ones.

Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning by James Lang

This book is a favorite of many members of the eLDIG team. James Lang shares evidence-backed recommendations for small changes that can be made in your classroom to build community and help students retain more information. The first edition of this book is available as an e-book through Penn State Libraries: https://catalog.libraries.psu.edu/catalog/19435958.

What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching by Tracie Marcella Addy, Derek, Dube, Khadijah A. Mitchell, and Mallory E. SoRelle

This book is part of our Smeal Academy Summer Book Club! If you are interested in reading along with us, you can find an e-book in Penn State Libraries. We love all the practical suggestions in the book for creating inclusive classrooms.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • Smeal Academy Summer Book Club Kickoff Session
    In this session, we will provide an overview of the book, What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching and talk about our goals for the summer book club.Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://psu.zoom.us/j/710269538?pwd=THlOeHlobTRFbmtTL2RoZG1VbjNGZz09.

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our SmealTLT Website.

Contact Us

Email us at: smealtlthelp@psu.edu or fill out the eLDIG contact form and we will be in touch.

End of Semester Tips – Spring 2022 Newsletter 4

Spring 2022 Connections Newsletter 4 –  End of Semester Tips

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges of teaching and learning during the Fall 2021 semester. Between now and the end of the Fall 2021 semester, we will be sending periodic emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.
This week, we are sharing some tips for wrapping up your courses at the end of the semester. Hang in there! We are almost at the end!

FOUR End-of-Semester Tips

  • Encourage students to complete the SRTE.
    Penn State’s Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence has provided several strategies for improving your SRTE response rates. These include:

  • Make sure your Canvas grades are prepared for LionPATH.
    The following steps will ensure that your Canvas course is set up to successfully load your grades into LionPATH. As always, reach out to eLDIG if you would like to walk through the process with someone on our team.

  • Reflect on what went well and what could have gone better.
    HThe end of the semester is the best time to reflect on your semester. Everything that happened (or did not) is still fresh in your memory. This is a good opportunity to note resources you may want to add or eliminate; instructions that should be tweaked; ideas for new activities; or challenges you want to reflect on before the next time the course runs. The following list provides some good jumping-off points for reflection:What were some of your favorite moments of the semester? What happened that you would like to avoid in the future?What happened that you did not plan for?What did you do in the classroom to help students feel like they belonged? What more could you do in the future?With what activities and/or resources were students most engaged? When were they the least engaged?

    What surprised you about the students’ behavior?

  • Celebrate!
    Though this time of year is busy, make it a point to do something to acknowledge and celebrate the end of this semester. Maybe you go out for a meal to celebrate with colleagues or family, or perhaps you schedule time to quietly reflect on the end of this semester before beginning the next. Whatever you do, remember that there is power in marking the passing of time and celebrating milestones.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • Smeal Academy Session: Microsoft Bookings Lunch & Learn
    Join us for a Microsoft Bookings Lunch & Learn facilitated by Jessie Sorensen and Carrie Marcinkevage. Several members of the Smeal College of Business utilize MS Bookings for admissions, coaching/advising, and individual appointments. Participants are invited to share their tips and tricks for maximizing MS Bookings’ value and use. If you have some MS Bookings success and tips, please come share and learn from peers! Join us Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 12-1 PM EST via Zoom.

Please note that rather than a first-time training for MS Bookings, this facilitated sharing session assumes basic knowledge and use.

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our SmealTLT Website.

Contact Us

Email us at: smealtlthelp@psu.edu or fill out the eLDIG contact form and we will be in touch.

Spring Cleaning – Spring 2022 Newsletter 3

Spring 2022 Connections Newsletter 3 –  Spring Cleaning for Your Courses

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges of teaching and learning during the Fall 2021 semester. Between now and the end of the Fall 2021 semester, we will be sending periodic emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.
This week, we are sharing some spring cleaning tips for courses and Canvas spaces.

