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Best Practices Track Abstracts

Title: Multimodal Composition, Online Peer-to-Peer Consulting, and Designing Digital Storytelling Assignments

Presenters: Alaina Feltenberger Beaver, University of Colorado Boulder; Allison Carr Waechter, University of Colorado Boulder

Abstract: This session will be hosted by the Coordinator of an online multimodal tutoring service and an instructor of an upper- division writing course. This session is focused on giving instructors a framework for how to design, execute and workshop a low-stakes digital narrative assignment. In this session, we will use evidence from our long-term collaboration as a model for best practices in designing multimodal assignments. Our sample assignment asks students to learn and apply basic principles of design and rhetorical argumentation to create a personal narrative, using the Google Slides platform. The session will share IRB-approved research data, in particular, video footage of students working synchronously online with tutors at the university’s online multiliteracy tutoring center to reveal the nature of revisions as students engaged with the assignment. We hope to show the versatility of using a digital narrative as the foundation for multiple multimodal assignments throughout the semester, and showcase digital storytelling as a transferrable skill for the future. We hope for a high level of audience interaction and will provide access to a companion website for the session that will give more details about our collaboration and our conclusions, a sample assignment prompt, and our contact information.

Session Time: 9:00am - 10:00am

Title: Accessibility Equals Inclusive Excellence!

Presenter: Melanie Morel, MSU Denver

Abstract: Electronic documents can create a bridge or a road block for students with disabilities. Be ready for any type of learner that is registered in your class. Learn some easy skills from an Accessibility Technology Specialist to create accessible course materials. Once you learn these easy steps you will no longer have to worry about retrofitting course materials at the last minute. Technology has opened many doors for individuals with disabilities, but when accessibility is not taken into account when creating course materials an inadvertent barrier can now prevent a student from having equal access. You will learn how a student with a visual impairment uses screen reading technology to access her course materials. She will explain how accessible materials are essential for her academic success in college. You will walk away with useful knowledge on how to ensure that various types of documents are accessible including: PDF, Word, and PowerPoint.

Session Time: 10:15am - 11:15am

Title: Why Open Educational Resources Should Be Integral to Course Development Strategy

Presenter: Geoffrey Rubinstein, University of Colorado Bouder

Abstract: Open Educational Resources (OER) have reached a tipping point. While the cost savings they offer students has been evident for several years, their pedagogical advantages have been largely overlooked until recently. Meanwhile, key legislative and grant-funded initiatives are driving OER more to the center of higher education research, teaching and learning. Furthermore, new online tools, communities and organizations are arising to make OER easier to adopt, adapt and build as part of your course development and pedagogical strategy. This presentation explores why we are in an important historical moment to understand and incorporate the emerging possibilities of Open Educational Resources.

Session Time: 2:00pm - 2:25pm

Title: E-textbooks in online education: A quantitative study on student engagement and achievement

Presenters: Mingzhen Bao, Ashford University; Jeral Kirwan, Ashford University; Sanaa Riaz, Ashford University

Abstract: Students are often reluctant to read textbooks for a variety of reasons, including lengthy chapters, lack of supporting visuals, and content presented in a difficult manner. The visual, oral, written interactive world of E-textbooks, however, alleviates these problems. This has encouraged many colleges to adopt E-textbooks, particularly in introductory undergraduate college courses. In spite of this, little systematic studies have been conducted to gauge the correlation between E-textbook and student learning, engagement and success. This session will address these gaps by presenting the results of a quantitative study on four general education courses conducted by a cross-college team of faculty investigators on the extent to which E-textbooks in online education have a positive impact on student learning. The results will be based on factors such as the number of page views, time spent reading, completion of E-textbook self-quizzes, and utilization of “further research” internet links provided in-text. The presenters will use the research results to make recommendations on revising E-textbooks in format and content to appeal to reluctant student readers, developing alternative and supplementary reading materials, and training faculty to direct students in the extensive use of E-textbook resources.

Session Time: 2:35pm - 3:00pm

Title: Studying Video Games as Ideological Texts

Presenter: Sherry Jones, Community Collage of Denver

Abstract: The ease of access to web, computing, and mobile technologies has allowed adults to play video games on a frequent basis. In fact, the 2014 Entertainment Software Association (ESA) U.S. game player data reveals that fifty-nine percent of Americans play video games, that the average gamer is around thirty one years of age, and that the average gamer has played games for fourteen years. Rivaling the consumption of ebooks, television programs, and films, video games are pervading our lives with visual representations that signify social and cultural ideologies. Alongside other literary texts, educators also should assign video games to help students recognize that video games are not just innocuous “play things,” but are interactive artistic expressions that can potentially sway our thinking. Game Studies scholars from various disciplines, such as philosophy, psychology, history, semiotics, gender studies, media studies, rhetoric studies, education, and more, have begun critically examining the social and cultural significance of video games. In this presentation, I will discuss how video games express ideologies, what controversies are currently brewing in gaming, and how I employ games to teach complex principles in my Philosophy and English courses. My game-based learning methods and sample assignments will be explored in-depth.

Session Time: 3:15pm - 3:40pm

Title: Digital Pedagogies: The What, Why, When and How of Selecting the Right Technology

Presenters: Maria Akrabova, MSU Denver; Maria Rey Lopez, MSU Denver

Abstract: Digitalized education has brought to the forefront a new way of looking at pedagogy practices. Current debates often touch on basics such as: How do we define digital pedagogies? How are digital pedagogies different? How do we train in digital pedagogies? In the broadest sense, digital pedagogy is the use of technology tools, especially software that facilitates the organization and presentation of the course content, and also restructures and improves the learning process. In terms of practical applications, the digital pedagogy toolset holds a variety of practices, from the simple use of Power Point to the complex delivery and interaction design of Massively Open Online Courses. From an academic standpoint we can accept as axiomatic the understanding that simply using electronic devices and software applications in education is not equivalent to a digital pedagogy: “pedagogy” by definition implies a methodology, a holistic definition that takes into consideration both learning objectives, and the psychological and social realities outside of the classroom. This presentation will show concrete solutions to the process of planning digitalized instruction. Although the case studies used to illustrate said process are drawn from language and culture classes, the principles are widely applicable to a variety of areas.

Session Time: 3:50pm - 4:15pm


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