I started teaching when "technology" featured transparencies, overhead projectors, and filmstrips. This summer, I am completing my 34th year in education. I have taught college/university classes since 1990 and have experienced many changes in and updates of technological tools. After using Connect® for Medical Terminology since 2013, these are the top five things in Connect that have made a significant difference in how I teach my class, which has been in an online-only format.
- Connect "How To" information
To assist students in getting started with class, the "how-to" information is included in my course syllabus and also posted in the LMS for my online class. Having the information available for students as video, PowerPoint, and PDF is a great timesaver. I refer students to that information first, and then they can follow up with me or with Tech Support if there are still things that they don't understand.
- Reading Assignment
Some of my students use both SmartBook® 2.0 as well as a hard-copy textbook. For students who use only the SmartBook 2.0, I have loaded the Welcome Chapter as a read-only assignment in Connect. Although there is no graded SmartBook/Connect work for this chapter in my online class, it's important that students not skip reading the Welcome Chapter since that chapter is important in establishing a foundation for the entire class.
- Connect Team Members
Whenever I have submitted a suggested revision about a question that might be assigned to students in SmartBook/Connect while I am updating my class to use material from a new edition, members of the Connect Team have always responded promptly to confirm when a correction has been made.
- "Record your voice" Questions
On several of the assignments required for my students in Connect, I chose five "record your voice" questions from the bank in Connect. Listening to students' pronunciations and grading their work gives me useful information about words that are difficult for students to say. When I grade their work, I leave both written and recorded oral feedback so that students have ongoing input from me about their progress in pronouncing medical terms.
- Application-Based Activities
These are great items for multi-modal learners! Students see the animation/video, hear the narration, and read the captions if they turn them on. Although these are short activities, students must focus their attention carefully in order to answer the questions correctly.
With each class that I teach, I find something new to do in Connect. My summer online class includes one application-based activity for extra credit each week. At the end of class, I will check with students to see if these should remain extra credit or if one application-based activity each week should be part of required graded course work. The many things available in Connect have helped me keep my online course fresh and interesting so that my students and I keep learning more with each new class.