In Summer 2020, CITT was tasked by the eLearning Advisory Committee to create a resource faculty could use when creating or adapting assessments to be taught in an online, hybrid, or hyflex format. Because so many faculty across the institution are moving their course materials online, many for the first time, we wanted to create a resource that could guide them through the process and showcase examples from other UF faculty.
2020 threw a lot of us into the deep end of educational technologies and tools, leaving many with a sense of barely treading water. Now that you’re more familiar with these tools, consider how a focus on usability can help these tools improve the teaching and learning experience. In honor of the upcoming World Usability Day—a celebration of user-centered and universal design for better experiences using technology in class, at work, and at home—here are some usability tips that can minimize barriers and improve learner experience.
At the Teaching TechXploration event held on October 29, 2020, we had the pleasure of recognizing the 2019 UFIT Exceptional Course Development Award recipients. In case you missed it, our winner was VEM5321 Integrating Veterinary Medicine into Shelter Systems, a team-taught course developed by Drs. Julie Levy, Cynda Crawford, Brenda Griffin, Sarah Kirk, and Ms. Chrissy Sedgley from Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program, with instructional design support from Ms. Ariel Gunn. The team demonstrated a commitment to continuous improvement and innovation through multiple cycles of course refinement and creation of high-quality multimedia teaching materials. Student feedback highlighted appreciation for the frontline perspectives and authentic assignments that engaged them in a highly reflective application of course concepts to their future professional lives.
Creating a strong sense of community in the online learning environment is an important aspect of ensuring student success. To do this, you’ll want to create a sense of belonging, ensure there are opportunities for engagement and interaction between the instructor and students, and provide students the opportunity to track their progress and assess their deficiencies.
Graduate students play an important role in supporting UF’s teaching mission. Research has shown that when graduate students teach there are benefits to both the graduate students and their students. But ensuring those graduate student instructors have the support and resources they need to be successful in the classroom is no small feat. When Dr. Barbara A. Zsembik, the department chair of Sociology and Criminology & Law, reached out to find ways to support graduate students teaching SYG 2000 we were excited to help.