THREE Spring Cleaning Tasks Worth Tackling Now

  1. Create a Canvas Master Course for your Spring Cleaning
    A Canvas Master course can be used as a space to clean up and prepare your course in a space other than your live courses with LionPath enrollments. Are you worried that your students might see changes, or do you need a place to make changes in between semesters? Request a Canvas Master course and then import course content to make your changes in a more secure editing environment. Another great use for Canvas Master courses is to import, save, and organize content from previous semesters.
  2. Delete Old or Unneeded Files
    One common issue in courses is that there often are several files no longer in use and/or the Canvas “Files” tab is cluttered or disorganized. You can delete Canvas files and you also can organize and move your Canvas files. Note that if you’d like to delete multiple files, you can do that: From “Files,” if you click one item (or folder) in the right-side menu, and then press CTRL+A or Apple/Cmd+A, you can then press the delete key to delete everything selected. It is much faster than going one by one.
  3. Review Your SRTEs and student feedback
    Have you taken the time to review the feedback received from students? Take a moment to look through your SRTEs and other student feedback (student emails with questions, anecdotal comments, your own student evaluations for feedback). Reflect on the information you have received. Are there any trends or common issues that should be addressed before the next time your course is offered? Make a list of what you’d like to keep the same, change, and/or remove based on your feedback and experiences. Check out this article outlining 10 Ways Faculty Can Support Student Success if you’re looking for inspiration or guidance.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • Smeal Academy Session: Inclusive Classroom Practices
    Join Jamie Campbell and Olivia Lewis from Smeal’s Office of Diversity Enhancement Programs as they share tips and strategies to make our classes more inclusive for Smeal’s diverse student body. We will discuss five specific things everyone can do to promote a feeling of belonging in our classrooms. Join us Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 12-1 PM EST via Zoom.
  • Smeal Academy Session: Microsoft Bookings Lunch & Learn
    Join us for a Microsoft Bookings Lunch & Learn facilitated by Jessie Sorensen and Carrie Marcinkevage. Several members of the Smeal College of Business utilize MS Bookings for admissions, coaching/advising, and individual appointments. Participants are invited to share their tips and tricks for maximizing MS Bookings’ value and use. If you have some MS Bookings success and tips, please come share and learn from peers! Join us Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 12-1 PM EST via Zoom.

Please note that rather than a first-time training for MS Bookings, this facilitated sharing session assumes basic knowledge and use.

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our SmealTLT Website.

Tips of the Week

  • Tip #1: Course Announcements. Consider using announcements for course communication to inform the entire class about something. It is easier to use than course mail for sharing global information – but you have to tell students at the beginning of the course to check announcements frequently!
  • Tip #2: Remind students to enable Canvas notifications.
    To ensure students are receiving Canvas notifications, show them how to enable them. The default settings in Canvas do notify students of announcements right away, but they might miss discussion notifications because those are set to be “off” by default.

Resources

How to Set Up Your Grading Scheme in Canvas

How to Set Up Your Grading Scheme in Canvas

This video explains how to set up your Grading Scheme in Canvas. You can choose conventional, pre-made grading schemes that are commonly used in Penn State, or you can choose to create a custom scheme which is great for finer adjustments and allowing for the possibility of rounding.

Finalizing Your Canvas Gradebook

Finalizing Your Canvas Gradebook

This video explains how to finalize your students’ grades in Canvas. There are three important recommendations in the video:

  1. All grades should have a numeric value in them. A dash ( — ) will count as a zero in the final grade calculation, it will not remove that assignment from overall grade calculation.
  2. Make sure all hidden grades are visible to students. Whether a grade is visible to students or not won’t affect the student’s true grade, but it does allow them to fully understand why they earned the grade they did.
  3. Export the grades in Canvas to an Excel document and check to make sure that students’ listed “Current Grade” is the same as their listed “Final Grade.” If these numbers are not the same, then there is an issue somewhere in the Canvas Gradebook that will need to be troubleshooted.

 

Pulling Final Grades into LionPath from Canvas

When your semester grading is complete, please consult these resources that cover how to upload your grades from Canvas to LionPATH.

Creating a Compatible Penn State Grading Scheme

In order for LionPATH to successfully pull your grades from Canvas, you first need to create a grading scheme in Canvas with these same letter grades. Then you must activate that grading scheme. If you use the default grading scheme in Canvas or any other letters (e.g., C-) in a scheme, LionPATH will not successfully pull grades from your course. Penn State has created a learning path to walk you through that process.

