July 29, 2020

Consultations, Webinars, and other Trainings

Consultations, Webinars, and Other Training Opportunities

Welcome to our resource page for Stearns Center support! During Summer and Fall 2020, we continue to focus on providing support and resources that can be accessed by as many Mason faculty as possible. These resources will continue to evolve over the term. Set a reminder to check back — or sign up for our monthly newsletter and keep up with all of our events and support resources!

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Upcoming Office Hours/Consultations

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Stearns Center Office Hours and Consultations

Stearns Center staff are teleworking and will be glad to assist you with any questions related to teaching, managing, and developing your hybrid or online courses via email or Zoom. Please submit your questions or schedule a 1:1 consultation by clicking here. We work to answer your questions as quickly as possible; however, response times may vary.


Wiley 1:1 Consultations

In addition to the Stearns Center Office hours and consultations, Wiley Learning Designers are available to consult on a variety of topics including but not limited to online course delivery and organization, creating engaging discussion posts, and utilizing Blackboard to save yourself from too much email for instructions and assignments. Designers are available to rework a tricky assignment, talk through group work and how it translates to the online environment, or even assist in building out assessments for your current course. Schedule a consultation here. 

Use Our Self-Paced Courses to Improve Your Course Design Skills

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Stearns Center is currently offering two self-paced courses, open to all faculty and instructors. Once you enroll, you can work through the modules in order, or you can skip to specific sections that will help you with your current course design. Each course has an “Ask a Question” discussion forum staffed by Stearns Center and is supported by office hours (see above) and by ITS support through courses@gmu.edu.

  • Online Course Development Primer provides the basic guidance for creating an asynchronous online course.
    • To access the course,
      • First log into Blackboard using your Mason ID and password so that your connection is stable
      • Then return to this webpage and click this link
      • Look for the “+Enroll” button bottom left of your screen
      • Enroll yourself
    • The course has seven modules; completing each is estimated to take 5-8 hours
      • Module 1: Conceptualizing Your Online Course (Review the Course Readiness Checklist and Request a Sandbox)
      • Module 2: Organizing and Building Your Course Schedule
      • Module 3: Aligning Goals and Assignments
      • Module 4: Tracking and Measuring Student Learning (tests, quizzes, assignments, rubrics)
      • Module 5: Engaging with Students (discussion boards and lectures)
      • Module 6: Supporting Interaction and Collaboration (including Collaborate and Zoom information)
      • Module 7: Continuous Improvement
  • Pivotal Pedagogy Fundamentals provides basic guidance for teaching a face-to-face, hybrid, and/or web-conferencing-based course, with a solid Blackboard “home base” so that you are prepared in case the university “pivots” to remote teaching during the semester.
    • To access the course,
      • First log into Blackboard using your Mason ID and password so that your connection is stable
      • Then return to this webpage and click this link
      • Look for the “+Enroll” button on the left side of your screen
      • Enroll yourself
    • The course has seven modules; completing each is estimated to take 3-6 hours
      • Module 1: Exploring Your Course’s Learning Pattern (Review the Pivot-Ready Checklist, Request a sandbox, and Consider how to integrate F2F, Synchronous Web-Conferencing, and Asynchronous course elements)
      • Module 2: Redistributing Learning in Your New Pattern
      • Module 3: Aligning Goals and Assignments in Your New Pattern
      • Module 4: Building Assessments to Support Patterned Learning (tests, quizzes, assignments, rubrics)
      • Module 5: Engaging Students in Your Learning Pattern (discussion boards and lectures)
      • Module 6: Supporting Interaction and Collaboration (including Collaborate and Zoom information)
      • Module 7: Planned Flexibility

NOTE: Cohort-based, fully facilitated seven-week versions of both courses will be offered to Mason faculty beginning in late September 2020; contact your department chair if you are interested in enrolling, and/or see more information on our Webinars and Trainings page.

Register for Upcoming Webinars

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A variety of webinars will be provided in the upcoming months; webinars will be offered once and recorded sessions will be available for those unable to attend. Recording links will be published on this page following the live sessions.

Please register for the development opportunities using the registration links below.

  • Redesigning Assignments in Multiple Modalities: Do you have an assignment or activity that you want to make more engaging for your online course? Join this workshop to redesign a current assignment! You’ll learn to align your assignment with your teaching goals, utilize active learning strategies to increase engagement and take advantage of the benefits of your chosen teaching modality for more effective learning.
  • Supporting Student Revision: Do you ever notice that students struggle to integrate your feedback as they develop their projects? Join this workshop to facilitate students’ integration of your feedback! You’ll learn more about how students revise and gain some strategies for providing feedback to support student revision.
  • Implementing Transparent Assignments: Have you ever given students an assignment and received submissions that were unexpected? Join this workshop to increase the transparency of your assignments! You’ll learn how to make your purpose, instructions and evaluation criteria clearer. Assignment transparency can contribute to greater student understanding of the assignment, easier grading and less student anxiety, which are even more important with online modalities.

