Digital Learning @ GGC May 2019

Welcome to the May 2019 edition of the newsletter for GGC's Digital Learning Community! The purpose of this newsletter is to facilitate connections and communication between GGC faculty and to highlight some of the interesting and innovative ways in which faculty are using digital technology in their courses.

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Rebecca Cooper

Building a Technology Toolkit for Pre-Service Teachers

Technology has been and remains to be a main focus in my course delivery. Four years ago, when I came to GGC, my students and I began a technology tools list. We included the name of the tool, URL, application, and cost. I also added information on grants that teachers could apply for to receive funds for their classroom or school as well as professional development opportunities. Each semester, my students add new tools to the list. I also use Class Dojo with my students as an example of a classroom management technology tool as well as use the following technology tools in my teaching: Nearpod, Edpuzzle, Voki, Thinglink, Storyjumper, Zoom, Tagexdo, Top Hat, Padlet, VideoScribe, Quizlet, OneDrive, Remind, Animoto, and Emaze. We have also used GoNoodle to take fun brain breaks.

Part of my teaching load is to also provide technology instruction to other classes. These students were exposed to several new technology tools such as: FlipQuiz, iRubric, Funbrain, ClassHook, MakeBeliefsComix, Web Whiteboard, Google Tools, and a few Chrome extensions through an escape room activity. Some students were also provided practice in using Zoom, EdPuzzle, and D2L to add a video to My Media, process the video, edit the video, and order and edit closed captions for the video. I also created a PDF of Essential Digital Literacy Skills with resources and a PDF of Technology Tools for Students with Special Needs as resources for students and faculty.

I also created a class project that allowed my pre-service teachers to create an online module with the following requirements:

  • Teach specific content related to a specific grade level
  • Include at least three technology tools to teach the content: one tool must be a video of the pre-service teacher teaching content
  • Relate the technology tools to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards for students (ISTE Standards, 2016) and the Technology Integration Matrix Table of Student Descriptors (TIM; Florida Center for Instructional Technology, 2016)
  • Contain at least one quiz, one assignment with a rubric, and one discussion board

To complete this project, students were provided videos with closed cations that I created on how to use each of the D2L tools. The pre-service teachers were also required to teach the online class to two peers, be a student in two peer’s online classes, and reflect on the pros and cons of teaching and being a student in an online class.

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Ellen Rafshoon

Using Adobe Spark for Short Films in History Courses

Dr. Linda Mancillas and I taught a U.S. government and history learning community for students interested in civic engagement in the fall of 2018. The class was divided into teams representing candidates for the 7th district congressional race -- Democrat Carolyn Bordeaux and Republican Robert Woodall -- and the 6th district race between Democrat Lucy McBath and Republican Karen Handel. The class project for the semester was for students to create digital advertisements for their candidates and engage in policy debates.

Students prepared for their projects by studying historic political campaign advertising on www.livingroomcandidate.com and researching the issues that the actual political candidates were advocating in 2018.

To create the advertisements, students were instructed in how to use Adobe Spark, a digital application for making short movies that includes a template for public service advertisements. It’s a very versatile application and integrates sound, video clips, photos and text. Each team made three ads: one focusing on the biography of their candidate, an attack ad about their opponent and another highlighting issues.

Click on the button below to see this project

The following semester, my U.S. History since 1865 (US History Survey II) students studied the social and political movements of the Progressive era (1890-1914). To demonstrate that they understood the strategies and messages of the various progressive groups, I had teams of students use Adobe Spark to craft simulated public service advertisements for progressive causes. With minimal training and within 45 minutes, the teams came up with very effective ads.

Click on the button below to see this project
Click on the button below to see this project
Click on the button below to see this project

I cannot recommend this application enough for a variety of educational purposes: historical research, communication, digital skills. In addition, the program is so simple, students can master it quickly and easily collaborate to produce something during one class session.

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Margo Fryling

Online Tools for Concept Review: ITEC 1001

After reviewing Chapter 5 on Security, students watched a short YouTube video on using Padlet as a collaboration tool. Students were asked to review concepts from the chapter using Padlet while working in pairs. Students used Padlet in a collaborative way as both partners added key terms and ideas to the Padlet board. An activity guide gave students specifics to be included on their board. Upon completion, students posted their boards to the “Chapter 5” discussion board. Students could use Padlet to help them study for the chapter quiz, as well as the final exam. One of my favorite things about Padlet is that it can be used for any chapter or topic to review concepts and encourage collaboration!