Preparing Your Final Grades for LionPath

Using LionPATH to import your grades from Canvas is a multi-step process that requires that your Canvas Gradebook is complete and accurate. First, prepare your grades in Canvas. Then verify the accuracy of your grades using a .csv export file. Once you have completed those steps, you have two methods for entering our final grades in to LionPATH.

Penn State has created a Knowledge Base article that describes these steps in detail.

The following video may also be helpful:

If you need any further support with this process, please tell us about your needs so we can begin a conversation!

If you need immediate support, please email eldig@smeal.psu.edu.

Resources

We recommend our April 9, 2020 Smeal Academy Session about Grading and Assessments for more in-depth discussion of assessment and exam strategies, including proctoring options.

Penn State Websites

WE ARE…Grateful – Fall 2021 Newsletter 5

Fall 2021 Resilience – Newsletter 5

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges of teaching and learning during the Fall 2021 semester. Between now and the end of the Fall 2021 semester, we will be sending periodic emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.

thankful to be stuffed with knowledge

November is the month of gratitude. Here in eLDIG, we are often grateful to work with amazing staff and faculty to create courses that make a difference to our students.

In our work, we can get tired and stressed. In some ways, in this pandemic era, we have more pressure on us than ever before. Mitigating that stress and pressure can be achieved by practicing gratitude. When someone asks what we are grateful for we think of family, friends, opportunities, etc. Gratitude is something that we accept we should do, but that we rarely talk about how to do. When someone practices gratitude, what do they actually do each day? It is really just about the small things. Someone might:

  • Say one small thing they are grateful that happened in their day before a meal
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Include an act of kindness in your life each day
  • Look up from your phone or work and notice the beauty in nature each day
  • Avoid negative media and movies with destructive content
  • Commit to one day a week when you won’t complain about anything
  • Say thank you for the little things others do for you, things you normally take for granted.

Conlon C. (nd) 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude, Lifehack

Gratitude in Teaching and Learning

A growing body of groundbreaking research shows that gratitude has the power to heal, energize, and transform lives by enhancing people psychologically, spiritually, physically, and cognitively. Gratitude can impact focus and resilience in class and when experiencing difficulties. Wilson (2016) found that “when students intentionally practice gratitude toward learning, they tended to report better focus during class, while studying, or taking an exam. This increased focus may be linked to a more positive attitude about learning as well as a reduced stress level. Since college academics often produce stress, these findings are worth considering. Energy that might be taken up feeling stressed or anxious may be able to be redirected to focusing on and making sense of new information after a student mindfully chooses a grateful spirit. Another benefit for students who intentionally practice gratitude is experiencing added strength to sustain effort when learning feels challenging. This resilient spirit is rooted in students’ appreciation that challenges can help them grow as learners. Thus, rather than closing down one’s mind when faced with challenges, a student with a grateful spirit may view those challenges as an opportunity to learn.” (p. 9)

With this in mind, we can be role models and consider embedding gratitude practices into the classroom. A study by Howels (2014) found that when teachers embed this practice it has positive impacts in areas of relationship between teachers and students. Thereby increasing student wellbeing and a positive atmosphere. Some gratitude activities you could try in the classroom include:

  • Model gratitude yourself
  • Start the day with positive affirmation
  • Have students make a social media post about something they are grateful they learned in class that day
  • Thank a student when they make an excellent observation of the materials in class
  • Provide opportunities for students to show gratitude to peers in their class
  • Ask students to complete one act of kindness in their day, and to tell you how that went
  • Celebrate students’ growth and achievement in class
  • Encourage student independence
  • Ask a student to describe why and how they expressed gratitude
  • Have students reflect on the past, express gratitude and recognize their changes over time

With our own gratitude practice at the heart of our pedagogy, we create the right environment for gratitude to flourish.