View Webinar Recordings

Click for Webinars about Online Course Design and Teaching

  • Strategies for Facilitating Your Online Course: In this session, participants will be introduced to the tools and strategies used to facilitate learning in the online classroom. Practices such as establishing instructor presence, providing effective feedback, and monitoring asynchronous learning will be discussed, providing faculty with the confidence they need to begin facilitating their online courses.
  • Creating Media for Your Online Course: In this session, participants will learn about options for creating and leveraging media elements for learning in the online environment, including DIY video, screencasts, narrated lectures, and graphics. We will also cover best practices and resources for copyright and accessibility when incorporating media into your course.
  • Designing Compelling Synchronous Sessions: This session focuses on remote synchronous sessions with students. Participants will learn about different ways to leverage synchronous sessions to maximize student engagement and learning, including best practices for preparing for, facilitating, and following up on a synchronous session.
  • Online Course Quality Assurance: From Readiness to Beyond: How can you check your online course for quality at the start of the semester, throughout the semester, and beyond? Stearns Center’s Digital Learning team is offering this zoom session to review and discuss Online Course Quality Checklist from both course design and teaching perspectives. We will demonstrate how to use the Checklist to make sure that your online course is ready for fall 2020 including the elements that are essential for a quality online course with examples from Mason courses.
  • Effective Video for Your Online Course: Design Considerations and Strategies: In this webinar, we will discuss strategies and tips to record mini-lectures.  Key points we will cover in this webinar are: how to organize your lectures into chunks that will keep students’ attention, how to prepare a script that is easy for you to read when recording, how to create a recording environment so that you have good video and audio quality, and finally, where to find information and advice on the options for recording your lectures. We will also provide a demonstration and suggest existing free tools/software to create good quality audio and video.
    • Facilitator: Katrina Johnson, Co-facilitator: Jim McLean
    • Thursday, September 3, 2020, 1:30 pm ET | Watch the recording
  • Engaging Online Learners: Tips and Strategies: Are you looking for new ideas on how to engage learners online? Join us to learn how to create and facilitate role-based discussions, incorporate case-based learning and gamification, collect peer reviews, and empower students as facilitators and media creators. You will also learn how to manage online groups and facilitate student collaboration, including group orientation, group charter creation, and group work assessments. Of course, there will be cool tools to explore as well; and even virtual giveaways. Let’s have some fun together.

    • Facilitators: Ala Showers and Larisa Olesova
    • Friday, October 2, 2020, 12:30 pm ET | Watch the recording
  • Accessibility in Online Course Design: What, Why, and How? Learning begins with access. This webinar answers the basic questions: What is accessibility? Why incorporate accessibility? How to make course content accessible? By the end of this webinar, attendees will be able to: (i) Recognize how accessibility and instructional design relates to universal design for learning (the why, what, and how of learning); (ii) Explain how accessibility relates to compliance with relevant disability laws and guidelines; (iii) Use methods to ensure that all learners may access, navigate, and interact with the information and content presented in an online course; and (iv) Identify the resources and services available to Mason faculty from the Digital Learning instructional designers and the Assistive Technology Initiative Office to help make your courses accessible. We will also provide tips for using Blackboard Ally, a new tool for accessibility, now available in all Mason Blackboard courses.
    • Facilitators: Susan Campbell, Instructional Designer, Digital Learning, Stearns Center and Korey Singleton, Manager, Assistive Technology Initiative Office
    • Friday, October 9 from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET | Watch the recording
  • Interactive Asynchronous Online Class: Technologies & Pedagogy: This webinar introduces how pedagogy and technology can support interactions in asynchronous online environments. Participants will learn how to (1) promote interactions in an asynchronous online environment, (2) consider the right technology to support the pedagogy, and (3) increase the efficiency and effectiveness of online teaching and learning. Presenters will introduce existing technology supported in the Blackboard Learn platform, including Bb tools (Discussion Forum, Blog, Journal, Quiz, Exam) and the tools integrated into the Bb content area. OneNote and WordPress will be highlighted in this webinar. Presenters will introduce how to design with multimedia features and pedagogical strategies, including Jigsaw, students’ profiles, and ePortfolio. WordPress provides students a separate, stable virtual space where they can consistently engage with each other while completing coursework. OneNote offers a centralized working space where the interactions between students and instructors will be effective. Both tools provide multimedia features to support interactions more efficient and effective.  Design guidelines and examples of how technology can support pedagogy for interactions online will be presented. Q&A will be conducted in either breakout rooms or together in one Zoom room.
    • Facilitators:  Ying-Ying Kuo, EdD, Digital Learning, Stearns Center; Billy Howell, Assistant Professor of English Department; and Julia Tungli, Instructional Technologist of Learning Support Service at ITS
    • Friday, November 6, 2020 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm ET | Watch the recording

Click for Webinars about Zoom

  • Using Zoom in Synchronous Online Teaching: Aligning Teaching Strategies to Enhance Class Engagement: This webinar will focus on using Zoom to enhance your hybrid or online class’ engagement by exploring key features and settings from teaching strategies perspectives, including the use of whiteboards, polls, and breakout rooms. The webinar will cover synchronous collaboration using text, audio, and video. The team will also review how to integrate a doc camera using Zoom. Note: This webinar does not review creating or setting-up your Zoom account. To create a Zoom account, review the ITS Service Catalog: Zoom page.

Click for Webinars about Other Blackboard Tools

  • Managing Your Blackboard Course: In this session, participants will learn how to leverage Blackboard tools to effectively organize their courses, communicate with students, analyze student behavior and performance, and provide rich opportunities for discussion and collaboration.
  • The ITS department is also offering webinars on a variety of topics. More information on how to register for these can be found on the ITS Faculty Workshops page.