Strategies to Keep Students Engaged Online

Three students working on laptops.

Zoom alone is not enough to keep students engaged in class, especially with everything that’s going on in our world today and all its distractions. Students are used to getting information quickly and in a thrilling fashion. The challenge for instructors now is creating this engaging environment, oftentimes with limited time and resources.

Five Tips for Creating a More Accessible Course

Minimize barriers and improve learning for a diverse population of students with these five quick tips for improving the accessibility of course material.

Show Off Your Students’ Learning with Portfolios

Dog with paws on keyboard

The instructors I work with uniformly want students to learn the course content, but even more than that they want students to become self-directed learners who can succeed in the workforce after they graduate. Promoting metacognition, or thinking about one’s own thinking, helps students acquire skills and keep learning beyond a course’s end date. Online portfolios as course assignments can be an effective way to promote metacognition and prove to employers just what your students are capable of.

Not sure where to begin? There’s a template for that.

University of Florida CITT Start Here template course site dashboard tile in Canvas

Whether you’re new to Canvas or an expert user, setting up a learner-centered course from scratch can be a little daunting! CITT provides Canvas course templates that faculty can use as a starting point to set them—and their students—up for success.

SPSS Statistics and Sample Power for your Statistical Needs

Improve your statistical skills to become a better researcher

Are you in need of statistical help? SPSS Statistics is a comprehensive application for analyzing data that can be used for the Social and the Natural Sciences. SPSS is easy and makes statistical analysis more accessible for the beginner and more convenient for the experienced user. Learn how to import files, display reports with tables and charts, plot distributions and trends, perform data cleaning/preparation, and carry out basic/advanced statistical analyses. Simple menus and dialog box selections make it possible to perform complex analyses without typing a single line of code. Sample Power is a robust software to estimate the needed sample size for your study. Some departments require the power analysis of the statistical test for your proposal approval.

Microsoft Teams Training

A person holding a phone while opening the Microsoft Teams application.

Looking for a one stop shop for collaboration, chat, meetings, audio, and file sharing? Microsoft Teams is your answer!

Ideas for How and When to Experiment with Instructional Technologies

A woman using a VR headset in front of a computer

Congratulations on transitioning online! I know many of you have had to learn more about online pedagogy and teaching technologies faster than you may have wanted, but you all have risen to the challenge and conquered it. So now that you have your basic structure for your course online, you want to add technology to increase student engagement and to facilitate learning. How do you decide what technologies you should use and when do you take a chance to experiment?

Expectation Setting for Synchronous Online Office Hours & Classes

Laptop that is on a table with a mug in front of it

Whether you’re approaching synchronous online sessions from the emergency remote teaching perspective for the first time or have facilitated an online learning environment for a while, you may have questions surrounding best practices.

Synchronous/Asynchronous - Doesn't have to be dichotomous

A dog in front of a computer

Whew! You did it! You managed to transition your Spring and/or Summer courses online. Along the way you had to quickly learn what synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning in an online environment looks and sounds like.

Inclusive Teaching has Never been More Important

Inclusive teaching is always important, but it is especially urgent during times of uncertainty and increased stress. The move to remote learning can be an opportunity to look at your course with fresh eyes and identify ways to prioritize inclusion and make your course more welcoming to a diverse range of learners. I’ve collected a few strategies to consider.

Exemplary Online Award: Exemplary Courses in 2020

Blue background with confetti

At CITT, we aim to help subject matter experts (SMEs) create courses they will be proud of. We spend up to a full semester working with each SME, meeting regularly to review materials, provide feedback, schedule recordings, and coordinate building the site in Canvas. It’s not unusual for an ID to spend up to 80 hours on one course, but this is often dwarfed by the time many SMEs invest when bringing a course to life.

Instructor Resources to Help Prepare Courses for Fall—Ready, Set, Go!

Flourish to Fall

The fall 2020 semester start date has been pushed to August 31, 2020, giving instructors approximately two months to design courses in formats suitable for safe delivery during the pandemic. I have been impressed with the response from several offices on campus that have offered their support to instructors—from eLearning Support’s (eLS) instructor help and Zoom guides, to Center for Instructional Technology and Training’s (CITT) workshops and consultations, to Center for Teaching Excellence’s (CTE) #NoWallsTeaching movement—even from a distance, we’ve remained connected!

Building the new UF Preview: 4 weeks, 9,000 students, and a lot of caffeine

Preview course home page

Imagine trying to make a good first impression on 9,000 students and families! New Student and Family Programs (NSFP) is tasked with this every year when they offer UF Preview, a two-day new student orientation. In response to COVID-19, NSFP had just four weeks to redesign and build UF Preview in an online environment and deliver it to all Freshmen, PaCE, and Transfer students and their families.

Perusall: New #EDTECH That's Worth Your Time

Overview of Perusall

How do you facilitate and assess reading in your classes? If this tends to be a struggle, you might consider a collaborative eReader, Perusall, that lets students mark up their assigned readings with questions or comments and auto-grades their participation.

Student Engagement Strategies in Zoom

Video still of dogs

As learning happens remotely to keep us safe, Zoom has been a lifeline that allows us to connect in real time. Zoom is an especially useful tool to convert lecture or discussion heavy courses to an online environment, but it can be hard to keep students engaged when human interaction is mediated through a screen. Here are some engagement strategies to consider as you plan your Zoom conferences.

Remote Recording Best Practices

Recording studio

Traditional video production requires equal amounts of artistry and technical wizardry--not to mention years of experience, access to high-end filming equipment, and a team of crew members gathered to make it all happen. So, what do you do when all of those elements are off the table? Over the past few months, our team has attempted to build a working model for remote recording to safely produce high-quality video content.

Silver Linings: Celebrating Dedication, Collaboration, and Discovery

Two women looking at a computer

Adapting services to support the University of Florida’s nearly 6,000 faculty and 57,000 students in a remote teaching environment in the span of a single week required a deep dedication to instructional excellence, commitment to collaboration, and a willingness to try something new.

Everyone Benefits from Asynchronous Lectures

Felines are life-long learners too! Photo by Neringa Šidlauskaitė on Unsplash

Wow, what a semester we have had this spring! It has been a semester marked with change, uncertainty, but ultimately, adaptation and perseverance. Despite our sudden shift to remote work and classes, the Gator community has pulled through by adapting new technologies and techniques to continue our work toward student success.

Transitioning to Teaching Online: Out of the Frying Pan…

A frying pan over a wood-burning stove

…and into the fire. We all know the expression…and transitioning a course to online quickly is a challenge, there’s no denying it! CITT typically plans an entire semester to develop an online course, so we understand that many instructors are feeling enormous pressure to adapt quickly to teaching online due to COVID-19. That’s why I’m writing to explain a couple of ways we are here for you.

Welcome to the New CITT Website!

Lake Alice

We’re excited to introduce you to our new website that represents all four services offered by the Center for Instructional Technology and Training: Academic Media Production, Instructional Design, Training, and Web & Graphic Services.