Baloo | Branch Out
"Go Beyond the Bearbones"
Perhaps you have a successful on-line course with great learning materials, assessment activities, and active discussions. But now you want to take it a step further so it is time to Branch Out! The following are ideas for you to explore as you dream about what your course could become – and if you don’t know how to get there, we are here to help create interactive multimedia components and other instructional elements to make it a reality!
These type projects can be used to present your lecture materials in a dynamic way, to reinforce concepts through engaging practice activities, and to provide creative assessment opportunities.
The website above shows you examples of 40+ different types of interactive media you can create. Some are better suited to review concepts, while some can be used as assessment tools. They are free and easy to embed in Canvas. Here is an example of a matching game that was created to review Theology definitions – there are 130 entries in this case, but only the number indicated in the settings will be used for a single game (randomly). In this example, the terms and definitions were written in Power Point and then those slides were exported as jpg images to use in the game.
The instructional design team can make these for you, but if you want to create them yourself, here is a brief tutorial on using H5P and adding the HTML code to Canvas.
Although we encourage you to look at H5P first since it is free and integrated with Canvas, sometimes you have a need that can’t be met with their tools. There are many other avenues, so just ask us and we will try to find the right match for your needs. This site is optimized for iPad use, but works on traditional laptops as well. In this example, a faculty member had a need for an interactive timeline – one that students didn’t just view, but could re-arrange and edit so it could be an assessment tool. After a student orders the events and adds descriptions, then a PDF is created to upload into Canvas. There are many alternative uses for this app and others on the site.
Adding video to your lessons is a great way to engage your learners, but you can take it a step further and make those videos interactive. There are tools that allow students to choose their own path through the video, integrate quick quizzes or polls during the video, and embed additional information by pointing to related websites or files at certain points in the video.
The H5P site that we previously mentioned has an interactive video tool. Perhaps the easiest tool to use for this purpose though is Kaltura, which is already integrated into Canvas and will add the quiz scores directly to your gradebook. Here is a page that explains how to use the gradebook feature: https://knowledge.kaltura.com/interactive-video-quiz-canvas-gradebook-user-guide
The Kaltura tool does have limitations though – it only allows a quiz to be added but perhaps you want other types of media. Here are some outside tools that you might want to explore:
Ed Puzzle: https://edpuzzle.com/
Play Posit: https://www.playposit.com/
Verse: https://verse.com/ (Also allows you to combine media and establish branching rules).
Advanced Interactive Tutorials
We have really only touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of creating interactive materials for your course. We want you to start dreaming of ideas! Sketch out your ideas and ask us how to make it a reality.
Some tools have a higher learning curve but with enough lead time, we can build modules for you using your materials or show you how to create them. Interactive tutorials often allow students to perform actions and see the results, manipulate images/text to check understanding, and provide guided step by step practice. Here are a few tools and examples – there are many more!
Today’s students use mobile devices on a regular basis – so why not take advantage of the platform to insert learning moments into their day? There are user-friendly tools to create mobile friendly lessons.
This site lets you design a series of screens that contain text, images, video, and more. You then receive a link so that students can review and interact with that information on their mobile device. (You can also embed the viewer in a web page.) The learning curve is pretty quick for this tool. Below is an example for second language learners learning about idioms: https://marvelapp.com/2e396ih
AppShed lets you create actual mobile apps that students can install on their smart phones. It takes a little longer to master, but we can help you! There are so many uses for mobile apps – from creating portfolios to designing interactive learning. Just scan the QR code to add the app to your home screen. Examples:
This code is for the Lambert book for Deaf kids.
This code is for Dr. Parton’s intro app.
There are many tools for creating eBooks. If you have a Mac, then iBook author is one you should explore. Otherwise, Book Creator is a great choice. You can either download their app to your iPad and create books on it or you can use their new on-line tool. Either way allows you to share an epub file so that students can add the book to their own iBooks shelf on their iPhone/iPad (or you can even distribute it via iTunes). The new online tool also allows you to create a private library and share a link so it is even easier. They are simple to make but you can include images, audio, and video. To illustrate, the Lambert book example previously shown was also created as an ebook instead of a true mobile app – the result is similar functionality with less design time. (https://app.bookcreator.com/books tutorial)
There are a wide range of augmented reality tools – perhaps when you hear that term you think of virtual glasses and holograms, but there are plenty of apps that don’t require specialized hardware or expense to let you add layers of interactive information or explore scenarios.
