Sharing What I Find

Instructional Design and Technology in Education

Random questions week 10-7

Do instructors ever call students on SKYPE? Is that recommended? I could offer to do so and see if anyone takes me up on it?

Instructors have used a variety of synchronous communication tools to connect with their students. Skype is good for multiple people to communicate using the audio.There is a way for multiple parties to meet through video but it doesn’t come with the free account. Google Hangout (part of UA Google Apps) is great for up to 15 students. By default this uses video, but you can turn it off if it starts to affect those with lower or unreliable bandwidth. With Hangout, you can share a window you have open on your computer like a web browser or a document. You can also share Google documents, and there are a variety of additional applications you can download and use (like a shared whiteboard). And if you want a full palette of tools there is always web conferencing, currently we are using Elluminate Live (Elive) but that might change in the next semester. Every Blackboard class automatically has access to Elive through the tools menu. Some instructors even create an open session beginning the first day of classes and ending the last day of classes and open up it for anyone to start an elive sesson as a moderator, as a way for students to connect on their own. Instructors use these options for office hours, or if someone needs extra help, or to set up occasional class meetings through the semester, or to use for text review. If you know in advance that you’ll be having required set times and dates for sessions, we ask that you let us know so we can include this kind of information in the banner description so potential students know up front. Getting eCampus students to take advantage of using office hours is probably just as hard as having face-to-face students take advantage of the set-aside time.

Making Content Relevant

Creating relevancy to course content is a proven motivator for engaging students. Being able to connect what you are learning to your own personal or professional situation helps in understanding new concepts and aids in critical thinking skills. Assigning some kind of introductory assignment that gets student’s thinking about the big ideas in your class might be one way to begin student’s thinking about relevancy. For example, (from the resource listed below) in a class on “Adult Development and Aging”, the instructor had students write about these questions: (e.g., What are you looking forward to about getting older? What are you not looking forward to?), and then the big one comes: Tell me about the type of person you might be when you’re older (e.g., How might people describe you when you’re about 65 years old?). The instructor found great insight in the answers that were given by students. Other examples might be: Intro to Natural Resource Management: What does NRM mean to you? When you think about NRM who do you see it helping? harming? Impeding? Intro to Chemistry: You interact with Chemistry every day, yet we might not be aware of it! What are some examples of chemistry in your daily life? Resource:

Uploading Videos on YouTube?

By default, you can upload videos that are 15 minutes long. To upload longer videos, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the upload page at
  2. Click  Increase your limit  at the bottom of the page, or visit
  3. Follow the steps to verify your account with a mobile phone. Currently we aren’t able to offer other ways to verify your account.

Author: Heidi Olson

Heidi enjoys working with content experts in developing eCampus courses to provide alternatives for students. Her other interests include faculty training in best practices for eCampus and researching eCampus tools to help fulfill learning outcomes. Having worked in the distance education arena for over 20 years, she has a wide range of experiences in supporting students and faculty as technology and pedagogy evolve.

Comments are closed.