School Is In

Original blackboard

Original blackboard

It’s that time of the year. My class at Carlow starts on Monday requiring preparation of a syllabus to teach mostly art majors something about using fiber as an art medium. The students at Carlow are motivated and engaged forcing me to bring my best skills and knowledge to the classroom. It’s good for both of us.

The biggest innovation that has enhanced the quality of my teaching since I began some forty years ago is an online computer resource called Blackboard. It is amazing. With Blackboard, I have already introduced myself to each student, supplied them with a set of course requirements, schedule, evaluation tools and a materials list for the first project. As the semester goes on I will send them reminders for project due dates, changes in schedule and anything I forgot to mention in class. I am even considering ways to use Blackboard that will make my class paperless for example with my evaluation tools.

digital blackboard

digital blackboard

Students and I have a favorite feature on Blackboard. It is the glossary I have created that demonstrates fiber techniques from YouTube videos. In the past when a student had a problem like a dropped stitch, they would stop working on the project and wait to see me at the next class. With my blackboard glossary, students find an array of instruction videos available day and night that teach them to find independent solutions and keep up with their work. It has made a tremendous difference in their ability to learn skills and solve problems.

By coincidence, my stepdaughter, Sarah, markets a new free course creation and facilitation service produced by Blackboard called CourseSites. Educators anywhere with or without affiliation can create a web–based interactive course. Imagine creating your own up-to-date course material for students all over the world. Now that’s exciting!



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