Graduate Theological Union


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Using technology to increase diverse student engagement

by Justin Tanis | Tweets, YouTube, Spotify ... how does all this technology relate to the classroom, especially for the less technical among us? The article Diverse Students Go Digital, from last week's Chronicle of Higher Education, details the practical ways in which professor Shawn Francis Peters engages at-risk students through social media and the pedagogical reasons for his choices.

Build an interactive book for your class

Inklewriter is a program that allows you to create interactive books for free. By having your students select choices as they go through the book, you can present information that varies based on your students' selections. Or students can create a book themselves that presents different scenarios and possible outcomes. Here is a sample book that I've created that gives more ideas about how this could work with theological education.

Workshops for Faculty and Doctoral Students

This summer, those looking for information on Moodle Basics have two options: Monday, June 10 and Wednesday, June 26, from 1 pm to 4 pm. These workshops are geared for people new to Moodle or those who want to review the basic information about using it. WizIQ is also offering a free online course on Teaching With Moodle.

In July, for those who have the basics down, look for workshops on:  

New language options on Moodle

by Justin Tanis, Online Learning Coordinator | The GTU's Moodle site is now available in multiple languages: Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, French, and German, as well as English. In the upper right hand corner, you will find a drop down menu that allows you to change the language in which you see the navigation and other settings (it does not, however, translate any text that has been entered by a user).

The benefits of awareness

Are you concerned about distraction in the classroom or when students are doing assignments? You are not alone. The Chronicle of Higher Education posted an article about Professor David M. Levy's use of meditation and other awareness techniques at the University of Washington to help his students concentrate and get more out of their learning experience. Some GTU instructors use an opening prayer or activity to help students spiritually center as they begin learning, which can benefit the mind as well as the soul.

Setting up rubrics for easy grading in Moodle

Moodle gives you the option of creating a rubric as part of an assignment, which then lets you grade the assignment with a simple click of the mouse. You set up the criteria you want to use, then assign point values to each one, and Moodle will generate a table for you. All you need to do is click on the box which best represents your assessment of the student's work and Moodle assigns the points and calculates the grade:

Rubric grading blocks

Entering your grades and returning papers in Moodle

It's the end of the semester and here are a few pointers on using your grade book, with information about how to enter grades and return graded assignments to your students.The grade book will automatically calculate the weight of each assignment saving you from having to do the math. Below are several practical steps to enter grades and return papers.

Aligning Assessments with Learning Goals

by Cathleen Young, Online Education Director, Starr King School for the Ministry | Among the resources available on Arizona State University's TeachOnline site is a helpful article on Aligning Assessments with Learning Objectives.

Getting a view of student participation in your course

It can be very helpful to know when your students are accessing your course and what they are engaged in; Moodle has several options that make this easy for you to see. This data can help you notice which students are really engaged with the material and who might be falling behind. It can also help you in planning your time--if you know, for example, which day of the week your students are most likely to post on forums, you can choose more effectively when you want to sign on to read them. There are two ways to do this in your course in Moodle.

Online Learning: Experience Matters

by Laurie Isenberg, Director of Community & Continuing Education, Pacific School of Religion | Students who have successfully adjusted to online learning through preparation or experience are measurably more successful.

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