Howells, K. (2014). An exploration of the role of gratitude in enhancing teacher–student relationships. Teaching and Teacher Education, 42, 58-67.
Howells, K. (2004). The role of gratitude in higher education. Research and Development in Higher Education, 27(2), 164-173.
Wilson, J. T. (2016). Brightening the mind: The impact of practicing gratitude on focus and resilience in learning. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 16(4), 1-13.

Current News

Canvas Training Sessions available through ITLD

Penn State IT Learning and Development is offering Canvas training sessions via Zoom on a variety of topics, from designing effective content to empowering students to collaborate using Canvas groups. Join them in for one of these upcoming sessions:

November

Canvas: Transition your Canvas Course to a New Semester
Thursday, November 18, 10 a.m. ET
Identify essential and recommended tasks to complete at the beginning and end of each semester.

December

Canvas: Empowering Your Students to Collaborate Effectively Using Canvas Groups
Wednesday, December 8, 11 a.m. ET
Learn to identify how students can use Canvas Group Tools to collaborate with peers.

For more information or to register visit the ITLD page here.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • Smeal Academy Session: The Finish Line – Strategies for Ending the Semester Strong As we approach the end of the semester, there’s so much to do to ensure a smooth and successful finish. Come for a discussion about some practices and time-saving tips to end the semester strong! We’ll explore tips related to Canvas, grading, student communication and feedback and more. Please feel free to enjoy your lunch while we meet. Join us Monday, November 15th from Noon–1 via Zoom: https://psu.zoom.us/j/710269538?pwd=THlOeHlobTRFbmtTL2RoZG1VbjNGZz09

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our SmealTLT Website.

Tips of the Week

  • Tip #1: Make sure that important dates and information are provided in multiple modalities, such as on Canvas, in the syllabus, and on slides or other visual means of communication.
  • Tip #2: Check in on your students’ understanding. Use a minute paper, exit tickets, and online discussion forums or social annotation tools to check for students’ understanding after class. If you discover after class that students did not understand a key course concept, take time to review it at the start of the next class session.
  • Tip #3: Encourage students to engage with the course and collaborate virtually. Many of the tools that instructors use when teaching remotely can be brought into the face-to-face classroom, allowing students to interact with each other virtually while in the same space. These tools also allow instructors to monitor student work in real-time and offer feedback and guidance.

Rice University (nd) “Can you hear me in the back?”: Strategies for teaching (and learning) while wearing a mask.

Resources

Helpful Websites

Website

Check out the eLDIG website for more resources and support.

Contact Us

Email us at: course-support@smeal.psu.edu or fill out our Remote Teaching Support form.

Learning Analytics Tricks and Treats

Link to Session Slides

Interactive Trick-or-Treat Map

Learning Analytics Tricks and Treats

Come trick or treating with the eLDIG team and collect some creative basic learning analytics treats to inform and guide our teaching and learning efforts. We have several doors to knock on from the Canvas house to the Zoom family…. and we may even check out what the Top Hat home is giving out this year. You never know what tricks might be up our costume sleeves or what haunted houses we’ll need to avoid as we wander through the analytics neighborhood. Join the fun as we collect some trick or treat loot (hopefully, there’ll be at least one or two full-sized candy bars)! Costumes are optional (though you will see many in this presentation)!

Helpful Resources

Edit Out Time From Zoom Recordings in Kaltura

This video explains how to edit out time from the beginning, middle, or end of your Zoom recordings through Kaltura’s built-in video editing tool. If your class doesn’t start or end correctly due to some technical issue, or you accidentally pull up some sensitive information during class that you don’t want saved in the final recording, you can edit all that out before sending it to students!

Once you have edited your video, information on how to send that to students can be found below.

Helpful Resources

Videos, Pedagogy, and Kaltura (oh my!)

Link to Session Slides

How to Enhance Pedagogy Through Video and Integrate Video into Penn State’s Learning Systems

In this Smeal Academy session, we discussed numerous ways to enhance pedagogy through video. All of these pedagogical methods are supported by survey data and best practices. After this, we discussed how to manage your individual video libraries through platforms including Zoom, Canvas, and Kaltura. We also discussed the specifics of accessing, editing, sharing, and embedding videos and Zoom recordings.

Helpful Resources