Posting meaningful content & varying content delivery
creates robust learning experiences, promotes accessibility
& engages different learning styles
When building courses, I classify instructional content into three main areas:
- Assignments – Instructions & perimeters as well as expectations for formatting, deadline & submission.
- Context – Lessons, background & additional material to provide ample information on subject matter.
- Multimedia – Digital learning resources like graphics, audio & video.
Standard expectations like institutional policies and course guidelines are communicated in my course syllabi. Here is a syllabus excerpt and a courses calendar that presents assignments by date and type in ADA-compliant format:
For individual modules and assignments, I provide specifics on perimeters, formatting, deadlines, submission and evaluation. Some details are visibly outlined on course pages while others are specified within assignment files.
For example, general assignment details like module topic, specific work and the date and time of the deadline are displayed on the site page, as demonstrated in the ENG 112 screenshot here:
More specific details like project instructions, formatting style, submission method and examples of what a completed assignment should look like in content and format are provided within the assignment file, as with the one below:
For long-range projects (like major writing assignments), I assign scaffolded work—projects divided into tiers that build to the final assignment. Each stage has distinct components and a separate deadline.
The following files illustrate the stages of a multi-part social sciences report that incorporates research and survey data:
For assignments intended to relate a topic to the world at large, I assign work that asks students to apply the subject matter in a novel way or to identify with it on a personal level. Through assignments like the ones below, students connect course material with events, environments and emotions.
In which students assess how a film uses the South (& its myths & stereotypes) to deliver a message.
In which students identify 3 modern songs to anachronistically embody the themes, characters & zeitgeist of The Great Gatsby.
In which students locate and analyze a news-worthy statistic for efficacy and effect.
I use frequent quizzes as a touchstone for student engagement with material and as a benchmark for gauging comprehension. To aid students with skill mastery, I design quizzes with repeated attempts; to assess concept comprehension, I design single-attempt assessments with built-in feedback.
I also post rubrics with most assignments and use the rubric tool embedded within the course delivery platform to evaluate major projects.
Student success depends largely upon providing students with the information they need not just to complete assignments but to connect with course material in a meaningful way.
To this end, I author much of my own content, which entails anticipating questions and areas of confusion, discerning key points and delivering content in accessible language with an engaging tone. Here are a few examples of articles I’ve written to accompany course units:
In which ENG 112 students learn about the good life—and the not-so-good life—from Aristotle to the Walking Dead.
In which ENG 112 students tackle data terms & interpretations ahead of conducting their own survey & reporting its results.
In which English students are schooled in exactly what is a theme…& what is not.
In which Southern Culture students are welcomed to the region & its location, origins & myths.
Additional resources invite students to explore more about a given topic and aid students in the mastery of certain concepts or skills. This slideshow presents screenshots of content buttons and folders I have created to house the additional material I have developed for both purposes:
Here are few examples of some of the supplemental content that can be found within the buttons/folders featured above:
Incorporating different kinds of digital learning resources into my course sites means creating my own deliverables, utilizing materials from outside sources or doing a bit of both.
Visual representation offers unique interpretations for all learners. I use a variety of images, including maps, photos, memes, illustrations, book covers, charts and other visuals.
Here are typographical illustrations I designed to emphasize key ideas from works covered in my literature courses:
Below is other visual material I created to accompany lessons or lectures:
Although most course delivery platforms now automatically offer students the option to convert written material into audio format, I do provide audio recordings of some of my own written content, like the ones here:
In which I read from a Southern Culture course article I wrote about the origins NASCAR & rise of college basketball in North Carolina.
In which I read an excerpt from another Southern Culture course article about regional architectural styles.
Myriad links to songs and podcasts on related subject matter are also found within my course sites. For example, since music is a topic instrumental to my Southern Culture class, I highlight certain artists/genres as part of a dedicated unit, as a content button and as a weekly announcement feature. This slideshow provides screenshots to illustrate:
To underscore key concepts with expertise from reputable sources, I provide video links to resources like TED-Ed, CrashCourse and the History Channel.
To further complement instruction, I record my own videos, which tend to be welcomes and lectures.