Faculty Spotlight: Specifications Grading Group

Harnessing Technology to Administer 5000+ Quizzes to GGC Students

Specifications grading is an assessment strategy based on mastery learning, clear learning objectives, and frequent evaluations/feedback. Students control their grades through multiple attempts (with limitations) on assessments of course objectives. To date, specifications grading has been used in BIOL, BCHM, CHEM, PHYS, MATH, EXSC, and ESNS. The faculty formed the Specifications Grading Group Faculty Learning Community (SGG FLC) to support these efforts. Almost 1000 students at GGC have enrolled in at least one specifications course since Spring 2017. One of the greatest accomplishments of our FLC is the creation of the SGG Retake Room and the Online Retake Request Form. Originally dreamed up by Drs. Amy H. Erickson and Cynthia Woodbridge, the majority of SGG instructors take “shifts” in covering times and days at which students all over campus can retake quizzes in their specifications grading courses. This Retake Cooperative helps instructors offer the maximum number of opportunities for students to master course objectives.

The GGC Specifications Group Retake Room in D Building – serves several hundred students a semester!

Students enrolled in specifications grading courses visit a website on which they choose a time and day for their quiz retake, as well as the quiz they wish to retake. The online form, coded by Drs. Sebastien Siva and Erickson, runs a script whereby the student’s quiz requests are logged into a master spreadsheet accessible by all specifications grading instructors. Each instructor receives an electronic confirmation, alerting that a quiz has been requested. The instructor creates a PDF file of the quiz customized for that student and links it to the master spreadsheet.

SGG proctors then access the quiz files and print out each individual quiz, which are customized to each student, subject, and instructor. At the proctoring session, the proctor administers the quizzes in the SGG Retake Room, a room generously loaned to the group by the GGC Testing Center. Students from almost all of the specifications grading courses take advantage of the Retake Room, at times and days best suited to their scheduling needs.

The Sign Up Form for Dr. Tsoi where students can request retakes any time, from anywhere – at their convenience. Previously, without the developments of Drs. Siva and Erickson, students would have to wait outside instructors’ offices and line up to get retakes when the instructor was available.

By harnessing technology to streamline the quiz retake request and administration process has enabled the 20 instructors in the SGG FLC to quickly and efficiently meet the needs of numerous students in specifications grading courses in SST. In Fall 2018, over 4000 requests for quiz retakes were logged; in Spring 2019, over 5000 requests were registered. This is all thanks to the exemplary coding by Drs. Erickson and Siva.

Another way in which technology has been helping our group is the amazing work by the Office of Educational Technology. Collaborating with us for over two semesters, the talented team in OET was able to produce a high-quality, avatar-led video explaining the tenets of specifications grading. Greg Starks and James Howell were instrumental in utilizing cutting-edge software and technology to produce this high-quality video, which has been used by almost all instructors to help students understand the differences between traditionally assessed and specifications grading assessed courses.

With the help of OET, we developed the script and storyboard for an informational video to help students understand the philosophy behind Specs Grading. All instructors who teach with Specs Grading use this video at the start of the semester to inform their classes of what to expect.

SGG Faculty:

  • Mary Beth Anzovino
  • Derek Behmke
  • Amy H. Erickson
  • Edward Forringer
  • Thomas Gluick
  • Emily Henary
  • Angi Lively
  • Michael Morton
  • Karen Perell-Gerson
  • Stanley Perrine
  • Fen Shuler
  • Mai Yin Tsoi
  • Omar Villanueva
  • MaryGeorge Whitney
  • Cynthia Woodbridge

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Elgin Andrews

Using Adobe Spark for Student-Created Newsletters in Wellness and Nutrition

The EXSC 3350 Community Wellness and EXSC 3800 Nutrition classes were challenged to create a newsletter utilizing digital technology. Using Adobe Spark, students were to tell a story through blogs and/or podcasts. The blogs and podcasts incorporated concepts discussed in class and volunteer hours performed by the students in the community and on campus. Below are links to the newsletters created by students.

Click on the button below to see this project
Click on the button below to see this project
Click on the button below to see this project

Upcoming Events:

CTE Summer Institute (June 4th - 6th):

The CTE Summer Institute provides an opportunity for GGC faculty to strengthen and enhance their teaching skills through a series of workshops on a variety of innovative and effective teaching practices. Feel free to sign up for any or all of the workshops listed below.


