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Teaching with Technology Spring 2019 Meeting 1

Teaching with Technology FIG

Meeting 1 of Spring 2019 Semester- April 2 and April 3, 2019


We discussed the article, Gavassa, S., Benebentos, R,. Kravec, M., Colllins, T., and Eddy ,S. 2019.  “Closing the Achievement Gap in a Large Introductory Course by Balancing Reduced In-Person Contact with Increased Course Structure” CBE-Life Sciences Education 18ar8: 1-10


The study compared a three delivery formats, online, face-to-face and hybrid, of a General Biology course at a large Hispanic serving institution. Course structure was defined as the presence of pre-class assignments, in class engagement (clicker questions) and review assignments.  The hybrid format had all three of the aforementioned structure elements.  The online course did not have in class engagement; the face-to-face course did not have required pre class assignments. Student performance was measured using the course exams.  Linear regression analysis was performed to determine if course format could be correlated with exam performance. The regression model predicted performance using SAT Math score, course format, college level and race ethnicity as control and predictive variables and examined interaction between course format and race/ethnicity.

The findings were:

  • SAT math score predicted variation in student performance.
  • No difference between male and female performance after accounting for SAT Math score
  • College level was a predictor of exam performance with juniors & seniors out performing freshmen and sophomores
  • Comparing performance of Hispanic students, those in the hybrid format scored higher than those in the f2f or online formats
  • Black students had the lowest exam scores in all three formats
  • Hybrid format had the highest scores for all racial/ethnic groups. Only the online format had significant differences based on race/ethnic groups.  Black and Hispanic students had the highest scores in the hybrid format; whites students had the highest scores in the hybrid and online formats


Discussion questions

  1. Even though the f2f format had the most contact time, it resulted in the lowest performance. Why do you think this is so?

Possibly, students presume lecture is a passive activity whereas for online assignments, they invest more time.

In the study, most of the students in the f2f version were freshmen and sophomores, probably with less time management skills than juniors and seniors. This might explain why the online and hybrid format, which was dominated by juniors and seniors, had better performance.

  1. Why do you think the hybrid format was the most successful?

In the study, the course was highly structured and required students to complete pre class work, engage in in class activities and complete a post class assessment.



We shared the items we include in our classes (both f2f and online) that make them highly structured.  They included:

  • A “start here” tab on BB that explains how to navigate the course site and find material
  • A course calendar that includes all of the semester’s work and due dates
  • Having assignments due on the same day and at the same time each week, particular for online submissions.
  • Pre class quizzes on readings. Students are given multiple attempts so they continue to review course content.

We also shared items that makes classes engaging (in class as well as online:

In class

  • Discussions
  • Group work
  • Clicker questions using poll everywhere or Socrative: although these questions are engaging for students, they do required a strong wifi connection in classrooms, which we do not have. Students are reluctant to use their data plan.

Online Versions

  • Discussion forums
  • Group work using the groups feature of Blackboard
  • Having students watch videos and use other multimedia instead of reading text

Meeting 2- SCORMs

At today’s Teaching with technology meeting, John Acosta gave us an introduction to SCORMs, shareable content object reference model.  As John described it, a SCORM is like a box that you place all of your materials in so that they can be viewed together.  The benefit of a SCORM is it allows you to organize learning materials, such as a powerpoint, video, and multiple choice questions into one learning object.  In this way, a student can see the materials for a learning module with one “click” within Blackboard.  The SCORMs John developed for his online course are truly high quality.

Accessibility and Technology

The TWT FIG meeting on May 30th was presented by KCeL and Peter Santiago of Accessibility Services. Peter described how certain materials can be inaccessible to some learners. Tsubasa demonstrated how to make your course documents accessible.

Click on Preparing accessible course materials for tips.

TWT FIG- November 15, 2017

The topic of the TWT FIG Meeting was Using Google Features.
We discussed the benefits of using Google Drive and reviewed the following features:

  1. Docs
  2. Sheets
  3. Slides
  4. Sites
  5. Forms
  6. Hangouts

The attached summary sheet was distributed.    TWT Google

TWT FIG Meeting October 18, 2017

Our discussion was based on the reading of the article, “A comparison of reading comprehension across paper, computer screens, and tablets: Does tablet familiarity matter?” published in the Journal of Computers in Education.  In this research study, reading comprehension was compared based on 900 students that read text using a computer, tablet or paper.  Based on the completion of “shallow” multiple choice questions, students who conducted paper reading performed better than those using a computer or tablet. It was also found the familiarity with tablet usage affected performance; therefore it is important to ensure students are trained in the use of technological tools that are used in learning.

