Category: Online Instruction

Teaching Virtually Using Zoom

With the pandemic, you have likely been forced to move to a model of teaching which includes virtual sessions. While we have offered training that many of you have taken advantage of, there continue to be some interesting developments related to using Zoom for teaching, either due to their constant upgrades or our new perceptions of how we can most effectively achieve student learning.

For instance, recent changes by Zoom have complicated the Host/cohost/alternate host status and what that means for your Zoom session.  Joanne Caione-Keating at Widener University comments on this:

Here’s my understanding:
A cohost is different than an alternative host. The alternative host has all the same privileges but needs to be set up when the meeting is created. Cohost can be anyone and applied during a meeting, even a student, as long as they have a licensed account just like the host. A meeting has no controls unless the host or alternative host is present.

Adult Degree Completion programs, in most cases, will be returning to the classroom for the fall, however, it remains to be seen what that will look like and how many of these on-ground students will fully move back to a full on-ground experience or demand some kind of hybrid experience. Enhancing your skills to teach in a virtual environment seems like a good idea as the nature of what higher education looks like continues to evolve.

Grading in Speed Grader and Feedback Studio

This was a webinar which was just presented by Dr. Kim Priesmeyer, Dean of the Center for Teaching and Learning.  The webinar was recorded and can be viewed at this LINK.

This was one of our best attended webinars and a LOT of great information was shared about using Speed Grader and Feedback Studio.  The conversation evolved into best practices related to grading overall and I know you will find something useful in this presentation.  I hope you will take the time to watch/listen to the presentation.

Dr. Priesmeyer, in her new role as Dean of the Center for Teaching and Learning, is also interested in hearing from you about other webinars or faculty development experiences. You can contact her at:


Canvas Updates

A webinar going over the most recent Canvas updates and answering questions was conducted on October 25th.  Joe Villarreal, our resident Canvas expert and technician led the webinar and shared a LOT of great material that will definitely be useful to you.

Joe does a great job in these webinars and always presents in a way to make things easy to understand.  I know you will get something out of it and I urge you to take the time to watch the recording of this webinar:


Canvas Q & A

Recently Joe Villarreal presented a webinar on Canvas Q&A.  This contained information that EVERY instructor should be aware of.  I hope you will take the time to view the recording.  The topics he discusses in this webinar are:

  • Layout Changes
  • Help & Resources
  • Turnitin (this is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT information)
  • Favorite Courses
  • Clarify Support for Canvas

Altogether the webinar recording is 51 minutes in length.  Joe moves through the material with clarity and precision and I know you will find this time well spent.

Here is the LINK to the webinar.  You can also find it in the Faculty Resources on this site, under the list of Webinars.


by Rick Upchurch
Asst. V.P. Adult Studies

Admissions & Student Services for Belhaven Adult Studies is working through a book:  The Trust Edge, by David Horsager.  I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to read this book as well, so I bought the book and at this point have finished about a third.

Here are four things I’ve learned/been reminded of in the first third of this book along with an application for the classroom – either the physical classroom or online:

  1. “You are trusted to the degree that people believe in your ability, your consistency, your integrity, and your commitment to deliver.” (p.9)  As you read through this list it is obvious that these things don’t happen immediately.  They are developed over time and in relationship.  Teaching application: Your relationship with your students and their perception of “your ability, your consistency, your integrity, and your commitment to deliver” will build trust or erode it.  Building trust will result in greater student engagement as they discover you are worth trusting.
  2. “People do small, even menial tasks differently when they catch a great vision.  If you are a leader in your organization, share your vision consistently.  If you are not sharing your vision at least every thirty days, your team doesn’t know it. A clear vision inspires, unifies and gives powerful focus.” (p. 50)  While this is written toward an organization I can see clear application for the adult classroom.  Teaching application: A major point of adult learning theory has to do with sharing the relevancy of the subject with the students; not just why it is important, but what the cost could be in NOT knowing the information.  So, for the classroom, sharing vision should equate to making sure there is a clear connection of relevancy every week.  When you do this engagement increases.
  3. “Expect and even appreciate conflict.  The old notion rings true: if we are all exactly the same, we are not all needed. Conflict can be a source of growth, creativity, and, in the end, greater unity.” (p.64)  I know many Instructors will go to almost any lengths to avoid even the hint of conflict in the classroom.  This might seem desirable, and certainly is easier, but avoiding conflict doesn’t foster learning and engagement at the higher levels.  Teaching application: Engaged adult learners will challenge the Instructor from time to time.  This is because what you are teaching seems to run crosswise to their experience.  If you squash this freedom to raise these challenges, you will effectively reduce or eliminate engagement.  If, on the other hand, you encourage students to respond, use the challenges to gather information, attempt to understand where the challenge is coming from, and respond with empathy, engagement will blossom.
  4. “No matter what your profession is, challenge yourself to start thinking like the customer, patient, client, congregation member, or student.  Think of these people’s needs and challenges.  Care about them. Give them a great experience.  Make them feel valued.” (p.74) Teaching application:  Adults respond better and are more engaged when they feel respected and valued.  The role of the Instructor in creating this kind of environment cannot be overstated.  In fact, the best Instructors will go beyond this to taking personal responsibility for doing everything they can to “give them a great experience.”

I’m definitely enjoying the book and will share some more thoughts as I get deeper into it.  May God richly bless and guide your day!


SWOT Analysis using a Zig Zag Activity

Although I posted this link several months ago, I think now with the revised curriculum and the emphasis on collaborative learning activities I would bring it back.  SWOT Analysis is one of the basic strategic planning tools used by businesses.  There are a lot of great, short, videos on Youtube which describe what a SWOT analysis is and how to conduct the analysis.  My favorite can be found at this LINK.  The short video below incorporates the SWOT analysis into a classroom activity that promotes student involvement. It is not professionally created but I think you will get the message.  I created the video using a free ipad app: bcontext 

It can seem to be a little chaotic but this activity enhances student engagement and provides a wealth of opportunities for the Instructor to discuss the process as well as the subject of the SWOT analysis.  I think if you try it you will find you will enjoy it.  Save this activity for the latter part of your class period and allow an hour to 90 minutes depending on the size of the class.  You will also need some large poster paper which you can get from the Dean at your campus and four markers.  If you are doing this online, set up four collaborative pages in Canvas, one for each letter (SWOT) and have groups move through in rotation on four consecutive days.  You can set up a separate discussion forum to debrief the experience or compile into a fifth collaborative page.

Swot Analysis Using Zigzag Exercise

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