The conference did not disappoint. The highlight was the pre-conference workshop conducted by Barbi Honeycutt (@barbihoneycutt) and Sarah Glova (@chirpsbysarah) on the topic of “Tools to Engage Students in Flipped, Blended, and Online Courses”. I anticipate using the skills and resources acquired in their workshop for years to come.
Among the many topics they covered were:
- The distinctions between flipped, blended, and online courses;
- How to flip classes with and without technology;
- How to use interactive Google slides for better student participation and engagement;
- The value of focusing activities pre-class;
- Utilizing group captains to lessen the grading burden and instill leadership among students;
- Video response forums;
- Using simple and advanced rubrics for grading and assessment productivity; and
- Gamification of daily classroom tasks and learning objectives.
I purchased all four of Barbi's books on the flipped classroom (see picture below).
Other notable sessions I attended were:
“Learning Before Class: Desiging Pre-Class Assignments” - This session provided a nice overview of how to incorporate Bloom’s Taxonomy into the design of pre-class assignments. The speakers spent time reviewing how to create learner-centered teaching environments more effectively.
“Assessing our Assessments: Life is Too Short to Spend Two Hours Grading Papers” - Obviously the title for this one was a big draw. I don’t think I would have attended had they omitted the sib-title! It was a great session on the various technology tools that are available for assessing students. The usual suspects were mentioned (Poll Everywhere, Kahoot), but some newer tools were also covered in a very interactive way (Plickers, SoftChalk).
“Playing Their Parts: Group Collaboration in the Online and Flipped Classroom” - The focus of this session was the online discussion board and how to create an effective student learning community. Also, the role of storytelling and roleplaying was highlighted as a means to increase faculty engagement as well as to increase feedback to learners. Throughout, I happily discovered some new screencasting tools (Audacity, Just Press Record, and Articulate).
There is no doubt I will try to attend this conference every year. I am inspired to present information next time around.