Many TWT FIG members reported they preferred reading from paper and they noticed their students often print digital material.  In addition, some instructors recommend their students come to class with printed versions of articles and/or PowerPoints so that they can be engaged during a class by writing notes. However, tablets and other mobile devices are convenient so that students do not have to carry books to class but have access to factual information.

TWT Meeting – Cell phones

We discussed the reading, Helping Students Make the Right Call on Cell Phones.  The article presents different points about cell phones in the classroom, from allowing students to use them, to asking students to volunteer to turn in their cell phone at the start of class, to a complete cell phone ban.  As a group, TWT FIG members had a range of opinions about cell phone use.  Some of our students as well as faculty need to be in communication with children and family so there is a legitimate reason for a cell phone to be in view during class.  Most FIG members felt as long as the as the class was not  disrupted, an important call could be received and responded to by leaving  the classroom.

Another idea was students use their cell phone during class as part of an activity, such as responding to clicker questions ( via poll everywhere) and check facts.  Issues mentioned related to this were weak wifi connections in some classrooms as well as students not wanting to use their data plans.  However, FIG members mentioned many of their students read e-books  or look at the course’s  PowerPoint presentations on their phones. So, there might be some good cell phone use taking place in our classrooms.

TWT FIG Meeting of May 10, 2017 on Webinars

We can all use more time with our students outside of the classroom.  A webinar might be a way to connect with students and provide them with more personalized guidance on a particular topic

Free Platforms: Google hangout, GoToMeeting, Zoom,

OtherPlatforms: Zoom, WebEx, Adobe Connect, Blackboard Collaborate

To develop a webinar:

  • Decide on the specific topic you want to present
  • For a live webinar, make it interactive using poll questions, chat, raise hand, breakout rooms
  • Practice: hard to talk to an audience you do not see; position pods
  • Know how many people you will have
  • Webinars can be with recorded and used


What do you want? What do you need?

Think about something you want to do in your class but you haven’t been able to do it because you don’t think you have the technical support. Share your idea with us and let’s see if we can come up with solutions.


TWT FIG Meeting of April 27, 2017 on Using Videos

Today we talked about different ways you can use videos in your class.  Videos can be used as a way to help students prepare for class and engage learners is a way that might be more interesting than reading text.

Why use videos?

  1. Tool to reinforce concepts
    1. Single concept per video; no longer than 7 minutes
    2. Providing videos before class gives the opportunity to consider more challenging topics in class
  2. Provides access to course content
  3. Foster discussion
  4. Evidence that students can do something: have them record one another
  5. Other experts enter your classroom


  1. Screencast-o-matic, orQuicktime Player. Create your own short video
  2. Screencastify: create a screen capture video and store it in google docs
  3. Presentme: Create short videos or Have students make videos explaining a concept or working through a moment of difficulty
  4. Tellagami: Create animated videos

Tellagami app


  1. Include assessment in your videos

Edpuzzle:  edit a video and insert questions

TWT FIG Meeting of April 6, 2017- Open Educational Resources

Today we talked about Open Educational Resources (OERs).  Mark Eaton, KCC’s Librarian is actively involved in CUNY’s OER work.  If you are interested in developing an OER for your course, please contact Mark Eaton or Loretta Brancaccio-Taras of  Kingsborough’s Center for e-Learning.

Universal Design- TWT meeting on December 7, 2016

At today’s meeting Stella Woodruffe, Director of Access-Ability Services (D205), led our discussion on universal design.  The basic premise of universal design is to engage all learners by presenting materials in multiple formats.  For example, your syllabus can be distributed as a paper copy and an e-format (pdf) version can be posted on Blackboard.

Stella has provided the following video to help get started with universal design.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HHvRzemuHA

Some additional tips:

  • during class, if you write something on the board, you should also face the class and state it.
  • screen readers cannot read images.  It is helpful to provide text of what the image is.
  • check your files for accessibility (file —> info—>check accessibility).  You will get:  warning, error (and how to fix it) and tips
  • fonts:  try to use fonts that are letters of straight lines, such as sans serif
  • the videos you use should be captioned.  CUNY Assistive Academic Technology Services (CATS) will caption videos for you.
  • JAWS (Job Access With Speech) software is a computer  screen reader program  that can read screens for visually  impaired students