Tuesday, June 4th from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.: Learning Through Play With Reacting to the Past - Thomas Chase Hagood (UGA) and Naomi J. Norman (UGA)

Reacting to the Past (RTTP) courses employ different pedagogy than most traditional classes. Students learn by taking on roles in elaborate games set in the past; they practice skills - speaking, writing, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and teamwork - related to substantive issues and moments of conflict. Since its inception, RTTP has been utilized across First Year Experiences and honors courses and across a wide range of disciplines including: political science, geography, epidemiology, classics, mathematics, history, and much more. Participants will get an overview of this pedagogy and play the London 1854: Cesspits, Cholera and Conflict over the Broad Street Pump game to better understand how immersive role-play can engage students in a process that includes all the key elements of high-impact teaching and learning. A "post-mortem" and debriefing will assist participants in understanding how to adapt this RTTP across a range of curricular settings and majors to the benefit of students and faculty!

Wednesday, June 5th from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.: Constructive Conflict Engagement in Higher Education - Esther Jordan (KSU)

We all experience conflict in our lives, in our academic work and beyond. While some of us dread it and others thrive in it, there are principles from the literature in organizational psychology and conflict management that can make our conflict engagements more constructive. This workshop will provide an interactive introduction to some of those principles, an opportunity to apply them to a relevant case, and guided reflection for application in our own contexts, including teaching, research, service, and administrative work. While the emphasis in this session will be on conflict in the academy, the principles apply to the rest of our lives as well.

Thursday, June 6th from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.: Transparency in Learning and Teaching - Denise Pinette Domizi (USG) and Rod McRae (UWG)

Research shows that, with minimal training, faculty who make two course assignments “transparent" lead students to gains in academic achievement, academic confidence, sense of belonging, and mastery of those skills most valued by employers. Results are particularly strong with historically at-risk students. Based on the Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TiLT) work of Mary-Ann Winkelmes, participants will learn and practice how to make an assignment transparent by clearly defining its purpose, the specific tasks students will perform, and criteria for success. The facilitators will model this process by helping participants work through sample assignments, and then their own assignments, to make them more transparent. Be sure to bring an assignment you have used in the past.

Mindful Mondays in the CTE (June 17 - July 29)

Do you typically feel like you’re being pulled in a dozen different directions at once, with no time or energy to find your balance? Make a small (but rewarding) investment in yourself this summer and join us in the Center for Teaching Excellence for Mindful Mondays. These weekly mindfulness sessions are intended to give you a chance to just sit still and breathe for a while – to relax, de-stress, and re-center yourself.

Interested? Join us in the CTE this summer for Mindful Mondays, starting Monday, June 17th. We will have two sessions each Monday; one from 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., and another from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Each hour will be broken into two half-hour periods, during which a short introduction will be followed by a short meditation, which will be followed by a short period for reflection / comments / Q&A.

You do not have to stay for the full hour, or even for a full half hour - come for ten or fifteen minutes if you like, or for however long you are able to stay. If you have already participated in the introduction / instructions and would like more time to meditate, however, you're welcome to continue sitting through the entire session. Complete beginners are welcome, as are experienced practitioners.

Looking Ahead to the 2019 - 2020 Digital Learning Community

The 2019-2020 Digital Learning Community is the next iteration of GGC's year-long faculty learning community focused on the effective use of digital technologies for teaching and learning. This community is a natural evolution of the CTE's Digital Learning Track. Originally a series of traditional face-to-face sessions, the Digital Learning workshops have gradually moved to an online self-paced format over the last few semesters. The Digital Learning Community combines the resources available in these online workshops with the collaborative potential of the Academic Commons (The CTE's online platform for faculty communication and collaboration), creating a rich environment for the sharing of knowledge, resources, and experiences related to the use of technology in education at GGC. It is our hope that this virtual community will provide new opportunities for experimentation, discussion, and collaboration that will strengthen the GGC community and enhance teaching and learning across the campus.

Next year, all of the Digital Learning workshops from the CTE will be available in Brightspace as online, self-paced workshops, which will be supplemented by optional face-to-face discussions / workshops. Once you sign up for the 2019-2020 Digital Learning Community, you will have access to all of the workshops in one online course. Although we plan to highlight one or two different workshops every couple of weeks (offering soft deadlines for completion as we move through each workshop), you are free to complete any of the workshops at any time (and at your own pace) over the course of the academic year. We will also be adding more workshops during the summer and over the course of the year, so keep an eye on the course Contents link in Brightspace.

Remember that this is YOUR community. The more that everyone engages with and participates in the community, the more everyone will get out of it.

About the Digital Learning @ GGC newsletter:

This newsletter is produced by the Center for Teaching Excellence at Georgia Gwinnett College. Please direct any questions or comments to the CTE.

How are YOU using technology at GGC? Would you like to be featured in a future issue of this newsletter? Contact the CTE for more information.

This edition of the Digital Learning @ GGC newsletter was created using Adobe Spark Page, a digital tool for creating online presentations.

Click here for an alternate version of this newsletter created using Microsoft Sway.