QR Codes allows students to scan a code and then see supplemental information you have created on a topic, typically a video. It is an extremely simple technique but is especially useful in blended courses. For example, perhaps you are running a chemistry lab – you can print out codes for each station or each step in the process and then the students scan it as they are working and can see a video demonstrating the procedure. Another scenario might be that students have created a poster presentation of a semester project and created a supplemental website with additional data and videos with more detailed explanations. QR Codes can be displayed on the poster for viewers to instantly scan.
There are many sites that allow you to create free QR codes, download them as image files, and then use them in a variety of ways. A popular site is: https://www.qrstuff.com/ . In the example below, videos were created to supplement a field trip to a tiger sanctuary for the purpose of sharing their rescue stories and science-related facts through American Sign Language with Deaf teenagers. or try “Mowgli”. Also, be creative – here is a free resource that uses QR Codes within the Periodic Table:
Simulations are very time consuming to build, but they can be an important learning tool so we encourage you to see if some are already available for your discipline. Let us know what you are looking for and we will help you research options too. Below are two examples from the field of Education. They are designed to help train student teachers – one is completely web based and the other offers a mixed reality experience at a distance.
"Sim School”: https://www.simschool.org/ - It was started at the University of North Texas and is widely used. You can setup specific scenarios for your students to encounter in the simulation.
“TeachLive”: https://teachlive.org/ - It is a mixed reality environment – you schedule a time to participate and your students interact with avatars online but there are live humans changing the parameters during the session.
“Learn Bacon”: https://learnbacon.com/ - The subject is organic chemistry for this simulation.
It may not be in widespread use yet, but Virtual Reality is expanding into the education field. One tool that I love is Virtual Reality with CoSpaces. You can create a virtual world that can be viewed on any screen, but it also can be seen using Google Cardboard devices for a very engaging experience. The glasses are around $10 now so even for online classes, you could ask students to purchase a pair. Here is an example from a Deaf Education class:
Differentiated instruction can help students who are either struggling as well as those who need additional challenges if they are mastering concepts quicker than expected. Sometimes even simple techniques can make a difference.
Canvas allows you to direct the flow of learning for a student based on a variety of factors. You may be most familiar with setting module pre-requisites such as not allow a student to see the next module until the previous one has been viewed, but you create more personalized branching. For example, suppose you setup a quiz and then based on the score, you could either branch to a help video (if they failed), branch to a challenge page (if they scored a 100), or just continue to the next module for everyone else. The idea is to tailor your response.
The new “Mastery Paths” in Canvas may make even more differentiated learning possible. https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10442-4152668299
Other than the built-in tools in Canvas, there are external tools that you can use to create intelligent tutoring modules. Be warned that they do take a lot of time to setup, so it is important to balance the creation time with the benefit. Oppia is one such tool and there are many examples available - many are geared more toward K-12, but there are still plenty for higher education. You may even want to browse the library and see if there is something already built that meets your needs. If you do want to tackle creating your own, we are here to help.
Ask a Library Liason
Do you know we have someone who can help you with Digital Scholarship? Joshua creates custom solutions for professors, so please email him in Research and Engagement for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are so many ways to communicate with your students and to have them interact with each other. Why not step out of the box and go beyond traditional discussions and text-based announcements? Here are a few ideas for you to explore to make communication more fun and effective:
- Try a different discussion tool. There are several that work with Canvas – although a fee is involved in some cases. Voice Thread, for example, is a visual discussion approach where you post a question / video / image and students add video and audio responses around that item. Lino is a ‘sticky note’ type approach where you create a virtual cork board and then students add notes about the topic. Both have mobile companion apps as well. Another one that we are currently exploring is Harmonize (a visual card based system) so just ask us if you would like to be added to the "playground".
- Turn a discussion into a debate or a poll. For a blended class especially, the Poll Everywhere tool gets your students texting in a positive way. For on-line courses, my students have enjoyed Create Debate (just make sure you setup your own – the public ones are not appropriate.)
- Be creative in how you create your lecturette videos. You can use your webcam with editing software, create narrated power points, use iPad apps like explain everything, create green screen effects (even with just a green cloth in your home), write out problems using an Elmo, make screencasts, create digital stories with Adobe Spark, and many other methods to reach students. Here is an example of a lecturette made on an iPad:
- Setup a Podcast channel and make regular episodes for your students. It is easy to do with Buzzsprout! We can even set it up for you and then all you will do is record the episodes.
- Create an animated video for your student using Pow Toons. Here is an example of a fun one I made:
- Integrate videos by using the NBC News app that is integrated into Canvas and is free. If you send an email to email@example.com with your syllabus, they will even locate appropriate videos to match your content for you.
- Host an optional live video chat session by using Big Blue Button or WebEX in Canvas.