October 13, 2020
Volume 5, Number 5
The New Rules of Engagement
Jessica Su got her first taste of how challenging it can be to teach online when Covid-19 hit in the spring. The sociologist videotaped lectures for her first-year seminar on welfare, and hoped a discussion board could replicate the lively conversations she and her students had held in the classroom.

Instead, what she saw felt more transactional. Students responded to her writing prompts. But she couldn’t figure out how to get a conversation going in the discussion forum. Even the comments that students wrote about each other’s posts felt dutiful more than engaging, says Su, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “They were interacting, but not in a meaningful way.”
While the spring triage fell short of real online education, Su realized that even under the best of circumstances virtual learning requires a different, carefully crafted approach to engagement.

It helps that, now, she’s teaching her fall course on poverty and public policy in real time, but that’s not the whole solution. She makes sure to check in with her students at the start of every class to see how they’re doing, and uses online polls to get conversation started. She puts students into “breakout rooms” with clear roles and assignments. And with discussion boards, she tells students she wants to focus on the substance of their ideas, not on the quantity of their words.

As a result, she says, the fall experience has been remarkably better. Students are engaging more with her and one another, and her informal mid-semester course evaluations came back positive. Yet, she notes, those victories were hard won, requiring intense planning at each step of the way. “I feel in some ways I’m teaching these classes for the first time.”

Su’s experience is a familiar one, as professors wrestle with the challenge of creating a sense of community in their online courses. Relationships are the foundation of good learning, teaching experts say. Feeling comfortable with classmates, wanting to engage in debates and share ideas, having a sense of belonging — these are all critical components of a vibrant classroom, and something particularly challenging to create online. Virtual classes can seem awkward and communication forced. Many students struggle to secure reliable Wi-Fi access and quiet places to learn, which may limit their ability to engage with classmates.

To continue reading this story, please click the link.

– by Beth McMurtrie, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Today: Gather & Share Event
The FCTL is offering " Gather & Share " events on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, from 3:45pm - 4:45pm on WebEx. The objective is to have a "topic" area and share a couple of ideas and then have folks gather and share about the topic.

The Next Gather & Share Event:
Topic: High Impact Practices

When: Today, Tuesday, October 13, 2020; 3:45pm – 4:45pm

Where: The following link, WebEx

Educator(s): Megan Boone, Aaron Hirsch, Louise Mason, Evan Prellberg, Rebecca Wright

Synopsis: Join our MSU educators in exploring “High Impact Practices” at this “Gather & Share” event. Take a look at this article and come ready to “chat it up” with your colleagues.
Today: Free COVID-19 Testing
Free COVID-19 Testing Opportunity on Campus

As we continue layering in health precautions, we are partnering with St. Claire HealthCare to offer a free COVID-19 testing opportunity on campus. Any student or employee is free to take advantage of its convenience.
DATE: Tuesday, October 13, 2020
TIME: 3 - 7 p.m.
LOCATION: Laughlin Health Building Gymnasium
PROVIDER: St. Claire HealthCare 
COST: Free
No appointment necessary.
Call For Sharers
Hello MSU Educators,

The FCTL is asking you to share what you are doing in your classes. We would like to put together a webinar/presentation of your efforts so others can benefit from what you are doing. The goal is to share the good work we are doing and build a repository of teaching and learning strategies, techniques, tools and approaches that will benefit our students and us in improving our teaching and learning.

Here are a couple of formats to consider:
Eagle Insight: 20 minute presentation/sharing with 10 minutes for Q&A
Eagle Aerie: 45 minute presentation/sharing with 15 minutes for Q&A

We are not looking for perfection, we are looking to share, celebrate, and build awareness and community around teaching and learning.

If you would like to share, send an email to fctl@moreheadstate.edu and we will go from there.

Looking forward to hearing from you dynamic Eagle Educators!
What I Love About Teaching
Response from Deanna Mascle:
I love many things about teaching, but two things sustain me through the challenges. First and foremost is when students realize that they can do a thing (usually write) that they thought (often had been taught) that they could not do. This is so powerful to participate in and witness. However, the pure joy of a student discovery - the lightbulb moment when they grow or transform - is magic. I love when my students transcend my classroom and can do and be something more.

Deanna Mascle - Instructor English
Response from Scott Davison:
I love watching students generate and defend creative solutions to questions where the evidence is mixed and there is no obvious resolution. This is the goal of instruction in philosophy, and it's delightful when students realize that they are able to do this on their own -- it opens up an entirely new world of possibilities for them in the unlimited realm of thought.

Scott Davison - Dean, Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences/Professor

To share your response, click here.
Blackboard Buzz
How to Create an Item Statistics Report

Do you know that your students have not looked at the material as required? Do you want to know how the popularity of your course information? Create an item statistics report and see the situation.

Item statistics provide detailed usage information about your content. You can enable statistics tracking at any time, and begin collecting data from that moment on.

This tutorial video on YouTube will show you how to access statistics tracking, turn it on for a content item, and view the statistics report. Email msuonline@moreheadstate.edu for additional information and on-campus support.
Ambassadors for Excellence in Teaching
Morehead State University