Students and Technology

This rather revealing infographic examines how students interact with their technology. For many of us, it can be difficult to envision how to use the technology students already possess to improve outcomes and engagement. This spring OLITS and CITL will be hosting a number of new workshops on how to effectively integrate technology in your courses. Stay tuned for our Spring 2017 Workshop Calendar.

2016-technology-infographic

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Want more money higher ed? Offer free online courses.

I know, you’re probably thinking that offering free online courses is the opposite of what a university should do. After all, the object of most universities is to make money. I’m sure in many higher ed meetings there are discussions about offering even more paid online courses to increase revenue. But are they missing out on an easy, if not obvious, option?

Educatio Laptop with books, globe, graduation cap and diploma. 3d

Laptop with books, globe, graduation cap and diploma.

Free online courses are not new but the tides may be turning as prestigious schools such as Oxford are joining in. This Engadget article explains how Oxford is using the edX platform to offer its first free online course. The course they are offering is about understanding economic development and it will be available for anyone in the world to take for free.

So why should all of higher ed follow suit? It is simply a great way to get your university experience in the hands of people interested in becoming students. My advice to higher ed institutions would be to create a high quality online course that falls inline with the type of programs you offer. Then simply place that course on one of the many free platforms and monitor the feedback from students. Use this free course as a way to continually improve the type of courses, free or paid, you offer and hopefully drive more students to enroll in your school. If a free online course can showcase your programs, be used to continually improve your online education, and possibly increase enrollment… why not give it a try?

Streaming Feature Films in Your Online Course with Swank Digital Campus

Have you ever wanted to use a full-length feature film as instructional material for your online course, but didn’t go for it because of copyright worries?

Well, worry no more! The USF System has a subscription to Swank Digital Campus. This is a streaming film service that integrates with Canvas and allows us to rent feature films for students to view in our online courses.

The selection is vast! From classics, to foreign films, to movies just released on DVD; you name it and they’ve probably got it!

Screen shot of swank website

So this means you can stream all eight Harry Potter movies for fun, right?

harry potter saying you wish

I do wish! But understandably, no.

Here are the criteria for use of the films:

  • Priority is given to online courses
  • Student enrollment should be over 50
  • There is a maximum of 5 titles per course
  • The film(s) must be used as instructional materials for a course activity

There is some flexibility with these guidelines, so talk with your Instructional Designer about  your specific goals.

To view a list of currently available titles, visit the USF Libraries Swank Rental Listing. If the title you are looking for is not listed in the current rentals, you can search the Swank Digital Campus Catalog to see if your desired film is available for rent.

Once the tool is integrated into the course, students will be able to visit the “Course Reserves” link on the left menu of your course throughout the semester. The films you have rented will be linked there and can be viewed upon signing in with a USF NetID and Password.

Also, all of the films through this service have Closed Captioning to improve accessibility (Karla approved!).

To learn more, or to integrate this tool into your course, contact your Instructional Designer at Online Learning and Instructional Technology Services.